Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Jamaica improves on Corruption Perception Index but still has work to do

Published:Thursday | February 22, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Professor Trevor Munroe (second left), executive director of the National Integrity Action (NIA), in discussion with (from left) Andrew Colburn of USAID, Fitz Jackson and Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck at NIA’s St Andrew office yesterday. The occasion was to present the findings of the 2017 Corruption Perception Index.

Jamaica has risen 15 places in the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released yesterday by Transparency International, but the gains could easily be eroded if delays in the full appointment of a chief justice are prolonged.

That was the warning of the executive director of National Integrity Action (NIA) Professor Trevor Munro in presenting the latest CPI index score at his offices in St Andrew.

In a thinly veiled jab at Prime Minister Andrew Holness's decision, Munro warned that the unprecedented move to appoint Bryan Sykes as an acting chief justice could open the door for any future prime minister with an agenda to seek to influence the course of justice.

"In the current context, we need to make it clear, to whom it is not clear, that further delay in the full appointment of the chief justice can seriously erode the gains made in the Corruption Perception Index of 2017," Munro said.

In the 2017 report, Jamaica was placed 68th out of 180 countries. This is coming from its 83rd position out of 176 countries in 2016. Jamaica had fallen 14 places in the 2016 index, 14 places worse than its 69th place in 2015.

 

BARBADOS LEAST CORRUPT

 

At 25, Barbados is perceived as the least corrupt among English-speaking countries in the Caribbean. The United States is ranked at 16, the United Kingdom is at eight, the same as Luxembourg, Canada, and the Netherlands.

The CPI also showed improved scores for the country, with Jamaica moving from 38 to 44 on a scale of 0-100. Based on the CPI rankings, zero is seen as highly corrupt and 100 as very clean.

"NIA is not surprised and indeed welcomes Jamaica's improved score. It reveals that from significantly below-the-average score in both the Americas and globally in 2016, Jamaica's 2017 score is now on par with the Americas and marginally above the global average," Munro said.

He noted that a review of the historical records show that this performance appears to be the best score and ranks over the last 10 years.

In spite of the gains, however, Munro made it clear that Jamaica still remained among the ranks of the corrupt two-thirds of the world's countries and called on the Government to establish and bring into early operation the anti-corruption legislation "designed to go after corrupt facilitators of organised crime".

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com