Jamaica perceived as not so 'clean'
Barbados, Bahamas, St Lucia get high marks
JAMAICA'S corruption ranking may have improved, but an international watchdog group still gives the island a poor grade and rates it among the most corrupt in the region.
Transparency International, in its recent publication of its 2012 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), ranked Jamaica at 83 of 176 countries with a score of 38, where, on a scale of zero-100, zero means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means that a country is perceived to be 'clean'.
Jamaica has actually improved its ranking for three consecutive years, from a high of 99 in 2009. The country ranked 86 out of 182 countries in 2011, with a CPI score of 3.3 of 10.
But the Office of the Contractor General (OCG), while welcoming the marginal drop in Jamaica's corruption ranking, said it should not be taken as a prompt to relax, especially when the country's performance is compared to its regional counterparts.
Only Haiti, Guyana and Dominican Republic rank worst than Jamaica in the Caribbean on the 2012 Corruption Perception Index. Haiti is ranked at 165, with a CPI of 19; Guyana is rated 133rd, with a score of 28; while Dominican Republic is 118th, with a score of 32.
Barbados is the highest ranked Caribbean country at 15, with a CPI score of 76. They are followed by Bahamas and St Lucia, which tied with an overall ranking of 22 and CPI scores of 71. St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica, are ranked 36th and 41st respectively with scores of 62 and 58. Trinidad and Tobago — which leapfrogged Jamaica in the rankings from last year — is ranked at 80 with a CPI score of 39.
"As we acknowledge Jamaica's improvement, due regard must be given to the upward trend of many of our Caribbean counterparts, specifically, the advancement of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which has increased its CPI score from 3.2 of 10 in 2011 to 39 of 100 this year, surpassing Jamaica's performance," the OCG stated.
It said the anti-corruption effort of the twin-island republic, Barbados and St Lucia, among others, must be commended and ought to stand as an example for Jamaica in its own anti-corruption efforts.
Financial analyst Dennis Chung said the fact that Jamaica has been unable to tackle the corruption problem shows that the country's whole bureaucracy needs revamping.
"We haven't been able to move on the legislations we need to move on and we haven't been able to do anything about the justice system because even jurors who the justice system depend on are not being paid," said Chung. "And unless we tackle those things we will never be able to seriously tackle the issue of corruption, all we will be doing is putting band-aids on it and creating different rules to pile on top of the bureaucracy and I think that's the main task that we face."