Barbados drops on global corruption index

Barbados dropped six points on the Corruption Perceptions Index for 2019 to achieve a score of 62/100.

The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.

A country’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of zero-which means highly corrupt, to 100- which means little to no perception of corrupt activities. The closer a country’s score is to 100, the higher they will appear on the index. Countries such as New Zealand and Denmark ranked at the top of the index with a score of 87.

For 2019, Barbados ranked at number 30 out of 180 countries while for 2018, the island ranked at number 25. The 2019 score was 62, while the 2018 score was 68. In 2017, Barbados also scored 68.

Out of the countries in the Caribbean region, Barbados came in second behind Bahamas as the country with the least corruption. St Vincent and the Grenadines ranked at number 39 with a score of 59/100 and Dominica ranked at number 44 with a score of 55/100.

According Transparency International, the 2019 analysis shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.

“The current state of corruption speaks to a need for greater political integrity in many countries. To have any chance of curbing corruption, governments must strengthen checks and balances, limit the influence of big money in politics and ensure broad input in political decision-making.”

The Mottley-adminstration, during its early days in office, promised to address the issue of corruption and in December, the Integrity in Public Life Bill 2018 was introduced.

The Bill was debated in the House of Parliament last week with Attorney General, Dale Marshall giving the assurance that government will be introducing additional legislation- Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Bill, to complement the initial Bill and stamp out corruption.

Under the Integrity in Public Life Bill 2018, there are a range of fines and jail time which a public official can incur if convicted. Disqualification from holding public office for a period of up to five years is also a penalty under the legislation, if found to be guilty.