Guyana has dropped even lower on latest report of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).
From being ranked 116 a year ago out of a total of 178 countries assessed, Guyana has now sunk to 134. The report was released earlier this week.
In the region, faring better than Guyana is Barbados which attained the highest place in the rankings at 16. Ranked also in the top 50 for the Caribbean are The Bahamas, 21; St. Lucia, 25; and Dominica, 44.
The index scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interest.
Guyana is rated at a lowly 2.5.
Over the past months, the ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has come under severe fire over perceived corruption in the award of contracts and difficulty in the media access to information. Most recently a major US$100M-plus deal to upgrade Guyana’s airport was signed with a Chinese company in Jamaica but only came to light after media reports from that country.
Two thirds of ranked countries score less than 5.
New Zealand ranks first, followed by Finland and Denmark. Somalia and North Korea (included in the index for the first time), are last.
The US is rated at 24, with a 7.1 score.
“2011 saw the movement for greater transparency take on irresistible momentum, as citizens around the world demand accountability from their governments. High-scoring countries show that over time efforts to improve transparency can, if sustained, be successful and benefit their people,” said Transparency International Managing Director, Cobus de Swardt.
Most Arab Spring countries rank in the lower half of the index, scoring below 4. Before the Arab Spring, a Transparency International report on the region warned that nepotism, bribery and patronage were so deeply engrained in daily life that even existing anti-corruption laws had little impact.
Eurozone countries suffering debt crises, partly because of public authorities’ failure to tackle the bribery and tax evasion that are key drivers of debt crisis, are among the lowest-scoring EU countries.
According to the CPI report, public outcry at corruption, impunity and economic instability sent shockwaves around the world in 2011.
“Protests in many countries quickly spread to unite people from all parts of society. Their backgrounds may be diverse, but their message is the same: more transparency and accountability is needed from our leaders.”
The report said that public frustration is well founded.
The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories according to their perceived levels of public sector corruption. It is an aggregate indicator that combines different sources of information about corruption, making it possible to compare countries.
“The 2011 index draws on assessments and opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable institutions. These surveys and assessments include questions related to the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and the effectiveness of public sector anti-corruption efforts. Perceptions are used because corruption is to a great extent a hidden activity that is difficult to measure. Over time, perceptions have proved to be a reliable estimate of corruption.”
“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” said Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International.
Public sector governance that puts the interests of its citizens first is a responsibility that transcends borders. Governments must act accordingly. For their part, citizens need to continue demanding better performance from their leaders.
According to Transparency International, corruption continues to plague too many countries around the world. The latest report shows some governments failing to protect citizens from corruption, be it abuse of public resources, bribery or secretive decision-making.
“Transparency International warned that protests around the world, often fuelled by corruption and economic instability, clearly show citizens feel their leaders and public institutions are neither transparent nor accountable enough.”
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