KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – This country tied with Israel to place 36th overall among the 183 countries or territories ranked by Transparency International in this year’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI).
But while the 5.8 score also ranks St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the 8th least corrupt country in the Americas for which date was collected, the score is just 0.8 of a point above what might be considered the minimum passing grade.
The CPI ranks countries or territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.
The CPI score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 -10, where “0” means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and “10” means that a country is perceived as very clean.
“The 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that public frustration is well founded,” Transparency International said in the Dec. 1 report, noting the uprising in the Arab world earlier this year.
“No region or country in the world is immune to the damages of corruption,” it further stated, adding, “… the vast majority of the 183 countries and territories assessed score below five.”
Of the Caribbean Community nations included in the index, Barbados was perceived as the cleanest, scoring 7.8 and ranking 2nd in the Americas behind Canada, which scored 9.7.
The Bahamas, which scored 7.3 and ranked 21st overall, was third in the Americas while St. Lucia, which was one position ahead of SVG in the region, was 25th overall with a score of 7 points.
Dominica was 10th in the region and 44th overall, having scored 5.2 while Jamaica, which scored 3.3, was 17th in the Americas and 86th overall with a 3.3 score.
Trinidad and Tobago, 19th in the region and 91st overall, scored 3.3 while Guyana, which scored 2.5, was 134th overall and 28th in the region even as Haiti scored 1.8 to be 175th overall and 32nd in the region.
The United States scored 7.1 to rank 5th in the region and 24th overall while Venezuela scored 1.9, making it 31st in the region and 172nd overall, behind Cuba, which was 12th in the Americas and 61st overall with a score of 4.2.
A country’s rank indicates its position relative to the other countries or territories included in the index.
“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.
The index uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interest.
SVG’s ranking was based on three sources of information.
Two thirds of ranked countries score less than 5 and New Zealand ranks first, followed by Finland and Denmark while Somalia and North Korea — included in the index for the first time — are last.
“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.
The organization describes corruption is the abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
The data sources used to compile the index include questions relating to the abuse of public power and focus on: bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and on questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts in the public sector.