Jamaica dropped four places from 70th in the just-released Corruption Perception Index (CPI), a ranking that puts the island as the fifth-worst in the Caribbean region.
The 2019 CPI, a project of corruption watchdogs Transparency International, now places Jamaica 74th out of 180 countries with a score of 43, dropping four spots since 2018.
The island’s corruption score, which fell by one point when compared to 2018, is only beaten by fellow Caribbean countries Trinidad and Tobago (85th with a score 40), Guyana (86th with 40) and Dominican Republic (137th with 28) – with Haiti’s score of 18 having the worst perception index in the region, ranking 168th in the world.
Jamaica’s CPI score is especially damning as, for the last four years, the country has consistently recorded an average index of 42.5.
The CPI ranks the 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people. The index uses a scale from zero to 100, where zero is ‘highly corrupt’ and 100 is ‘very clean’.
According to Transparency International, its analysis shows corruption is more widespread 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 Bahamas emerged with the best ranking on the CPI coming in at 29th with a score of 64, followed by Barbados (30th with 62), St Vincent and the Grenadines (39th with 59), Dominica and St Lucia (both tied at 48th with a score of 55), Grenada (51st with 53), Cuba (60th with 48) and Suriname (70th with 44).
Globally, New Zealand and Denmark tied having the best CPI score of 87, followed by Finland, Switzerland, Singapore and Sweden rounding out the top five.
On the other end of the spectrum, Venezuela, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan and Afghanistan (all tied at third-worst); Yemen, Syria, South Sudan and Somalia recording the poorest CPI scores. Countries identified with a CPI score below 50 indicate a corruption problem.