BRIDGETOWN — Barbados has the lowest level of perceived corruption in the Caribbean, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018. The country scored 68 out of a possible 100 index-points, placing it 4th in the Americas after Canada, the United States and Uruguay, and 25th globally.
The ranking marks the eighth time since 2009 that the country has topped the Caribbean sub-region in the CPI index. The Bahamas and St.Vincent & the Grenadines round out the top three, while Guyana, the Dominican Republic and Haiti were perceived to have the highest levels of public corruption in the sub-region.
|Caribbean rank*||Global rank||Country||CPI / 100|
|3||41||St. Vincent & the Grenadines||58|
|10||78||Trinidad & Tobago||41|
The CPI is based on surveys and assessments that seek to gauge the extent of bribery; the diversion of public funds; the use of public office for private gain; nepotism in the civil service, and the influence of private interests in a state’s decision-making process.
It also considers measures to combat corruption such as integrity legislation, effective prosecution of corrupt officials, and financial disclosure laws.
The index is not without its critics. Perception is not always reality, and experts such as Dan Hough at the Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption have long considered the CPI to be misleading:
“Corruption is complex, multifaceted and riddled with nuance, and this makes aggregate indicators, such as the CPI, problematic.”
—Prof. Dan Hough, writing for the Washington Post
Hough sees greater value in mechanisms that track where public funds are allocated, and how government contracts and tenders are awarded: all metrics which are unaccounted for in the CPI. It is also worth noting that these and other allegations of corruption were central campaign themes in Barbados’ 2018 general elections, and proposed legislative remedies to address integrity in public life are still pending.
Image credit and copyright: West Wing of Parliament Buildings of Barbados, Richard F Ebert