After a good rise in the rankings last year, it is disappointing to see that Jamaica has slipped in Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index. National Integrity Action (NIA) gives us a few reasons why – issues that we have certainly reported on in this blog. I will continue to be vigilant and I hope that the Holness administration gets on with the job at hand. No more delays! There is a lot of work to be done in this area. I trust the Government will demonstrate to the Jamaican public (and it’s a major concern of the Jamaican public) that they are serious about dealing with corruption!
To get the full picture, go to this link to the global report: http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016 You will see that Canada is the least corrupt country in the Americas at #9, and the Bahamas (#24) the least corrupt in the Caribbean.
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January 25, 2017 – For Immediate Release
Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 – Jamaica: predictable slippage; urgent steps to begin recovery
National Integrity Action (NIA) is not at all surprised, though disappointed, at Jamaica’s fall in both score (from 41 to 39) and rank (from 69 to 83) on Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). We are disappointed, because on CPI 2015 Jamaica made significant progress (which could have been sustained) – advancing for the first time, upward by sixteen (16) places and having the best increase in score in the Americas.
The reasons for this advance in 2015 had to do with:
- The passage and/or maturing of long-pending anti-corruption legislation – the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act, commonly known as the Lotto Scam Act; outlawing of Ponzi Schemes; the passage of the Political Party Registration Amendment to the Representation of the People Act (ROPA)
- The impact of performance audit reports by the Auditor General, and the Contractor General’s Investigative Reports; in particular in relation to the Hanover and St. Thomas Parish Councils
- More effective citizen demand for government accountability and Government’s responsiveness – leading to, for example, changes in the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and National Housing Trust (NHT) boards.
We are not surprised that the impact of these gains has been reversed (but need not have been) in that, during 2016, there has been:
- Continued delay, despite promises, in completing and tabling in Parliament the regulations relating to Political Party Registration and Campaign Finance Reform, thereby stalling the coming into effect of these two critical anti-corruption laws;
- Continued delay in the passage of the Integrity Commission Act, which in one form or another, has been before the Parliament since 2008;
- Apparent corruption in the conduct of the Firearm Licensing Authority relating to the Patrick Powell/X6 Murder case;
- Delay in important corruption-related cases coming before the courts. For example, the trial of the case against the former Mayor of Lucea, who was the Chair of the Hanover Parish Council;
- Government’s rejection of the considered recommendations of the Office of the Contractor General regarding the revocation of the Telecommunications Licence granted to Symbiote/Caricel;
- Continued delay in the tabling and passage of the bill to make the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) into an autonomous entity.Taken together, these shortcomings contribute to public perception of a decline in anti-corruption momentum in the public sector. The Jamaican people – according to the most recent evidence, in a 2016 Don Anderson poll commissioned by NIA – indicate a decline in confidence in “Government’s role as an effective leader in the anti-corruption drive”.
To begin to reverse this decline in the CPI 2016 is the urgent responsibility of all Jamaicans, and in particular the Government, which must now:
- Speedily bring into effect the legislation dealing with Political Party Registration and Campaign Finance Reform;
- Debate, pass and establish the Single Anti-Corruption Commission, named the Integrity Commission, with its provision for a special director of corruption prosecutions.
NIA commits to intensifying its role in sensitising the authorities to the critical importance of strengthening integrity, transparency and accountability in Jamaica’s governance; in building citizen awareness of the costs of corruption and in urging the public to demand that the authorities pursue the corrupt in a manner consistent with Government’s own assessment that corruption is a Tier-1 threat – a “clear and present danger” to Jamaica’s national security and economic prosperity.
Professor Trevor Munroe, CD Executive Director
National Integrity Action Cell: 383-2447