by Linda Straker
The two institutions in Grenada whose work involves developing and implementing strategies to achieve effective control of corruption, said that they are seeking an explanation from Transparency International, whose Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 rank the country at 46 out of the 176 countries listed in the index which was released on 25 January 2017.
“For our part, such listing is surprising, given that Grenada has made significant and consistent strides in strengthening its anti-corruption mechanism over the past 5 years,” said a joint news release from the Financial Intelligent Unit (FIU) and the Integrity Commission, which was issued through the Office of the Integrity Commission.
The Integrity Commission and the FIU both represent Grenada on the Commonwealth Caribbean Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies (CCAICACB), a regional body supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat. The CCAICACB addresses and urges “Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies to develop and implement meaningful and effective strategies to achieve effective control of corruption.”
The release said that Grenada has ratified the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Convention Against Corruption and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
Grenada, the release said, is involved in ongoing cycles with the visits received from the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (MESICIC) and the UNCAC’s United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as overseen by the Latin American and the Caribbean Regional Office.
“In 2014, MESICIC assessed the operations and the implementation of the OAS Inter-American Convention Against Corruption, by the Commission. In 2015 and 2016, the UNODC assessed the implementation of the UNCAC, by the IC and the FIU,” said the release which explained that the island has received verbal commendation for being ahead of many other Caribbean territories based on our functioning protocols, training and public sharing on anti-corruption.
Questioning the format used to arrive at its conclusion, the release said that both institutions do clearly understand that the rankings of Transparency International are based on perception and not raw data, and will request from Transparency International the information which forms the empirical basis for ranking Grenada.
Transparency International’s Corruption Perception 2016 index rank of Grenada at 46 with a score of 56, puts the country as the most corrupt for the Windward Islands. St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines are ranked 35 with a score of 60, followed by Dominica at 38 with a score of 39.
Transparency International which is a non-governmental organisation examined 176 countries worldwide, and said that “over two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories fall below the midpoint of its scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).
“The global average score is a paltry 43, indicating endemic corruption in a country’s public sector,” which claims that this year’s results highlight the connection between corruption and inequality “which feed off each other to create a vicious circle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society, and unequal distribution of wealth.”
“In too many countries, people are deprived of their most basic needs and go to bed hungry every night because of corruption, while the powerful and corrupt enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity,” said the organisation.
The organisation said that the lower-ranked countries in the index are plagued by untrustworthy and badly functioning public institutions like the police and judiciary. “Even where anti-corruption laws are on the books, in practice they’re often skirted or ignored. People frequently face situations of bribery and extortion, rely on basic services that have been undermined by the misappropriation of funds, and confront official indifference when seeking redress from authorities that are on the take,” said the organisation in its report.
It also explained that higher-ranked countries tend to have higher degrees of press freedom, access to information about public expenditure, stronger standards of integrity for public officials, and independent judicial systems. “But high-scoring countries can’t afford to be complacent, either. While the most obvious forms of corruption may not scar citizens’ daily lives in all these places, the higher-ranked countries are not immune to closed-door deals, conflicts of interest, illicit finance, and patchy law enforcement that can distort public policy and exacerbate corruption at home and abroad,” said the report.