BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, November 18, 2009 - Barbados is the least corrupt among nine Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries surveyed by Transparency International (TI) in its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) this year.
The island ranked 20th among 180 countries just behind the United States on the CPI, which measures domestic, public sector corruption.
Among the CARICOM countries on the list which was released yesterday with New Zealand in the number one position, St Lucia ranked 22, St Vincent and the Grenadines 31, Dominica 34, Suriname 75, Trinidad and Tobago 79, Jamaica 99, and Guyana 126. Haiti was last among the region's countries, at 168.
None of these showed any significant increase in its score since last year, TI said.
It noted that among the 31 countries from the Americas included in the 2009 report, only 10 scored above five, "indicating a serious corruption problem". Of those 10, Barbados (7.4), St Lucia (7), St Vincent and the Grenadines (6.4) and Dominica (5.9) were the only CARICOM countries to make at least the halfway mark. Suriname got 3.7, Trinidad and Tobago 3.6, Jamaica 3, Guyana 2.6 and Haiti a mere 1.8.
"Although each country has its own particular context, across the board the effects of the financial crisis and the subsequent economic downturn have highlighted the crucial importance of governance in the private and public sectors and in relationships between the two, particularly in respect to stimulus packages which are already pumping large amounts of money into badly affected economies," TI said in its assessment of the performance of the countries of the Americas.
"States across the region - rich and poor - will have to respond by ensuring that these public funds are handled with integrity."
The CPI measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption in a given country and is a composite index, drawing on as many as 13 different expert and business surveys.
TI said that as the world economy begins to register a tentative recovery and some nations continue to wrestle with ongoing conflict and insecurity, it is clear that no region of the world is immune to the perils of corruption.