IN THE Caribbean Region, countries such as Barbados have been ranked above Guyana in Transparency International’s (TI) 2014 Corruption Perception Index (CPI). The report, released on Wednesday,sees Guyana ranked at 124, with 30 points.
And TI’s admission with regard to its methodology in compiling the report have not served it well in debunking the mounting criticisms, at both regional and international levels, which continue to be laid at its doorstep.
For example, Guyana has signed and ratified the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and is subject to reviews by both groups.
Barbados, on the other hand, is not bound by any of these Treaties, even as it is ranked 17th with a score of 74, a fact that is ignored by Transparency International’s report.
‘Guyana has taken steps to address the issue of corruption. By becoming party to the two anti-corruption conventions, the country has undertaken obligations and expectations for the enactment of the standards and rules that are central to both conventions’
Barbados signed on to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption in 2001, but is yet to ratify it, which means that it is not bound by the stipulations of the Convention.
Guyana signed the same Convention in 1996 and ratified it in 2000. As recent as June 16, 2011, Guyana had designated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as its central authority to deal with matters related to the Inter-American Convention against Corruption.
Under its obligation, Guyana had is first review in 2006, second in 2008, and third in 2011.In September 2011, when the third- round review of all the countries was completed, the committee decided that the fourth round will include visits to countries, as well as a follow-up on the implementation of the recommendations that were made during the first- cycle review in 2006.
As it relates to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the areas addressed include prevention, criminalization, international cooperation and asset recovery.Guyana signed on to the Convention in 2003 and ratified it in 2008. Barbados also signed the Convention in 2003, but is yet to ratify it.Under this Convention, some of the obligations are mandatory ones.
Guyana has taken steps to address the issue of corruption. By becoming party to the two anti-corruption conventions, the country has undertaken obligations and expectations for the enactment of the standards and rules that are central to both conventions.
Additionally, grounds for questioning the methodologies and, by extension, the credibility of Transparency International are also seen when comparing Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
In order to rank Trinidad and Tobago, only four surveys were used. The country has a population that is half a million more than Guyana’s. Still, however, the same number of surveys was also used in Guyana.
A similar trend is seen in Cuba with a population of over 11 million; yet again, only four surveys were used.
The yardstick used against which countries are ranked is widely inconsistent, as seen in TI’s report.
This point was underscored last year by the World Bank itself, which is cited as one of Transparency International’s sources.
The World Bank, at the time of the last report’s release, had criticised the Index as a method of ranking corruption, saying “Changes in sample base and methodology have complicated year-to-year comparisons,” while “survey respondents in different countries describe corruption in different terms.”
The World Bank report goes on to state that the methodology used by the CPI is also flawed. “There are two main problems: (1) Previous survey results have an impact on new survey results and (2) because indices combine several measurements, it is difficult to set one number that accurately reflects a country’s level of corruption.”
The report also noted that a cyclic system easily develops where reports are based on a previous year’s report and actual efforts implemented to fight corruption are ignored.
All considered, for several years now there have been calls from different sections of the Guyanese society for Transparency International to review its sources and make public its methodology and sampling techniques in gathering the data used to arrive at the ratings.
Last year, Guyana was ranked 27th, one place up from the 28th spot in 2012. This year’s index includes 175 countries and territories.