Guyana moved up by 11 places on the international ranking of ‘perceived corruption’ – from 119, with a score of 29, in 2015 to 108, with a score of 34, in 2016.
This was revealed in the just released Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report for 2016.
Guyana’s current ranking came in the wake of almost a dozen statements by Transparency International Guyana Inc. (TIGI), which criticised the actions of the current APNU/AFC coalition Government.
In 2016, TIGI President Troy Thomas issued several statements complaining about the state of affairs in Guyana. These related to a call for the withdrawal of the much-condemned and ‘scandalous’ Hamilton Green Pension Bill that was tabled in the House in 2016; the trust dilemma at the problem-prone City Hall; a condemnation of the manner in which the controversial parking meter deal was inked; the conflict of interest in the matter of a sitting Government Minister, Simona Broomes; the actions of Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, on a trip to China; the non-enactment of the promised Code of Conduct for government ministers; the appointment of over 30 foreign advisors; and several other matters.
While efforts so far have been futile, INews will remain relentless in its efforts to bring readers a reaction from Mr Thomas as soon as contact is made with him or his office.
However, according to another online news outfit – Citizens’ Report – one of TIGI’s member was questioned about the contents of TIGI’s report to its parent organisation, Transparency International, and the improved ranking on the CPI index.
The TIGI official, who requested anonymity, noted that the report submitted by the local body to Transparency International ought to be made public. “There have been statements that have been released by TIGI and one scandal after another that the Coalition has had to deal with…the report would be of interest to the Guyanese people,” the official was quoted as saying.
Notably, Guyana slipped five places on the international ranking at the end of 2015, compared to 2014, on Transparency International’s CPI and, on that occasion, the ranking was followed by several complaints on various issues by Transparency International Guyana Inc. – many of which were ignored by the current APNU/AFC Government.
CORRUPTION & INEQUALITY
According to TI’s 2016 report, 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.
The interplay of corruption and inequality also feeds populism. When traditional politicians fail to tackle corruption, people grow cynical. Increasingly, people are turning to populist leaders who promise to break the cycle of corruption and privilege. Yet this is likely to exacerbate – rather than resolve – the tensions that fed the populist surge in the first place.
PUTTING THE GLOBAL SCORES IN CONTEXT
The report also noted that lower-ranked countries on 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.
It noted that grand corruption thrives in such settings. Cases like Petrobras and Odebrecht in Brazil or the saga of ex-president Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine show how collusion between businesses and politicians siphons off billions of dollars in revenue from national economies, benefitting the few at the expense of the many. This kind of systemic grand corruption violates human rights, prevents sustainable development and fuels social exclusion.
The report also noted 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.