No proof of improvements in Guyana – TIGI


…score lacks statistical significance

Government should hold back on its self praises over Guyana’s recent rank in the world, with respect to the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) as the report does not validate that improvements have been made in stamping out the unethical, immoral and other dishonest activities.

This is according to Transparency Institute of Guyana Incorporated (TIGI), which noted also that there is inadequate information to invalidate the competing view that there were real achievements in the fight against corruption.

Guyana moved up eleven places to 108 based on a five-point increase (from 29 to 34) in perception score.

But in a statement on Saturday, the local corruption watchdog said any improvement in standing should be celebrated even as efforts are directed towards greater gains in the fight against the scourge.

However, TIGI noted that the difference in the corruption score between 2015 and 2016 lacks statistical significance, even at the 10 per cent level.

“The statistics therefore offer no confirmation of the apparent improvement,” the organisation noted.

TIGI said the statistical test is conservative since the number of surveys used in 2015 and 2016 (four and six respectively) are small.

“But given that this is about the number of surveys rather than about the number of respondents, statistical significance would be an especially limited way to view the results, since it is unlikely that there will ever be very large numbers of surveys to use. We should therefore rely more on the substantive interpretations of the index,” the body stated.

Additionally, TIGI pointed out that within Latin America changes in government regimes are usually accompanied by a period of goodwill that endure an average of approximately two years.

This, TIGI said, suggests that the change in Government in 2015 would have ushered in a period of optimism that would be evident across several issues, including confidence in Government and perceptions about corruption.

“One can therefore argue that improvement in the 2016 CPI was to be expected. This argument becomes more attractive if the CPI returns to its usual level subsequently… The argument for real achievements will find support if the improvement holds in subsequent years. Nevertheless, neither argument is entirely proven or disproven depending on what happens subsequently since there can be real change followed by real deterioration or a goodwill ripple followed by real achievements,” TIGI said.

Furthermore, the local transparency arm said the perception scores measure perceptions about the absence of corruption and for this reason, low scores are indicative of more pervasive corruption.

TIGI noted that when these scores are converted to ranks, lower ranks (larger rank values) on the CPI indicate relative pervasiveness of corruption.

Measuring corruption

As a result, it argued that the index should not be used to evaluate Governments on an annual basis since shifts in perceptions will likely occur when the actions taken begin to result in changes in the experiences of the people.

“The best way to view the CPI appears to be over a period rather than as isolated years,” TIGI said.

TIGI expressed that while Guyana’s current rank is unimpressive, the movement in the direction of improvement as observed in 2016 is optimistic.

TIGI said salient issues to be addressed in Guyana include a functional Integrity Commission and Public Procurement Commission, implementation of the promised Code of Conduct for ministers, cancellation of corrupt government contracts and establishment of campaign financing laws.

The access to information act is also in urgent need of attention, the body said.

“The Government should become more transparent and accountable at all levels,” TIGI stated.

Apart from the actions of Government, TIGI said citizens and organisations are also essential in addressing corruption.

“Citizens need to change their attitudes to many forms of everyday corrupt acts. In many cases, one can be regarded as foolish for not capitalising on some opportunities for quick gains or to circumvent procedures in everyday interactions including business transactions. This is an indication that many forms of corruption have become expected and condoned among citizens,” the body explained.

TIGI also said organisations should educate people about corruption with a view to changing attitudes and the levels of involvement of citizens in the solutions. (Guyana Times)


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