In Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 34-page report released last week Thursday, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is ranked 40th, with a score of 59 of a maximum of 100 points.
Of the 180 countries surveyed, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) sits third in the ranking of Caribbean countries, with Barbados leading in 29th position with a score of 64. The Bahamas was next in 30th position with a score of 62.
Other Caribbean countries to feature in the report were: St Lucia (56) received a ranking of 45th; Dominica (55) 48th; Grenada (53) 52nd; Jamaica (44) ranked 69th, Guyana (41) 83rd; Trinidad and Tobago (40) 86th; Suriname (38) 94th; Dominican Republic (28) 137th; and Haiti with a score of 18, ranking at just ten places from the global bottom.
A score of 100 indicates that a country is very clean, while a score of zero indicates high corruption.
In a telling finding, the Report stated that assessors found persistent corruption in “undermining health care systems and contributing to democratic backsliding, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Health Care corruption documented during the COVID-19 pandemic included: demands for informal payments from patients, embezzlement and theft, absenteeism, overcharging, favouritism and manipulation of data, the Report stated.
It noted though that the least corrupt nations have tended to produce the best response to the virus.
In presenting the report, Transparency International chair Delia Ferreira Rubio warned that COVID-19 was not just a health and economic crisis, but also a corruption crisis that countries were failing to effectively manage.
“The past year has tested governments like no other in memory, and those with higher levels of corruption have been less able to meet the challenge,” said Rubio, who added, “But even those at the top of the CPI must urgently address their role in perpetuating corruption at home and abroad.”
The 2020 edition of the CPI ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, drawing on 13 expert assessments and surveys of business executives.
Denmark and New Zealand were ranked the least corrupt with 88 points. Venezuela, Yemen, Syria, Somalia and South Sudan were ranked among the most corrupt with scores of 15, 15, 14, 12 and 12, respectively.