Jamaica has slipped again on the Global Corruption Perception index.
The slippage is being partly attributed to the sacking of Education Minister, Ruel Reid, without reason being given and his subsequent arrest and charge on corruption allegations.
Anti-corruption advocate and head of National Integrity Action, Professor Trevor Munroe, says Jamaica has dropped four places among the 180 countries ranked on the global corruption index.
Jamaica is ranked 74th of the 180 countries. Down from 70 in 2018.
Professor Munroe says the prioritization of Mr. Reid’s trial would go a long way in improving the country’s ranking.
Chevon Campbell has that story.
Jamaica’s 2019 CPI score slipped from 44 in 2018 to 43.
That’s a second year of decline.
This means the country is perceived as being the third most corrupt of nine states from the Caribbean community.
According to Professor Munroe, contributing to the slip was the March 2019 resignation of Education Minister, Ruel Reid, in the context of corruption related allegations with no reason offered despite enquiries.
The arrest and charge of the Minister was also cited as contributing to the slippage.
The April 2019 Investigation Report into the sale of Rooms on the Beach by the Office of the Contractor General alleging improper use of Ministerial influence was also highlighted.
The October 2019 government proposal to extend the period for withholding Cabinet documents from 20 to 70 years was another factor.
Professor Munroe says these perceptions would have been reinforced by observations made in April by the IMF that Jamaica has serious shortcomings in the governance of public bodies.
But, it was not all bad news according to Professor Munroe. Some positive trends mitigated a further decline on the CPI.
These include the continued effectiveness in exposing improprieties by offices such as the Auditor General and Parliamentary Committees charged with monitoring public finances.
Professor Munroe, says going forward in 2020 a broad coalition for integrity is needed to arrest and reverse the slide.
He also says the prioritization of the trial of former Minister Reid et al is a must.