Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 14th 2013 Contents A28
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt July 14, 2013
The three (3) Projects will be closed to vehicular
and pedestrian traffic with effect from 14th July,
2013 due to Construction of box culverts.
Project - (1) Plover Street, Montrose Chaguanas
Helen Street and Egret
Street, Montrose, Chaguanas.
Project - (2) Corner Xavier Street & 2nd Avenue,
Orchard Gardens, Chaguanas.Xavier Street & Mulchan
Seuchand Road, Chaguanas.
Project - (3) Bougainvilla East, Circular Road,
Savannah Heights, Charlieville. Palm Lane and IDC
Street, Savannah Heights, Charlieville.
ANY INCONVENIENCE IS REGRETTED.
SGD./ MR. ASHMEAD MOHAMMED
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
CHAGUANAS BOROUGH CORPORATION.
Corruption: it s the big story in
the Caribbean. Only here? In
one view, it s a universal problem;
we should pay up quietly, tolerate a
world of overpriced contracts, run-
away crime and substandard servic-
es.In another, it s controllable. Swe-
den is cleaner than Serbia. Democ-
racy allows aware voters to keep bad
stuff in check.
Transparency International last
week released its Corruption
Barometer survey, based this year
on 114,000 interviews in 107 coun-
tries. That s plenty data.
There are obvious problems with
an international survey. In some
countries, people may be scared to
say what they really think. In oth-
ers, bribery has been rampant for
generations past; "no worse than
usual" may hide a multitude of
sins. And there are difficulties with
translation---a "simple" question
may sound subtly different in Span-
ish or Serbian.
This massive survey is not the
same as Transparency s Corruption
Perceptions Index, which is based
on views from well-informed
observers, such as the Economist
Intelligence Unit. That one ranks
T&T 80 out of 174 countries,
Jamaica 83, and covers several oth-
ers in the Caribbean.
Unfortunately, the only English-
speaking Caribbean country in the
barometer survey is Jamaica. Do the
Jamaican numbers suggest a region-
al picture? Maybe.
Getting worse? 62 per cent of
Jamaicans say corruption has
increased over the past two years.
Depressingly, that view is shared by
65 per cent of Venezuelans, 60 per
cent in the US, 85 per cent of
Nigerians and 53 per cent of Trans-
parency s worldwide sample.
Troubling? In Jamaica, 64 per
cent call public sector corruption a
serious problem. That compares
with 29 per cent in Britain, 38 per
cent in the US, 79 per cent in Rus-
sia and just three per cent in Den-
Who is the government looking
out for? In Jamaica, 53 per cent say
decisions are made largely or entire-
ly by a few big players---banks, big
businesses, other lobby groups.
Jamaicans are no more pessimistic
on this score than many others---64
per cent in the US hold a similar
view, and an average of 54 per cent
Jamaicans are networkers; 72 per
cent say personal contacts are
important to get things done. That
is not just a small-island thing; 76
per cent in the US say the same.
Harmless link-ups? Or unfair trade-
offs for favours given?
Which institutions are truly rot-
ten? Unfortunately, those who
should protect and serve have the
worst image; 86 per cent of
Jamaicans say their police are cor-
rupt. Globally too, the police look
bad---60 per cent worldwide say
they are corrupt, including 42 per
cent in the US.
And our democratically elected
leaders? 85 per cent say political
parties are corrupt, 74 per cent say
the same about Parliament. That,
too, is pretty much a worldwide
In Jamaica 46 per cent felt that
public servants and officials are cor-
rupt, and a shade more at 47 per
cent said the same of the judiciary.
That is slightly better than the
worldwide average figures of 57 per
cent and 56 per cent.
The famed fourth estate? 30 per
cent of Jamaicans said their media
are corrupt. Among the countries
which least trust their media are
Australia, where 58 per cent see
them as corrupt; the US with 58
per cent and Britain with 69 per
cent. All three, by chance, are bas-
tions of Rupert Murdoch s global
Jamaicans rate their social services
better; just 19 per cent say their
education system is corrupt; 22 per
cent do not trust the health service.
That compares with global figures
of 41 per cent and 45 per cent. The
Jamaican health system scores less
well than Britain s public sector
National Health Service, but far
better than the US private system,
which 43 per cent see as corrupt.
How far does corruption affect
daily life? Grand corruption links
the big boys. Construction compa-
nies pay backhanders to politicians.
Customs and police high-ups on
modest salaries drive fast cars and
live in palaces.
Petty corruption spreads fur-
Drivers slip a handful of blue
notes to avoid the breathalyser;
home owners pay a sweetener
to get a building permit.
Altogether, 12 per cent of
Jamaicans said they had paid a
bribe in that past 12 months.
That compares with 84 per
cent in Sierra Leone, 27 per
cent in Venezuela, seven per
cent in the US and one per
cent in Japan or Denmark.
Of Jamaicans who had been
in contact with a tax official in
the past year, three per cent
said they had paid a bribe. For
those who had dealings with
the police, the figure was 12 per
cent; for the judiciary six per
cent. For those who had inter-
acted with the education serv-
ice, it was three per cent. Of
those who paid a bribe, 34 per
cent said it was to express
gratitude; 40 per cent to speed
things up; and 20 per cent that
it was the only way to get
The most positive finding
was that 84 per cent of
Jamaicans felt ordinary people
can make a difference; that
compares with just 45 per cent
in Russia, and 67 per cent in
Of Jamaicans, 69 per cent
say they would take part in a
peaceful protest, 77 per cent
would be active in an anti-cor-
ruption group, and 75 per cent
would spread the word through
social media. If that translated
to reality, it would count for
much more than successively
exchanging JLP for PNP and
And next year? With luck,
Transparency may extend the
survey to T&T.
CARIBBEAN UNDER PRESSURE?
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