Haiti - Economy : Corruption, Haiti poorly rated
69% of the 176 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 scored below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), exposing how massive and pervasive public sector corruption is around the world. This year more countries declined in the index than improved, showing the need for urgent action.
Corruption and inequality feed off each other, creating a vicious circle between corruption, unequal distribution of power in society, and unequal distribution of wealth.
"In too many countries, people are deprived of their most basic needs and go to bed hungry every night because of corruption, while the powerful and corrupt enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity," said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.
"We do not have the luxury of time. Corruption needs to be fought with urgency, so that the lives of people across the world improve," added Ugaz.
People are fed up by too many politicians’ empty assurances to tackle corruption and many are turning towards populist politicians who promise to change the system and break the cycle of corruption and privilege. Yet this is likely to only exacerbate the issue.
"In countries with populist or autocratic leaders, we often see democracies in decline and a disturbing pattern of attempts to crack down on civil society, limit press freedom, and weaken the independence of the judiciary. Instead of tackling crony capitalism, those leaders usually install even worse forms of corrupt systems," said Ugaz. "Only where there is freedom of expression, transparency in all political processes and strong democratic institutions, can civil society and the media hold those in power to account and corruption be fought successfully."
Haiti is ranked 159th out of 176 countries, with a score of 20, (17 in 2015), while the Dominican Republic is ranked 120th with a score of 31 (33 in 2015).
Haiti is ranked in the Americas region penultimate 32nd out of 33 in the standings just before Venezuela which is last with a score of 17 (17 in 2015), while the Dominican Republic is ranked 24th out of 33.
The top 3 of countries most corrupt this year are Somalia with a score of 10, South Sudan with a score of 11 and North Korea with a score of 12.
The top 3 of the least corrupt countries this year are Denmark with a score of 90, New Zealand with a score of 90 and Finland with a score of 89.
In short technical fixes to specific anti-corruption legislation are not enough. What is urgently needed are deep-rooted systemic reforms that even up the growing imbalance of power and wealth by empowering citizens to stop the widespread impunity for corruption, hold the powerful to account, and have a real say in the decisions that affect their daily lives.
These reforms must include the disclosure through public registries of who owns companies as well as sanctions for professional enablers who are complicit in moving corrupt money flows across borders.