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Survey: Ten percent of Bahamians admit to paying a bribe

Although the majority of Bahamians believe the level of corruption has increased over the past year, only 10 percent of those polled by market research firm Public Domain admitted to being involved in bribery, according to a survey on corruption in The Bahamas commissioned by Citizens for a Better Bahamas (CBB).

The survey, which was conducted last October as part of the 2017 Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer on The Bahamas, found that one in ten Bahamians who had come into contact with a public service in the past 12 months had paid a bribe.

“Respondents were asked if they had come into contact with any of the following six key public services in the last 12 months: public schools, public healthcare, ID documents, utility providers, the police and the courts,” the survey notes.

“Those who had contact with the six public service providers were then asked whether they had paid a bribe, given a gift or done a favor to receive the services that they needed.”

Of the six public services, those polled admitted to paying a bribe to in order to get service. The police force had the highest bribery rate with 13 percent, followed by utility providers and departments that provide identity documents such as passports and driver’s licenses, with a rate of 11 percent.

“Bribery in the courts was also reported, with one in ten people who came into contact with the courts having paid a bribe in the previous 12 months, demonstrating that there is still an acute corruption risk in this key law and order institution (10 percent),” the survey reveals.

Bribery rates were lowest for public schools, with only three percent of respondents who came into contact with public schools having to pay a bribe in the previous 12 months.

More than half of the polling population – which included one thousand residents from New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands – said it was socially acceptable to report corruption where they are aware of it, however only six percent of those who admitted to paying bribes said they had actually reported it to authorities.

“Overwhelmingly the survey showed that of those who reported an incident of corruption to the authorities, not one respondent said that the authorities took action against the government officials involved,” according to the survey.

“These results show that the inadequate action of authorities, along with the high risk of retaliation and negative consequences may deter most individuals from actually coming forward and reporting cases of corruption in The Bahamas. Furthermore, this suggests that the lack of a whistle-blower protection policy in The Bahamas may also be a contributing factor for individuals not coming forward and reporting corruption.”

Eighty-nine percent of the polling population said they believe “ordinary people could make a difference in the fight against corruption”.

Paige McCartney

Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas.
Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016.
Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News
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