The latest Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) report for Latin America and the Caribbean by global civil society organization Transparency International, reveals that 80 percent of Bahamians view corruption in government as a big problem, while 79 percent think government is directed by special interest groups.
The report, which stresses that corruption can hinder economic growth, also reveals that a little more than 50 percent of Bahamians believe their government is doing a bad job at tackling corruption.
Of the Bahamians surveyed for the report, 20 percent said they have paid a bribe, gave a gift or did a favor to have a public servant carry out an essential government service. The report also reveals that those people mostly paid a bribe for convenience, as opposed to being asked for it or it being expected.
“This 10th edition of the Global Corruption Barometer – Latin America and the Caribbean shows that most citizens think their governments are not doing enough to tackle corruption and that corruption levels have increased in the past 12 months across the region,” the report states.
“Corruption hinders economic growth and the delivery of public services. In some cases, corruption even deprives people of their human rights and dignity, like when citizens are coerced to provide sexual favors in exchange for public services, such as health and education – a practice known as sexual extortion or ‘sextortion’.”
The report both surveyed and revealed for the first time numbers related to sextortion and found that 24 percent of Bahamians surveyed experienced sextortion.
“When sex is the currency of the bribe, evidence points towards a gender bias that particularly affects women,” the report explains.
While The Bahamas ranks low in the payment of bribes for votes, the report explains that 79 percent of Bahamians believe their government is directed by private interests.
“A lack of political integrity risks undermining democratic foundations in many Latin American and Caribbean countries,” the report states.
“This can be seen in the abuse of electoral processes, such as vote buying, the spread of fake news and in the weakening of political institutions.
“A growing distrust and disappointment in government has contributed to an increasing anti-corruption sentiment across the region, but this is empowering populist leaders who frequently make matters worse.”
However the report adds: “Despite these challenges, people are overwhelmingly positive in their desire to make a difference in the fight against corruption. Ultimately, people have the right to report corruption, demand that politicians act with integrity and seize opportunities to actively shape the decisions and processes which affect their lives, families and communities.”
The Bahamas was ranked highest in the category of people who believe they can affect change in their country as it relates to government corruption.