By Aaron Humes: The annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) was released today, rating 180 countries on the scale of corrupt practices and governance – but Belize is not on it.
Indeed, Belize has not been ranked since 2008 – 14 years ago.
According to Transparency International, to be ranked, a country must feature in at least three of its 13 consulted data sources. “A country’s absence from the list does not mean that country is corruption-free, only that there is not enough data available to accurately measure levels of corruption,” it states.
We are told that none of the data gathered is sourced directly from the countries featured; rather it comes from agencies in certain regions that collect such data. There hasn’t been any such firm collecting data on Belize for a while, hence our consistent non-ranking.
When Belize was last ranked in 2008, it scored 29 points, ranking 106th place among 165 countries; data from 2003 to 2008 showed Belize averaging 36 points and a decline from a high of 45 points in 2003 (45th place of 126 countries). In the CPI, 100 is equal to zero corruption.
This year’s report shows the Americas with an average score of 43 for the third consecutive year, implying the fight has ground to a halt. 22 countries rated show no significant change, with only Guyana and Paraguay improving significantly over the last ten years, Uruguay stable, and the United States, Chile, and Canada all declining.
Canada beat Uruguay for top score with 74 points to 73, with the U.S. and Chile each scoring 67. At the other end, Venezuela is rock bottom with 14 points followed by Haiti and Nicaragua with 20 each.
In Central America, Nicaragua has effectively been declared a dictatorship under Daniel Ortega; Guatemala has slid back despite the imposition of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG); and Honduras remains on Transparency International’s “one to watch” list with the election of new President Xiomara Castro last November, joined by El Salvador, which it warned is perilously close to dictatorship under Nayib Bukele after corruption scandals and various assaults on democracy.