A qualified apology by Minister of State in the Ministry of the People, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, over comments she made about People’s National Movement (PNM) leader Dr Keith Rowley has failed to q
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T&T down on corruption index
T&T has dropped three places on the Corruption Perception Index this year moving from 80 to 83 and tieing with Jamaica and Guyana as the Caribbean’s sixth-ranked nation. During a news conference called by the T&T Transparency Institute at its offices at Fernandes Compound, Eastern Main Road, Laventille, yesterday TTTI’s chairman Deryck Murray said the drop “numerically its not significant,” however, it is a move in the wrong direction.
Asked what were some of the things that affected the country’s corruption perception, member of the TTTI, Josh Drayton, said the issuing of public contracts and the granting of various licences were the major contributers. Responding to questions from the media, Drayton said there was a need to reform the Integrity Commission so that it had anti-corruption commission powers.
He added: “The Integrity Commission cannot always be about declaring assets. It has to go beyond that. You have to go into prosecutions and that is one of the real signs of dealing with corruption. “If a country does not prosecute then the message you are sending to the people of Trinidad and Tobago is that nothing is being done.”
He said the Integrity Commission needed to widen its scope to be able to capture different levels of corruption and not necessarily corruption in public life because people in public life was just the category. “What happens to that person who is not categorised as persons in public life. We need a transparency to rally with civil society, rally with everybody else in the population to do something about it,” he added.
Murray, in response to the media, said the decrease from last year means there were those who have serious concerns about level of corruption in the country which needed to be combatted. “The mission is to have a corruption-free nation” he said, adding the perception can affect the aid the country can access and the type of investment it can attract. The score the country currently holds predates any perception of corruption from August and any perceived corruption thereafter would affect next year’s rating.