Haiti, where demonstrators marched to protest the latest elections on January 25, 2016 is listed as the most corrupt nation in the Caribbean. (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Jan. 27, 2015: Seven CARICOM nations have scored below 50 on the latest Transparency International Corruption Index released today, making them the most corrupt nations in the entire Caribbean according the latest Transparency International Corruption Index released this morning.

Here are the top 7 as complied by News Americas Now. Corruption is defined as comprising illegal activities, which are deliberately hidden and only come to light through scandals, investigations or prosecutions.

1: Haiti: With a low score of 17 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2015 compared to 19 in 2014, Haiti ranked as the most corrupt country in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti is a major narco-trafficking transshipment point according to the U.S. naro-reports. The dysfunctional judicial system is underfunded, inefficient, corrupt, and burdened by a large backlog of cases, outdated legal codes, and poor facilities according to the Heritage Foundations’ 2015 Index of Economic Freedom.

2: Guyana: The South American nation of Guyana also dropped down the TI 2015 rank, coming in at 29 compared to 30 last year, making it the second most corrupt nation in the Caribbean. The cocaine trade has generated corruption and violence.

3: Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic came in at three on the most corrupt scale, scoring a TI rank of 33, up from 32 in 2014. According to the Heritage Foundations’ 2015 Index of Economic Freedom report, the judiciary in the DR is politicized and riddled with corruption, and the legal system offers little recourse to those who lack money or influence.  Additionally, “Corruption is still pervasive in the economy, exacerbated by drug trafficking in recent years.”

4: Suriname: The fourth most corrupt Caribbean nation is Suriname with a TI rank of 36. This former Dutch Caribbean territory actually retained its rank from 2014, showing no improvements. It is a country where the Heritage Foundations’ 2015 Index of Economic Freedom report says the rule of law is undermined by a growing domestic drug trade that encourages corruption. Additionally, “Organized crime and drug networks undermine governance and the judicial system.” Corruption is also most pervasive in government procurement, license issuance, land policy, and taxation, HF said.

RELATED: The Ten Most Corrupt Nations In The Americas 

5: Trinidad & Tobago: The oil rich nation of Trinidad & Tobago came in at fifth on the most corrupt list across the Caribbean. It actually dropped on the TI rank for 2015, increasing to 39 from 38 in 2014. It is a place where HF says “drug-related violence undermines the rule of law, and corruption has infiltrated the police force and increases the daily cost of living and corruption, much of it drug-related, diverts resources and damages the rule of law.”  The HF report also found that the judicial branch is independent but subject to some political pressure and corruption.

6: Jamaica: Taking the sixth spot on the list of most corrupt Caribbean nations is Jamaica. It came in at 41 on the latest ranks, up from 38 in 2014. According to the Heritage Foundation, “Jamaicans see corruption as a root cause of their high crime rate.” HF also says the government has yet to send a strong signal against corruption.

7: Cuba: Coming in at number 7 is Cuba, which this year scored a Transparency International rank of 47, up from 46 in 2014.  Although the perceived level of corruption has traditionally been far lower in Cuba than in other Latin American countries, it remains a considerable systemic problem, according to the Heritage Foundations’ 2015 Index of Economic Freedom report. “Low salaries for public officials and the dual exchange rate provide incentives for illicit enrichment and only state enterprises may enter into economic agreements with foreigners as minority partners, says HF.

This year’s index ranks 168 countries/territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, with lower levels meaning more corrupt. The index draws on 12 surveys covering expert assessments and views of businesspeople. The Corruption Perceptions Index is the leading global indicator of public sector corruption, offering a yearly snapshot of the relative degree of corruption by ranking countries from all over the globe. The Corruption Perceptions Index is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption.

Overall, two-thirds of the 168 countries on the 2015 index scored below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean). The least corrupt nation globally is Denmark which came in at 91, a drop of one from 2014. The U.S. scored only 76 while the UK ranked 81 and Canada, 83.

Brazil was the biggest decliner in the index, falling 5 points and dropping 7 positions to a rank of 76. The unfolding Petrobras scandal brought people into the streets in 2015 and the start of judicial process may help Brazil stop corruption.

“Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough.

“The 2015 Corruption Perceptions Index clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world. But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption,” said José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International.

This year Transparency International is calling on all people to take action by voting atunmaskthecorrupt.org.

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