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Police Corruption Our Top Concern

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

MORE Bahamians believe police officers are corrupt than any other group of people, a scientific survey commissioned last October by Transparency International and its local contact Citizen for a Better Bahamas found.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis fared better than most on the question of corruption, with Bahamians believing he and his office are less corrupt than any other institution or group of people identified in the survey, including religious leaders.

The survey, called the first of its kind in The Bahamas, was conducted by marketing and research firm Public Domain between October 4 and October 17, 2017.

One thousand Bahamians were surveyed via telephone, including people in New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands. The sample was “distributed across all populated islands in the Bahamas proportionate to population size based on available census data,” according to Lemarque Campbell, chairman of Citizens for a Better Bahamas and author of the report.

“Respondents were selected using a randomised approach from all available respondents in the household,” he said. “Further, the sample was representative of the local population by age, gender, island and social grade/income.”

The survey had a margin of error of 3.1 per cent, according to Public Domain President M’wale Rahming.  

Respondents were asked: “How corrupt are different institutions and groups in society?”

Of the institutions and groups identified, 28 per cent of Bahamians said most or all police officers are corrupt; 23 per cent said the same of government officials; 21 per cent said this of members of Parliament; 20 per cent said this of tax officials; 19 per cent said this of business executives; 18 per cent said this of religious leaders; 17 per cent said this of local government councillors; 17 per cent said this of judges and magistrates; while 14 per cent said the same about the prime minister and his office.

Thirteen per cent of respondents said they have given a bribe to a police officer before; 11 per cent said they paid a bribe to receive identity documents; 11 per cent also said they paid a bribe to utility providers; 10 per cent claimed they paid a bribe to a judge or court official; seven per cent said they paid a bribe to a health worker or clinic or hospital staff while three per cent said they paid a bribe to a teacher or school official.

While the survey found more than half of respondents––52 per cent––believe it is generally acceptable to report a case of corruption that they witness, only six per cent of respondents who paid a bribe said they reported it.

“Low reporting rates of corruption is not surprising in the Bahamas, given that respondents to the survey perceived the police as the most highly corrupt public institution, along with the fact that the police (force) was also the public service with the highest bribery rates (according to the survey respondents),” Mr Campbell said.

Asked how well or badly the government is doing in fighting corruption, 65 per cent of respondents said the government is doing well; 18 per cent said the government is doing badly and 17 per cent said they don’t know.

Mr Campbell noted that during the first five months of the Minnis administration, several former ministers in the Christie administration were charged for alleged bribery and there have also been investigations into alleged fraud at various government departments and entities, suggesting this has affected Bahamians’ perception of how well the administration is fighting corruption.

Despite high marks for the Minnis administration’s anti-corruption agenda, 54 per cent of respondents said corruption had generally increased in the preceding year in their view. When they were asked this question, 59 per cent of respondents from Trinidad and Tobago said the same thing in that country’s survey while 68 per cent of Jamaicans did the same. 

Bahamians have overwhelmingly negative beliefs about the affect of money on politics.

Forty-one per cent of Bahamians believe voters are always bribed in elections; 16 per cent believe it happens often; 29 per cent believe it sometimes happens; four per cent believe it never happens and nine per cent said they don’t know.

Similarly, 34 per cent of respondents believe rich people and businesses are always offered favours in exchange of compensation during elections; 19 per cent of people believe this often happens; 29 per cent believe it happens sometimes; 14 per cent said they don’t know and four per cent said it never happens.

Asked if financial support by companies to political parties should be banned, 43 per cent said yes; 32 per cent said no.

The government has pledged to bring legislation to amend the Public Disclosure Act to include a campaign finance component and allow for a matter to be referred to an independent prosecutor, but it is unclear when the government will fulfill the promise.

Mr Campbell, in his recommendations, said the government must “clean up the police,” “protect whistleblowers,” and “enact political campaign finance legislation.”

Comments

DDK 3 years, 5 months ago

A large percentage of the police are corrupt and rude to boot, not to mention lazy. One of the pre-election khaki appointees hung up the telephone on me yesterday because I called to express my continued concern about the increased volume of dangerous driving and lack of policing of the drivers. He rudely told me that we had had this conversation before and that it was my point of view. SHOCKING!

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bogart 3 years, 5 months ago

As an advocate for pore struggling disadvantaged Bahamians the powers that be have for many decades ignored the plight of we and steadfast refused to setup agemcies to protect us, the neediest and least protected, many only knowong is 2 weeks before elections and then nomore for 5 years less 2 weeks. There is noone to complain to, noone to report to, no consumer protections, no ombudsman and after being screwed bu corript officials, agencies, bank, politicians, etcetc....finally grateful to Roc wid Doc , Transparency International, Ms Wallace and the Tribune for publicixing these findings on corruption. Not too long ago all concerned with publicizing this would have come in for absolute condemnation, and the foulest of language fpr daring to reveal corruption.

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 5 months ago

Due to the reclusive hidden environment at Her Majesty's former prison, they are able to escape the public's critical eye and therefore any mention in this report. Political lobbying by certain petroleum jelly manufacturers also plays a big roll.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 5 months ago

Thank God that nurses and teachers are not on that list ........ is it that they do not handle any Government revenue??????? ........... SMH

But this is a depressing situation to acknowledge as a proud Bahamian ............ This calls for serious revolutionary public sector reform and a review of every Government public sector Act and Regulations to eradicate corruption and bribery in the civil service .......... Maybe that is why the Government wants to go cashless, but if UB or the banks are any examples, there are Echallenges there as well.

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TheMadHatter 3 years, 5 months ago

Be sure to keep a balance in that any power taken away from the public service is given to the Senate. Not just taken away into a vacuum.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 5 months ago

Yes ....... We have to seriously reconsider the purpose and utility of the GG Office and the Senate ....... We have a PM and Cabinet that has 99% of the power in the country outside of the 10 hours of a general election ..... smt

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hrysippus 3 years, 5 months ago

I was going to post a comment but have just found out that the state security services have a listening device on my phone and are intercepting and copying all my emails. I better shut up and sit small from now on.

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bogart 3 years, 5 months ago

...didnt it rain recently....cause what happens os that theres a lot of static on the line from moisture.???lol sorry. Dont give up , we need you.

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sheeprunner12 3 years, 5 months ago

Can we have compulsory financial auditing of ALL civil servants accounts like what happens with the MPs (at least every 3 years)??????? ......... That may clean up the corruption matter to a large extent.

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