- The Ministry of Justice is heartened by the significant improvement in Jamaica’s standing in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) results for 2015, which underscores the progress being made by our country in combating corruption.
- We note that Jamaica is one of only eleven countries in the 2015 index that improved their rankings by 16 or more places.
- The Ministry will continue to work collaboratively with other Ministries and stakeholders in the public sector, private sector and civil society towards securing further gains for Jamaica in the fight against corruption and the promotion of good governance.
The Ministry of Justice is heartened by the significant improvement in Jamaica’s standing in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) results for 2015, which underscores the progress being made by our country in combating corruption. The latest CPI ranking saw Jamaica making a significant leap to 69th of the 168 countries that were assessed, an advancement of 16 places when compared to the 2014 ranking of 85th out of 175.
We note that Jamaica is one of only eleven countries in the 2015 index that improved their rankings by 16 or more places. We have also moved closer to being among the least corrupt in the Americas, having improved from a rank of 14th of 31 countries in 2014 to 7th of 26 in 2015, making into the top 25% in the Americas for the first time in nine years. Indeed, no other country in the Americas made as great an improvement as Jamaica in the 2015 CPI scores.
The Ministry of Justice has primary portfolio responsibility within the Government of Jamaica for matters to do with corruption. Jamaica’s improved ranking does not come as a surprise to us, as it has resulted from a deliberate and diligently executed strategy of pursuing the enactment of legislation which promotes good governance and strengthens rule of law, transparency and accountability. Jamaica’s robust legislative programme to strengthen the country’s anti-corruption architecture, which has been either initiated or supported by this Ministry in collaboration with others, has included:
- The Integrity Commission Bill, which was introduced into Parliament in December 2014 and has since benefited from a year of careful and constructive scrutiny by a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. The Joint Select Committee’s report has now been finalised, and will facilitate the passage of the legislation into law. Under this legislation, our current fragmented institutional arrangements will be replaced by a single anti-corruption Commission having both investigatory and prosecutorial powers, along with a governance framework of appropriate checks and balances to prevent against abuse of power. The new Commission will by supported by investigative and forensic capabilities of the Major Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), and benefit from the statutory elimination of the current limitations on the sharing of information between anti-corruption, taxation and law enforcement agencies.
- The passing of the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transactions) (Special Provisions) Act, 2013, commonly referred to as the “Lotto Scam” legislation, which has provided a critical tool to Jamaica’s law enforcement agencies in tackling the insidious lottery scam phenomenon which was threatening to undermine both Jamaica’s international reputation and the promising business process outsourcing industry.
- The Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act, 2014, also known as the “Anti-Gang” legislation, which has provided a powerful set of tailor-made legal provisions to enable law enforcement to disrupt and effectively prosecute criminal organizations, which are responsible for the majority of murders in our country.
- The Representation of the People Act has been amended by two pieces of legislation in 2014 and 2016, firstly to provide for the registration and regulation of the funding of political parties, and secondly to regulate election campaign financing. The effect of these two pieces of legislation is to demand greater transparency and accountability among elected officials, and to reduce the opportunity for corruption and improper influence in Jamaica’s democratic political system.
- The Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act, 2013, which prohibits cash transactions of over J$1 million unless done through the regulated financial system. This is an important measure to reduce the use of cash for money-laundering and tax evasion in the Jamaican economy. The Act also provides for the designation of sub-sectors of the economy that pose particular risks in relation to money laundering, so that they have to comply with basic anti-money laundering procedures.
- The Financial Investigations Division (Amendment) Act, 2013 has substantially strengthened the capacity of the Financial Investigations Division (FID) to share and receive information from equivalent entities in other jurisdictions, which is an important step forward in combating the international dimensions of financial crimes and tax evasion.
The 2015 CPI ranking will further encourage investors to regard Jamaica as an attractive business environment that is built on the rule of law, a factor that is internationally recognized as significant in securing higher levels of investment. Jamaica’s significant anti-corruption efforts therefore support the growth of our economy and the sustainable development of our country.
The Ministry will continue to work collaboratively with other Ministries and stakeholders in the public sector, private sector and civil society towards securing further gains for Jamaica in the fight against corruption and the promotion of good governance.