Online poll: Little bribery in Cayman

The overwhelming majority of respondents to the latest Caymanian Compass poll said that they had never been asked to pay a bribe to receive a public service. 

In a very one-sided poll, a bumper 367 of 460 respondents – 79.8 percent – said they had never come across that situation. 

On the other hand, 43 people – 9.3 percent – said they had been asked for a back hander, more than once. 

The third highest cross section of people who took part was a mere 32, or 7 percent, who selected the intriguing option “Not me, but I know of a family member who has.” 

Some 15 participants, or 3.3 percent, said that they had been asked once to pay a bribe. The remaining three people (0.6 percent) selected “Other.” 

Perhaps understandably, in general the respondents to the poll were a little reticent about getting into further details. 

One person reported a clean slate over several years. “No,” the business person revealed, “Never in more than 20 years in business.” 

Another person came at it from another angle. “I was once asked to confirm that I thought Jesus was Lord in order to get my car inspection passed. I guess that’s sort of like a bribe,” wrote the commenter. 

One respondent, who said he had been asked to provide a bribe more than once, said, “In this country, the bribe is rarely cash if you want to get anything done,” began the respondent. “It’s the favors that are expected – if you hope to get any business done, you just build it into the cost of doing business.” 

One of the people who said he had been asked once for a bribe pointed to a specific situation they had experienced. “To an immigration official to allow a guest to stay an extra three weeks,” claimed that individual. 

A comment from one of the three people who’d selected “Other” was equally intriguing: “There sure needs to be an investigation at Immigration and the temping agencies,” that person said, without providing further details. The issue of bribery came up during the 2014 Caribbean Conference at the University College of the Cayman Islands’ presentation of the 2014 Caribbean Conference from 19 to 21 March. The theme was “Towards a Corruption-Free Caribbean: Ethics, Values and Morality.” 

At the conference, the aim was to reflect on the various aspects of values and ethics, encompassing governments, politics, education, religion and social issues.  

At the close of the conference, a declaration was issued, presented by Dr. Trevor Munroe of the National Integrity Action, Jamaica – a branch of Transparency International, which tracks corruption in 100 countries. 

The proclamation called upon Caribbean governments to consider setting up anti-corruption agencies with powers of arrest, investigation and prosecution. This was based on the increasingly “interconnected” nature of corruption across sectors of society with the consequent social and economic effects. Strong government would set an example for the populace, concluded the declaration. 

According to the 2014 Global Economic Crime Survey presented by PWC, more than 1 in 3 organizations were affected by economic crime – 37 percent, to be exact. That’s from a selection of 5,000 businesses worldwide that participated in the study. 

Of those that reported crime, bribery and corruption was pointed to by 27 percent. That was higher than cybercrime (24 percent) and accounting fraud (22 percent). Procurement fraud was reported by 29 percent and asset misappropriation by 69 percent. (All businesses were able to report multiple types of crime in the survey.) 

Indeed, 53 percent of respondents to the 17th annual CEO Survey conducted by PwC said they were concerned about the effect of bribery and corruption. 

Next week’s poll question What do you think of Sunday trading? 

All businesses should close on the Lord’s Day. 

Let the free market decide. If a store owner wants to do business on a Sunday, why shouldn’t he? 

There should be limited opening hours on Sunday, like on public holidays. 

The same rule should apply to all. Either all businesses should be allowed to be open or all businesses should be allowed to be closed on Sunday. 


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