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Bahamas

Capital

Nassau

Territory

10,010km²

Population (2020)

393,248

GDP Total (2020)

11.25B USD

GDP Per Capita (2020)

28,608 USD

Icome Group

High income

Convention Implementation

67.1
In progress

Western Hemisphere Ranking

60.7

12th of 31 countries

Caribbean Ranking

54.7

3rd of 11 countries

Corruption Resilience

61.9
Moderately Resilient

Western Hemisphere Ranking

54.4

8th of 31 countries

Caribbean Ranking

57.9

5th of 11 countries

Convention Implementation

Score by thematic sections and measures

Prevention

In progress
45.4

Western Hemisphere 46.3

Caribbean 41.7

Standards of Conduct

Core-deficient
26.5

Western Hemisphere 42.8

Caribbean 24.8

Enforcement of Standards of Conduct

In progress
47.6

Western Hemisphere 50.6

Caribbean 33.4

Training of Public Officials

Core-deficient
26.5

Western Hemisphere 36.8

Caribbean 27.4

Asset and Conflicts of Interests Declarations

In progress
50.7

Western Hemisphere 42.3

Caribbean 27.9

Transparency in Government Contracting

Core-deficient
32.0

Western Hemisphere 33.1

Caribbean 22.9

Elimination of Favorable Tax Treatment

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 47.1

Caribbean 31.6

Oversight Bodies

Core-deficient
33.5

Western Hemisphere 36.0

Caribbean 34.3

Measures to Deter Domestic and Foreign Bribery

Core-deficient
29.6

Western Hemisphere 36.7

Caribbean 20.0

Encouraging Participation by Civil Society

Not Implemented
7.8

Western Hemisphere 43.0

Caribbean 21.3

Study of Other Prevention Measures

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 44.9

Caribbean 42.8

Criminalization and law enforcement

In progress
66.8

Western Hemisphere 61.1

Caribbean 55.1

Protection of Those who Report Acts of Corruption

Core-deficient
32.0

Western Hemisphere 30.7

Caribbean 17.8

Scope

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 67.7

Caribbean 53.8

Jurisdiction: Offense-in-Territory

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 74.6

Caribbean 60.0

Jurisdiction: Offense-by-National

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 51.9

Caribbean 27.3

Jurisdiction: Offender-in-Territory

Core-deficient
42.9

Western Hemisphere 58.8

Caribbean 39.5

Passive Public Bribery

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 55.8

Caribbean 55.8

Active Public Bribery

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 56.4

Caribbean 55.5

Abuse of Functions

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 47.0

Caribbean 37.6

Money Laundering

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 55.8

Caribbean 58.5

Participation and Attempt

Core-deficient
33.5

Western Hemisphere 58.4

Caribbean 54.2

Active Foreign Bribery

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 39.0

Caribbean 34.7

Illicit Enrichment

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 54.7

Caribbean 38.9

Use of State Property

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 79.5

Caribbean 66.9

Illicit Acquisition of a Benefit

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 52.1

Caribbean 36.6

Public Embezzlement

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 77.6

Caribbean 64.4

Passive Foreign Bribery

Not Implemented
0

Western Hemisphere 25.6

Caribbean 23.4

Private Bribery

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 22.7

Caribbean 21.8

Private Embezzlement

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 64.7

Caribbean 59.5

Obstruction of Justice

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 71.4

Caribbean 61.1

Liability of Legal Persons

Core-deficient
34.3

Western Hemisphere 61.3

Caribbean 62.2

Statute of Limitations

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 79.6

Caribbean 68.

Prosecution, Adjudication and Sanctions

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 69.5

Caribbean 63.2

Consequences and Compensation

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 70.3

Caribbean 60.4

Cooperation With Law Enforcement

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 72.2

Caribbean 66.3

Asset Recovery

Implemented
82.8

Western Hemisphere 66.4

Caribbean 59.6

International cooperation

Implemented
81.9

Western Hemisphere 68.9

Caribbean 60.9

Assistance Without Criminalization

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 79.8

Caribbean 69.8

Inclusion in Extradition Treaties

In progress
68.7

Western Hemisphere 55.1

Caribbean 54.5

Convention as Legal Basis for Extradition

Implemented
71.8

Western Hemisphere 47.5

Caribbean 31.7

Automatic Application Without Treaty

In progress
65.6

Western Hemisphere 52.7

Caribbean 49.1

Prosecution Without Extradition

Implemented
82.8

Western Hemisphere 57.2

Caribbean 56.6

Custody

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 73.4

Caribbean 72.8

Assistance

In progress
54.6

Western Hemisphere 58.0

Caribbean 50.2

Impossibility of Claiming Bank Secrecy

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 84.0

Caribbean 71.3

Limited Use of Information

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 82.6

Caribbean 71.1

Nature of Act

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 84.3

Caribbean 75.7

Designate Central Authorities

Implemented
96.8

Western Hemisphere 75.9

Caribbean 53.9

Responsibilities of Central Authorities

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 71.5

Caribbean 67.1

Communication Between Central Authorities

Implemented
100

Western Hemisphere 67.3

Caribbean 50.8

Special Investigative Techniques

Implemented
85.9

Western Hemisphere 56.9

Caribbean 48.5

Technical Cooperation

Not Implemented
3.1

Western Hemisphere 62.8

Caribbean 40.7

Anti-corruption conventions timeline

199819992000200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018

Conventions

  • IACAC - Inter-American Convention Against Corruption
  • UNCAC - United Nations Convention against Corruption
  • OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

Key events

  • Signed
  • Ratifed / acceded
  • Review rounds

Convention Implementation Analysis

The Bahamas signed the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption (IACAC) on June 2, 1998, and ratified it in March 9, 2000. It is a State Party to the Follow-Up Mechanism for the Implementation of the Inter-American Convention against Corruption (MESICIC) since June 4, 2001. The country also acceded to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) on January 10, 2008. Accordingly, The Bahamas has undergone five rounds of review under MESICIC, and one round of review under the UNCAC review mechanism.

The Bahamas’s record in implementing its commitments to IACAC and UNCAC exhibits a number of successes and a few failures. With an overall score of 67.1, the measures adopted place the country at the middle point of compliance with international norms, surrounded by Uruguay (66.1), Honduras (66.6), Guatemala (67.2), and Nicaragua (67.9). Despite achieving lower success in regard to prevention (as is the case throughout the region) roughly half of all deficient measures, and a majority of unimplemented ones, are found within the section of criminalization and law enforcement. That being said, the degree of the Bahama’s progress in implementing its international commitments is generally lacking across all three sections, including international cooperation.

The prevention of corruption is prominently lacking, classified as “in progress” by their average score but with significant measures found to be unimplemented—the initiatives to encourage the participation of civil society—or deficient at core. The latter are the standards of conduct (26.6), the training of public officials (26.6), and actions to deter domestic and foreign bribery related to accounting regulations (29.7), transparency in government contracting (32.0), and the state of oversight bodies (33.6). Indeed, the majority of measures within this section are considered to be deficient or unimplemented. Only two measures are found to be in progress—the enforcement of standards of conduct (47.7) and the systems for registering asset and conflict of interests' declarations (50.8).

In terms of criminalization of acts of corruption and related offenses, the Bahamas shows mixed results. The country is found to have successfully implemented roughly half of all measures within this section, including those pertaining to active and passive bribery in the public sector, bribery in the private sector, embezzlement in the public and private sectors, money laundering, and the obstruction of justice, among others. On the other hand, a number of significant measures remain lacking. The country has not criminalized illicit enrichment, the passive bribery of foreign officials (as required by UNCAC), or the abuse of functions. Among the measures considered to be deficient, the Bahamas lacks sufficient protection of those who report acts of corruption (i.e., whistleblower protection) (32.0), criminalization of extended forms of involvement in the commission of corruption offenses such as participation and attempt (33.6), and liability of legal persons (34.4), all of which are classified as “core-deficient” as a result. Other measures remain in progress.

The Bahamas is found only partially compliant in its commitments to establish jurisdiction over the offenses covered by the conventions. The UNCAC review mechanism reports that “[e]extraterritorial jurisdiction is foreseen only for extradition purposes… [and] the Bahamas has not adopted the active or passive personality principles or established jurisdiction over offenses when the alleged offender is present in its territory and is not extradited.” On the other hand, the country’s active implementation of its commitments regarding international cooperation is a point worth highlighting, with most measures found fully implemented. Only one measure is found mostly unimplemented—the country’s efforts to support and pursue international technical cooperation (3.1).

Corruption Resilience

Score by indicator

Social Context

Resilient
86.7

Western Hemisphere 64.8

Caribbean 69.3

Quality of Government

Moderately Resilient
52.6

Western Hemisphere 50.6

Caribbean 51.0

Rule of Law

Moderately Resilient
60.2

Western Hemisphere 51.1

Caribbean 57.1

Business Stability

Moderately Resilient
49.9

Western Hemisphere 50.5

Caribbean 52.3

Violence & Security

Moderately Resilient
59.9

Western Hemisphere 55.0

Caribbean 59.9

Corruption Resilience score over the time

Analysis

In 2020, the Bahamas saw an increase in its social context indicator by 6.9 points from 2019, an indication of improving civil liberties and media freedom. Generally speaking, in the Bahamas, citizens' civil liberties and political rights are consistently respected. The Bahamas has also continually scored high in the social context indicator since 2010—barring a slight drop of 5.5 points in 2019. Media in the Bahamas is protected by the country's constitution, and freedom of association and belief remain respected throughout the country. In 2020, the Bahamas was a top performer in the Western Hemisphere with respect to the social context indicator, where the country ranked within the 75th percentile.

With respect to the quality of government indicators, in 2020, the Bahamas saw a decline in its score from the previous year by 5.19 points. The quality of government indicator has fluctuated over the years (2010 and 2020), where approximately +/- 2 change in the country's score has occurred. In 2020, the Bahamas was slightly above the Western Hemisphere average by 2.02 points (50.63), ranking the country within the 50th percentile. The Bahamas score for quality of governance is not optimal and this is largely attributed to the inclusion of the control of corruption variable. Concerning the Bahamas, corruption remains a problem for the country.

In 2020, the Bahamas saw a slight decrease in its rule of law indicator by 0.04 points, which is not a cause for concern. The country's rule of law score has slightly fluctuated over the decade, reaching a high of 62 in 2010 and a low of 52.48 in 2012. Compared to other countries in the Western Hemisphere, the Bahamas retains high rule of law indicator scores—consistently scoring above the regional indicator average for the last decade. This is primarily due to the Bahamian judicial system, which has been independent and free of interference from government officials and other powerful entities in the country (Freedom House Report, 2020).

The Bahamian business environment is assessed with a business stability indicator, which captures the regulatory environment, business and investment freedom, and property rights and rule-based governance that can impact private economic activity. In 2020, the Bahamas business stability indicator score increased by 2.42 points from the preceding year. Despite improvements in the country's business stability indicator in 2020, the country's score is slightly below the Western Hemisphere average score of 50.53 with a 0.54 points difference. The Bahamas business stability indicator has been decreasing approximately by 0.09 points each year between 2012 and 2016. In 2017 the country's score began to decrease approximately by 2.33 points from 2016 to 2018.

In 2020, the Bahamas violence and security indicator was 59.94, which decreased from the preceding year by 2.68 points. Despite the drop in the score, the Bahamas score for 2020 is still 4.9 points above the Western Hemisphere average score for the violence and security indictor. Over the decade, the Bahamas violence and security indicator fluctuated with approximately +/- 2 change in its score, and in 2016, the country had the highest score of the decade of 70.11.