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Jamaica Gets Low Marks On Open Government by American NGO

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller

JAMAICA received a mixed scorecard in the World Justice Project’s (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2012 report, which was released on Wednesday.

Jamaica ranks a poor 23rd and 24th among 30 upper-middle income countries in the areas of security and open government respectively, but fares better in regulatory enforcement and limited governmental powers, placing fourth and fifth respectively among 16 countries in Latin America.

The Rule of Law index provides country-by-country scores and rankings for eight areas of the rule of law, and is the product of interviewing 97,000 people and more than 2,500 experts around the world.

According to the report, the Index is the third in an annual series and involved consultation and vetting with academics, practitioners, and community leaders from over 100 countries and 17 professional disciplines.

The WJP is an independent, non-profit organization that advances the rule of law worldwide. It was founded in 2006 as a presidential initiative of the American Bar Association (ABA), and with the initial support of 21 other strategic partners, the WJP transitioned into an independent non-profit organization in 2010.

“The rule of law helps people and communities thrive. Effective rule of law helps reduce corruption, improve public health, enhance education, lift people from poverty and protect them from injustices and dangers large and small,” the WJP says on its website.

The report said rather than looking at laws, actors, or institutional arrangements, the Index assesses a nation’s adherence to the rule of law by examining practical situations in which a rule of law deficit could affect the daily lives of ordinary people.

“For instance, the Index evaluates whether citizens can access public services without the need to bribe a government officer; whether a basic dispute among neighbors or companies can be resolved peacefully and cost-effectively by an independent adjudicator; and whether people can conduct their daily activities without fear of crime or police abuse,” the report stated.

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