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SVG scores higher than USA on freedom scale

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While the informal ‘leader of the free world’, the United States of America (USA), regresses in its democratic practices, St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has overtaken it on the freedom scale.

This is as shown in the 2018 yearly report for analyzing the freedom status of 195 countries, dubbed the “Freedom in the World” report, released by the independent, watchdog organization Freedom House. The report measures the level of civil liberties and political rights on a scale from one, being the most free, to 7, being the least free. Further an aggregate score out of 100 is assigned to all countries.

The analysis takes place on the assumption that “freedom for people is best achieved in liberal democratic societies,” as stated by the Freedom House, and the test is derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Not only looking at written laws, Freedom House states that both laws and actual practices are factored into scoring decisions, with greater emphasis on implementation of laws.

SVG stands as one of the 88 countries that have been designated as ‘Free’ countries, scoring the highest, ‘one,’ for civil liberties and political rights. The aggregate score, one down from last year’s score, was published as 90/100.

This aggregate score stands as greater than that of the USA, which scored four points lower at 86. This is as a result of the decreased emphasis on democracy in the USA, according to the president of the Freedom House, Michael J Abramowitz. The president commented on the freedom of year 2017 in his report ‘Democracy in Crisis’, following the results, saying, “Political rights and civil liberties around the world deteriorated to their lowest point in more than a decade in 2017, extending a period characterized by emboldened autocrats, beleaguered democracies, and the United States’ withdrawal from its leadership role in the global struggle for human freedom.”

SVG has scored below some of its neighbours, including Barbados, who scored 96, and Dominica, 93 and one point lower than St Lucia, which scored 91.

However, SVG has overtaken other Caribbean neighbours, including our most immediate neighbour Grenada, which fell behind in the category civil liberties, scoring a ‘two’ and an aggregate score of 88. Further, St Kitts/Nevis scored 89, and Cuba, designated as ‘Not Free’, a 14.

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