SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Ombudsman Gwendolien Mossel recently held a meeting with Minister Stuart Johnson upon his request to discuss pending cases and some other concerns of the Ombudsman as it relates to the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT).
The Ombudsman highlighted the importance of compliance with recommendations issued to the Ministries as this promotes good governance. The Ombudsman therefore applauds the initiative of the Minister to meet regarding this matter.
The Ombudsman addressed the (non) follow-up of the Ministry on the recommendations issued in the Philipsburg Marketplace vendors investigation that was concluded in December 2017 as well as requested information about the recent decision of the Minister to close the temporary vending outlets of the Kim Sha Beach Marketplace.
The similarities of both situations were discussed, and the Minister was requested to review the recommendations of the Ombudsman in the Philipsburg Marketplace case to ensure that mistakes of the past will not be repeated.
The Ombudsman also discussed the continuous complaints of citizens in the Simpson Bay area regarding noise pollution and emphasized the need for a multi sectoral and ministerial approach to tackle this incessant problem to which the Minister agreed.
The Ombudsman reminded the Minister that a formal response to the Systemic Investigation Procurement Management Policy (PMP) PJIAE was still outstanding and emphasized the need for transparency of the procurement policy at the airport as the Final Report concluded: ‘ The PMP is insufficiently transparent at the level of the functionally responsible government body for PJIAE/government. The evaluation criteria used in the tendering and selection of bidders appear not to be accessible to interested (third) parties and the public in general’.
The Ombudsman complemented the Ministry on the reduction of complaints regarding the timely issuance of business licenses and encouraged the Minister to maintain the policies that facilitated the decrease in complaints.
The meeting concluded with the suggestion of the Minister to continue with periodical meetings with the Ombudsman whereby pending investigations and outstanding matters can be thoroughly discussed.