Ombudsman Gwendolien Mossel (left) during her meeting with the VROMI representatives.
PHILIPSBURG–Ombudsman Gwendolien Mossel expressed “serious concerns” about the lack of responses from the Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure VROMI to requests from the public, during a meeting with several officials from the ministry recently.
Concerns were also expressed regarding investigations conducted by the Ombudsman, despite several reminders. The concerns were expressed during a meeting Mossel held with Secretary General of the Ministry of VROMI Louis Brown, Acting Head of the Inspectorate Department John Davis and Acting Head of the Permits Department Charlon Pompier, regarding several pending cases concerning the Ministry.
Currently the majority of cases concern the Inspectorate and the Departments of Domain Affairs and Permits. Government is required to cooperate with investigations of the Ombudsman; failure to do so is in violation of the National Ordinance of the Ombudsman.
During the extensive meeting, Brown expounded on the structural deficiencies within several departments related to staffing and budgetary constraints. Despite the department’s best efforts, it is unable to respond in a timely manner to requests/queries of the public mostly due to these shortcomings, Mossel said in a press release. “A prioritising of these structural issues is necessary for the departments to keep up with the demand. The Ombudsman emphasised that the public is not being properly serviced by the Ministry as persons are left in uncertainty,” it was stated in the release.
“The constant change in ministers and occasionally the conflicting decisions of same, also severely challenges the continuity in government. This also requires attention. The Ombudsman made it clear that these challenges in no way exempt the ministry from its duty to respond.”
A meeting with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice will be held soon to address similar concerns.