Ombudsman saw growth in complaints last year | THE DAILY HERALD

Ombudsman Gwendolien Mossel discusses her Bureau’s 2018 Year Report with Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin.

POND ISLAND–After experiencing a decrease in new complaints in 2017, the Ombudsman saw an increase in 2018. A total of 76 new complaints were registered in 2018. The greatest number of the complaints (24 per cent) were against the Ministry of Justice, followed by the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA (14.5 per cent).

The Ministry of Justice shows a significant decrease in complaints against the Police Force, mainly attributed to properly following up on recommendations issued by the Ombudsman. Requests for residence permits, human resources-related and lack of proper services top the list of complaints filed against the Ministry of Justice. The highest number of complaints filed were against the Immigration and Naturalisation Department regarding requests for residence permits.

Non-response to the investigations continues to be a great concern.

The Ombudsman registered an increase of complaints filed against the Ministries of General Affairs (eight per cent), Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication TEATT (11 per cent) and VSA (14 per cent).

The number of complaints filed against the Ministry of VROMI remained the same (11 per cent), while the Ministry of Finance experienced a slight decrease (four per cent).

The Ombudsman entered 2018 with the motto “Shifting Gears”, according to the report’s foreword. The theme for the year signifies moving forward and accelerating “our game” with focus on the recovery and rebuilding of St. Maarten in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.

The Year Report also provides a financial report on the total budget provided to the Ombudsman in 2018, which amounted to some NAf. 1.5 million. Based on the unaudited financial report, the Bureau spent a total of NAf. 1.4 million.

Ombudsman Gwendolien Mossel presented the Ombudsman Bureau’s 2018 Year Report to Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin on Friday. The report covers the main activities of the bureau in the past year, with statistics on complaints handled as well as conclusions and recommendations issued in two systemic investigations closed in 2018.

A downloadable version of the report is available at under the “annual reports” tab.

Source: The Daily Herald