PHILIPSBURG–A total of five complaints filed with the Ombudsman in 2018 against the Ministry of Justice about the way this ministry handled the immigration process in respective cases, are still awaiting resolution. The Ombudsman urges Minister of Justice Anna Richardson to view these four-year-old cases post-haste.
With two other complaints filed in 2021 deemed admissible by the Ombudsman the number of immigration cases still open is seven.
Overall, the Ombudsman is positive about the way in which the Ministry of Justice deals with complaints. While naturalization and immigration issues are one of the main topics about which the Ombudsman’s office in Philipsburg receives questions, the Ministry of Justice is helpful in trying to avoid the Ombudsman having to initiate an investigation.
The Ombudsman noted the adaptation of a complaint liaison, a person capable and authorised to properly follow up on the progress of the complaint handling, improving efficiency. “This is evident with the Ministry of Justice, as the institution of the liaison together with the willingness of the minister has aided in reducing the amount of complaints,” the Ombudsman concluded.
The Ombudsman fulfils an important informative and referral function in society, as persons come to the Ombudsman with both private and government-related concerns. Persons also contact the bureau for information regarding an array of issues, including their legal rights. This stage of information provision and possibly referral is called the “Information Window” (IW).
There were 293 IWs registered in 2021, compared to 250 in 2020. Immigration and naturalisation is among the top three issues for which persons contact the Ombudsman’s office. The other two are civil cases and domain affairs.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/ombudsman-urges-justice-minister-to-resolve-backlog