The Daily Herald writes that the Representatives of the National Ombudsman’s Office will be visiting Saba and St. Eustatius, March 31 to April 3.
In 2013, ombudsman experts heard complaints about good governance, local authorities and government practices. The 17 issues that were raised on Saba were almost equally divided between criticism about local and national government. In Statia, one-third of the reported 23 grievances were about local government, while the national government was responsible for the rest of the complaints.
Complaints can be filed with the National Ombudsman free of charge about any issue regarding government. Citizens are entitled to be treated with respect, honesty and transparency by their local and national government. In case the official code of conduct is not followed by authorities, civilians have recourse to the Ombudsman.
Established in 1982, the Ombudsman deals with questions regarding basic rights that (citizens feel may) have been violated. Inhabitants of the islands can report impolite and rude behaviour or unresponsive treatment by the authorities. If one is given the run-around, one can make a complaint with the aforementioned experts. If the decision-making-process is not transparent and questions remain unanswered, the Ombudsman will try his best to settle the dispute. The Ombudsman is an independent body and can decide on its own which issues to investigate. The office can even choose to launch an investigation on its own initiative. The Kingdom of The Netherlands is among approximately 80 other nations with a similar organisation. The Ombudsman considers citizens’ grievances about provincial, state, local and public bodies, police, National Government Service Caribbean Netherlands RCN and the Tax Office.
Visiting hours of the Ombudsman on Saba are on Tuesday, April 1, 5:00-7:00pm at Child Focus Foundation in the Honeybee Building, and on Wednesday, April 2, 4:00-6:00pm at Saba Roads and Construction in The Bottom. The Ombudsman representatives can be visited by appointment March 31-April 3, by calling 416-5510 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.