Representatives of the National Ombudsman’s office will travel to St. Eustatius and Saba for the second time this year. They will be on the two islands of the Caribbean Netherlands November 10-14.
In March and April, numerous complaints were filed concerning good governance, local authorities and government practices. In Statia, nine of the 21 grievances concerned Health Insurance Office ZVK, and a little over one-third were about local government. Sabans lodged 13 complaints in total. The office of the National Ombudsman was established in the Netherlands in 1982 to investigate individuals’ complaints against maladministration, especially of public authorities.
Since October 2010, abuses or capricious acts of public officials on Bonaire, Statia and Saba can also be reported. The ombudsman will then try to settle disputes ranging from unhelpful staff and complicated procedures at local government offices to indifferent attitudes, to the individual’s particular predicament.
The National Ombudsman can be consulted about any instance where the official code of conduct is not followed by authorities. If they are not treated with respect, or without honesty and transparency by their local and state government, citizens have recourse to the Ombudsman free of charge.
The National Ombudsman’s responsibility is to receive and investigate complaints and to serve as an independent and impartial arbiter. It is an independent body and can even decide to launch an investigation on its own initiative. Approximately 80 other nations also have an organisation that inspects citizens’ grievances. The Nationals Ombudsman deals with provincial, state, local and public bodies, and with the Police and Tax Offices. Residents of Bonaire, Statia and Saba can also file complaints about Government Service Caribbean Netherlands RCN with the National Ombudsman.
The National Ombudsman’s representatives will be holding walk-in consultations for residents in Saba at the office of Saba Roads and Construction in The Bottom on Tuesday, November 11, 4:00-7:00pm, and at RS Accounting near RBC Bank in Windwardside on Wednesday, November 12, also 4:00-7:00pm. The National Ombudsman may also be reached by appointment between November 10 and 14, by calling 416-6554 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or s.pfeifer@nationaleombudsman.