Wednesday , March 22 2023

National Ombudsman receives 126 complaints from islands

The National Ombudsman received 126 complaints from residents of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in 2015. Compared to the Netherlands, the ratio is much higher, reports The Daily Herald.

The 2015 annual report of the National Ombudsman, which was presented in The Hague on Wednesday, showed that one request per 190 residents was received. In the Netherlands, with more than 16.8 million inhabitants in 2015, the National Ombudsman received 38,000 requests, equaling one request per 442 residents.

“This means that more than 2.5 times as many requests were received from the Caribbean Netherlands. This difference is also due to the fact that the National Ombudsman does the first line handling of complaints of the three Dutch public entities.”

Knowledge of the work by the National Ombudsman in the Caribbean Netherlands has increased. “In the past years residents have become more and more aware of the National Ombudsman. Contrary, we have also been able to develop a better view of the Caribbean citizen perspective,” it was stated in the annual report.

The activities of the National Ombudsman on the islands have resulted in an increased awareness of residents: they know how to find the Ombudsman and the many interventions have led to solutions.

According to the National Ombudsman the time has arrived to move from individual complaints-handling to a more structural approach to realise improvements on the islands. “This will further increase our contribution to good governance.” The first step has been set by initiating an investigation into five complaints about the public entity Bonaire.

A team of the National Ombudsman travels to the three islands twice per year. These visits serve to get in touch with both government departments and residents. Information is provided to the government departments about the handling of complaints and the vision of the National Ombudsman on the relation between government and residents.

Also, consultations are held where residents can ask questions and submit complaints to the personnel of the National Ombudsman. The visits are further used to discuss complaints with the government departments, and where possible to solve these complaints on the spot, for example through mediation. National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen and his team visited the islands last week.

The presentation of the 2015 annual report to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Wednesday was preceded by the swearing in of Margrite Klaverboer as Children’s Ombudsman. “Her solid knowledge of children’s rights and the way in which she will actively involve children in her work already justify the conclusion that she will give the children here and in the Caribbean Netherlands a voice,” said Van Zutphen about her appointment.

Note Editor: Check out the link to the site of the Nationale Ombudsman  under menu item “Saba Online” – Government services. Here you find the information on how to contact the Ombudsman and how to file a complaint about government organisations.

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