PHILIPSBURG--The Ombudsman Bureau registered 68 new complaints in 2014 while four cases from 2012 and 24 from 2013 were handled last year. A total of 130 investigations were closed in 2014, of which 54 were new complaints registered from that year.
In 30 cases, the Ombudsman issued recommendations, according to the bureau's Year Report 2014. Some 26 to 43 per cent of the 62 recommendations were followed up by the year's end by government.
A highlight for the past year was Ombudsman Nilda Arduin making use of her competence provided for by law to inform Parliament immediately upon closing the investigation of a case regarding the findings and the decision.
By letter of June 10, 2014, the Ombudsman reported, pursuant to article 23 of the National Ordinance Ombudsman, to Parliament regarding the findings in a complaint filed by a resident against Kadaster and Hypotheekwezen (Land Titles and Mortgages). This action was taken due to continued disregard by Kadaster of the laws and failure by the Ministers of Public Housing VROMI and Finance to adequately respond to appeals by the Ombudsman to look into this private entity charged with public authority.
Apart from meetings held with the Central Committee of Parliament, this matter was not dealt with by the end of 2014.
Propriety, the standards of proper conduct, was highlighted as the main focus in 2014 in preparation to "step up our game" in 2015, said the bureau. However, the performance of government in dealing with the public was a matter of concern as the year started.
This was the reason why the Ombudsman expressed her concerns to the Prime Minister in a letter dated April 10. The Ombudsman plans to discuss these concerns with the Prime Minister when presenting the Year Report.
The Ombudsman presented the Year Report to Parliament Chairman Dr. Lloyd Richardson on Monday. Same will be presented to Governor Eugene Holiday and Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs today, Tuesday. The report was finalized with financial reporting on budget allocated by government and funding agency USONA.