The National Ombudsman’s team had successful consultations in St. Eustatius and Saba last week. The Ombudsman assured that people can always turn to his office when they have a complaint about their government.
The team was in St. Eustatius on Monday, March 19, and in Saba on Thursday and Saturday, March 22 and 24. The consultation in St. Eustatius was especially successful with many persons visiting the Ombudsman’s team to discuss their grievances. The team also visited many persons at their homes outside the consultation hours.
In Saba, the consultation hours on both days were less visited than in St. Eustatius. The Ombudsman team used its spare time for contacts with the Saba Government and with the local community.
The National Ombudsman’s work entails the handling of citizens’ complaints about their government. The Ombudsman also carries out investigations into the manner in which government entities and services handle complaints.
One of the most recent assessments focused on the Caribbean Netherlands Health Insurance Office ZVK. The Ombudsman concluded that some things were amiss with the handling of complaints at the ZVK where it concerned the providing of information and professionalism. The Ombudsman advised that the ZVK has to be more prudent in handling complaints.
The Ombudsman responded positively to ZVK’s plans to hire more personnel for its offices in St. Eustatius and Saba, and to employ a person with whom ZVK clients can discuss their complaint at ease.
The Ombudsman team is currently in Bonaire. Today, Wednesday, the team will meet with ZVK Director Angel Bermudez to discuss the recommendations made in the report.
The Ombudsman is currently investigating the handling of complaints at the Caribbean Netherlands Immigration and Naturalisation Department IND.
The problems people have taken to the Ombudsman are often not easy to solve. Some of these problems have been ongoing for a while and to this day remain unsolved, despite the Ombudsman’s insistence on finding a solution.
For example, a solution is still pending for the very slow Internet connection that hampers students of Gwendoline van Putten School in St. Eustatius in their development because educational material can barely be downloaded and used. Also still pending is the matter of the pension premiums that have disappeared in the system after the transfer in 2010, while the employees did pay their premiums. The Ombudsman has reminded the St. Eustatius Government that it has a responsibility in this matter and that it needs to supply the necessary information.
In Bonaire, the local government has as yet to respond to the Ombudsman’s recommendations where it pertains to the handling of taxi permits. The Ombudsman said his employees would keep working on having these matters solved. Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen told The Daily Herald in a recent interview that he plans to visit the islands in June this year.
The Daily Herald.