The Ombudsman of Sint Maarten, Ms. Gwendolien Mossel, recently published their 2021 year report. In 2021, a total of sixty-four (64) new complaints were filed and two (2) systemic investigations were carried out by the Ombudsman. The ministries accounted for sixty (60) complaints: With the ministry of VROMI leading the many grievances with (32) of the Complaints levied against that Government Ministry alone. TEZVT (5), Justice (4), Finance (4), ECYS (4), AZ (4), and VSA (3).
Private entities with public authority, ‘zelfstandige bestuursorganen’ (Independent Administrative bodies) (ZBO) amounts to four (4) complaints, while two (2) complaints against non-administrative bodies. The Ombudsman fulfills an important informative and referral function within the society; persons in the community often come to the Ombudsman with both private and government related concerns. Persons also contact the Bureau for information regarding an array of issues including their legal rights. This phase of information provision and referral is called the ‘Information Window’ (IW). There were 293 IWs registered in 2021. The civil cases, followed by Immigration & Naturalization and Domain Affairs rank the highest amongst the complaints and concerns at the Information Window.
The annual report highlights the activities of the Bureau Ombudsman over the past year and provides a summary of the systemic investigations that were conducted. The report also discusses the decision of the Constitutional Court in connection with three national ordinances that were temporarily introduced; a 12.5% cut to the employment benefits of all (semi) public sector workers. The report has been presented to Parliament and the Council of Ministers and is available to the general public for download via their website: www.ombudsmansxm.com.