New Om­buds­man to be ap­poin­ted by March

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

The ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­on has com­mit­ted to choo­se and ap­point a new Om­buds­man be­fo­re the first quar­ter of next year. Que­s­ti­o­ned Thurs­day about the pro­cess, Mi­nis­ter of Sta­te, Jo­seph Har­mon, dis­clo­sed that mo­ves ha­ve be­gun to nar­row the choi­ces.

He ex­plai­ned that the re­qui­re­ments man­da­te that the can­di­da­tes be ei­ther a re­ti­red Jus­ti­ce of Ap­peal or Jud­ge of the High Court who is qua­li­fied to be­co­me a Jus­ti­ce of Ap­peal. The pro­blem with the­se re­qui­re­ments is that Gu­y­a­na is very li­mi­ted in who would be cho­sen, Har­mon war­ned. On Mon­day last, du­ring a sit­ting of the Na­ti­o­nal As­sem­bly, the is­sue was rai­sed with Har­mon tel­ling the Hou­se that a new Om­buds­man should be rea­dy to start work by the end of March 2017. He de­cli­ned to na­me an­y­o­ne whom the ad­mi­ni­stra­ti­on may ha­ve in mind. In De­cem­ber 2013, af­ter eight ye­ars wit­hout fil­ling the key po­si­ti­on, Gu­y­a­na fi­nal­ly ap­poin­ted an Om­buds­man with At­tor­ney- at- Law and for­mer Jus­ti­ce Wins­ton Moo­re cho­sen. Un­til then Gu­y­a­na had been wit­hout an Om­buds­man sin­ce the re­ti­re­ment of Jus­ti­ce Sheik Mo­ha­med in 2005. Moo­re died in Sep­tem­ber, ren­de­ring the of­fi­ce va­cant. An Om­buds­man is an of­fi­ci­al usu­al­ly ap­poin­ted by the government or by Par­li­a­ment but with a sig­ni­fi­cant de­gree of in­de­pen­den­ce. The of­fi­ci­al is char­ged with re­pre­sen­ting the in­te­rests of the pu­blic by in­ves­ti­ga­ting and ad­dres­sing com­plaints of malad­mi­ni­stra­ti­on or vi­o­la­ti­on of rights.

The ty­pi­cal du­ties of an Om­buds­man are to in­ves­ti­ga­te com­plaints and at­tempt to re­sol­ve them. Moo­re is best known for his re­port on the Mauri­ce Ar­joon ca­se against mort­ga­ge gi­ant New Buil­ding So­ci­e­ty.

It was one of the first ca­ses he wor­ked on in 2014 with the re­port sca­thing in its cri­ti­cis­ms of the po­li­ce in­ves­ti­ga­ti­ons and la­ter the char­ges against the for­mer Chief Exe­cu­ti­ve Of­fi­cer and two ma­na­gers, who we­re all fired. The re­port by the Om­buds­man clea­red the men.

Ar­joon has sin­ce fi­led a High Court ca­se ac­ti­on clai­ming his pen­si­on and out­stan­ding be­ne­fits. The court is ex­pec­ted to hand down a de­ci­si­on this week. The Om­buds­man re­port is li­ke­ly to be de­ba­ted in the Na­ti­o­nal As­sem­bly soon.

(Kai­e­teur news)

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