PHILIPSBURG, At the 8th Biennial Caribbean Ombudsman Association (CAROA) Conference the Ombudsman of Sint Maarten, Dr. Nilda Arduin, was elected as the new President of the Caribbean association for the period July 2015 – June 2017. As President of CAROA, Dr. Arduin will endeavor to broaden the knowledge and awareness of good governance within the Caribbean region.              

“Human rights, Good Governance and the Ombudsman.”

The theme of this year’s Conference was “Human rights, Good Governance and the Ombudsman.” Dr. Arduin contributed to the Conference with the topic “Human Rights, An Intrinsic Element of Good Administration”. The presentation addressed the link between good governance and human rights, and illustrated that human rights cannot be protected sustainably without good governance. The link was an eye-opener to the Ombudsmen of the region, who do not have a specific Human Rights mandate.                                               

The concern pertaining to accountability for privatized government tasks and services was tabled as a result of the presentations by Dr. Frank Kunneman titled “Public Legal Entities: A Balancing Act in Corporate Governance” and Mr. Karel Frielink, attorney at law, titled “Corporate Governance and State-Owned Enterprises”.

Other topics presented during the Conference included, “Access to Freedom of Information, an Imperative to Good Governance” presented by Ms. Lynette Stephenson, Ombudsman of Trinidad and Tobago and “The own motion investigation a tool to respond on public indignation”, presented by Ms. Alba Martijn LL.M., Ombudsman of Curaçao.

The highlight of the Conference was a two day Anti-Corruption Training sponsored by the International Ombudsman Institute (I.O.I.). As member of the I.O.I Board, Dr. Arduin was instrumental in bringing this training to the region. She selected and extended an invitation to non-Ombudsmen to attend. The training addressed a number of important topics, including “Anti-Corruption Approaches at Different Levels”, “Organizational and Institutional Integrity” and “Individual Integrity – Responding to Ethical Dilemma”.                              

Newly Appointed Legal Advisor

In addition to the Ombudsman, the newly appointed Legal Advisor at the Bureau Ombudsman Sint Maarten, Ms. Gwendolien Mossel, and other stakeholders of Sint Maarten attended the training. The Ombudsman applauds the members of Parliament, the Ministry of Justice and the Council of Advice for accepting the invitation extended to them and thanks the representatives for their participation at the Anti-Corruption Training. The Ombudsman is looking forward to follow-up action, in particular from Parliament.

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