Philipsburg: In the weekend Ombudsman Dr. Nilda Arduin informally met with the National Ombudsman of the Netherlands and a representative of the Bureau Willemijn van Helden on their way to St. Eustatius (Statia) and Saba. Every citizen with complaints about the functioning of the government will be able to meet on designated days with representatives of the National Ombudsman Armin Dorn and Gaby von Maltzahn during consultation hours. Reinier van Zutphen, the National Ombudsman himself, will also be there to get acquainted with the people and the organizations.
In an effort to assist Aruba, the only country within the Dutch Kingdom not having a National Ombudsman, the Ombudsmen of the Netherlands, Curacao and Sint Maarten met in October last year with various stakeholders on that island, including Parliament. As a follow up to agreements made in Aruba to meet yearly to discuss matters of mutual interest and concerns, arrangements are being made to have the first formal annual meeting of the National Ombudsmen of the Dutch Kingdom held on Sint Maarten in June upcoming. With the focus of Dr. Arduin in 2016 on the constant element in government, the civil service, the presence of the Ombudsmen of Curacao and the Netherland on Sint Maarten will be utilized to organize sessions for civil servants and the other High Councils of State. A tentative program was discussed with Van Zutphen over the weekend.
The National Ombudsman
The National Ombudsman deals with complaints about different government bodies. For Statia and Saba, these could among others be: public entities, the immigration and naturalization service (IND), the health care insurance office (ZVK) and the tax authorities (Belastingdienst). The National Ombudsman of the Netherlands has issued several reports, which according to his Bureau may help put abuse of power or other wrongdoings on the political agenda. They have however noticed that the public entities of Statia and Saba are working hard to establish appropriate rules governing complaint handling and enforcement.
The Ombudsman listens, investigates and recommends government to act on the concerns of the people.