Philipsburg: Ombudsman Dr. Nilda Arduin met with the National Ombudsman of the Netherlands Reinier van Zutphen in Barcelona to further discuss joint workshops for civil servants of Sint Maarten. Both Ombudsmen recently attended and contributed to workshops on “Human rights challenges now: the Ombudsman facing threats” held in Barcelona.
In an effort to assist Aruba, the only country within the Dutch Kingdom not having a National Ombudsman, the Ombudsmen of the Netherlands, Curaçao 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 annual meeting of the National Ombudsmen of the Dutch Kingdom on Sint Maarten to be held in June upcoming.
Empowering the Civil Service
Focusing on empowering the civil service in 2016, the presence of the Ombudsmen of Curaçao and the Netherlands on Sint Maarten will be utilized to organize sessions for civil servants and a meeting with the other High Councils of State. With frequent changes within the Executive branch, Ombudsman Dr. Arduin is gearing her attention towards the civil service in 2016, as civil servants are the constant element in government. After consultation with the Ombudsman of Curaçao, Keursley Concension, a tentative program was discussed with Van Zutphen in Barcelona to maximize the gathering of the Ombudsmen and their time spent on Sint Maarten.
Dealing with Different Goverment Bodies
The National Ombudsman of the Netherlands also deals with complaints about different government bodies in Caribbean Netherlands. 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 exchange of experiences and ideas between the Ombudsmen will be mutual beneficial to all involved.