Philipsburg; The Ombudsman of Sint Maarten and Secretary General of the Bureau recently attended the 11th World Conference of the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) held in Bangkok, Thailand from 14 to 19 November 2016. Despite some concerns expressed about the political situation in Thailand and the recent death of their beloved King, the Thai people were gracious hosts and the conference can be termed a success. The next World Conference will be held in Dublin, Ireland in 2020.
Some of the issues that were discussed during the General Assembly were electoral reform, a revised membership fee structure and the organization’s Strategic Plan 2016-2020. The proposed electoral reform will allow electronic voting for all elections to the Executive Committee of the IOI. A new membership fee structure will be introduced to create more consistency and equity among the membership. Finally, the strategic goals for the coming four (4) years will be – amongst others – the widening of membership, supporting Ombudsmen under threat and training.
Support for CAROA Conference
As a Director representing the Latin America and Caribbean region on the IOI board and current President of the Caribbean Ombudsman Association (CAROA), Dr. Arduin was successful in obtaining support for the upcoming CAROA conference scheduled for June 2017 on Bonaire. In this regard an invitation to attend the conference was extended to the newly elected President of the IOI and Ombudsman of Ireland, Mr. Peter Tyndall and a commitment to attend and speak at the CAROA Conference was obtained from the permanent Secretary General seated in Vienna, Mr. Günther Kräuter.
It should be noted that in 2015, together with the Regional President of the Caribbean and Latin American region, Ms. Lynette Stephenson, the Ombudsman of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Arduin secured an Anti-corruption training, sponsored via the IOI’s subsidies program, for regional Ombudsmen and their staff. Dr. Arduin was reelected to represent the region together with Ms. Amalia Colombo of Argentina and Mr. Luis Pérez from Mexico on the IOI Board and now assumes the position of Regional President on the Board.
Ombudsman Consulting with Colleagues
Attendance to the IOI World Conference afforded Dr. Arduin once again the opportunity to directly consult with her colleagues from around the world regarding the various topics of the continuously evolving institution of Ombudsman, an important pillar in the checks and balances within a democracy.
Added Value from Meetings and Conferences
Dr. Arduin reaffirms that learning from the expertise and experience of colleagues continues to be an added value in attending international Board meetings and conferences and further contributes to development and growth of the Ombudsman institute on Sint Maarten.
In photo front row (left to right): Consuelo Olvera (Director General- International Relations Human Rights Commission Mexico), Silvina Pennella (Secretary General – Office of the Public Defender Argentina), Dr. Nilda Arduin (Ombudsman – Sint Maarten), Victoria Pearman (Ombudsman – Bermuda), Sheila Brathwaite (Complaints Commissioner- British Virgin Islands); Back row (left to right):Raymond Mathilda (Executive Secretary – Ombudsman Curaçao), Cynthia Astwood (Complaints Commissioner – Turks & Caicos Islands), Keursly Concincion (Ombudsman Curaçao), Randolf Duggins (Secretary General – Ombudsman Sint Maarten).