PHILIPSBURG, With reference to the article that appeared in the stmaartennews.com online newspaper edition of December 11, 2017, concerning the land dispute between real estate developer Smart Homes and senior citizen, Ms. Fernett Payne, the Ombudsman herewith cares to clarify the following.
It should be noted that the mandate of the Ombudsman is limited to complaints filed by citizens against government bodies. As such the Ombudsman would not be competent to investigate the complaint mentioned in the aforementioned article. If Ms. Payne brought her complaint to the Ombudsman earlier this year regarding her predicament, the Ombudsman would have directed her regarding steps to be taken, which does not involve any action from the Ombudsman. Smart Homes is a private company not a government entity.