PHILIPSBURG, Ombudsman Gwendolien Mossel held a meeting with the Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Russell Ursula, which was pending for some time.
The Ombudsman expressed serious concerns about the lack of responses to requests of the public, the investigations and overall lack of communication towards the Ombudsman from the Ministry of Justice. The Ombudsman emphasized on the main bottlenecks with the Ministry of Justice, namely the lack of information on HR-policies, procedures, legal basis (‘functieboeken’), the functioning of the Court of Guardianship and overall lack of tracking system for letters received by the Ministry. Government is required to adhere to investigations of the Ombudsman, not doing so is in violation of the National Ordinance of the Ombudsman but more so, the Ombudsman emphasized, behind every complaint is a person entitled to proper service from the government.
Better Communication Needed
In the meeting, Mr. Ursula acknowledged that much better communication is needed from the Ministry. He further expounded on the challenges facing the Ministry especially budgetary constraints. Mr. Ursula highlighted the priorities which are in the final stages, among others the restructuring of HR within the Ministry and the legislation pertaining to the legal position of the Justice chain and the Anti-Money Laundering legislation. Also highlighted was the much-needed stability pertaining to decision making in order to achieve these objectives. Mr. Ursula expressed his intention to set up a tracking system for documentation and enhance communication with the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman concluded by urging the Secretary General to address the pending cases.
The Ombudsman is hopeful that former MP Doran, now interim Minister of Justice, who expressed his affinity with the Ministry and requested past letters of concerns during the Ombudsman’s recent presentation of the 2018 year report in parliament, will address the ongoing challenges of the Ministry.