The role and competencies of the Ombudsman are regulated in the Constitution of Sint Maarten, the National Ordinance Ombudsman and the National Ordinance Constitutional Court.
1. The Investigative Role: “Protector of the citizens.”
The Ombudsman is authorized to investigate complaints filed against a civil servant, government body or government entity charged with public authority for behavior or conduct exhibited in the execution of their function.
The complaint can be filed by a natural person or an entity.
The Ombudsman can initiate an investigation on her own when the Ombudsman is of the opinion that certain practices or behavior are improper.
The Ombudsman investigates the conduct of government in the relationship with its citizens that goes beyond the written laws: the Ombudsman investigates “propriety” in accordance with the rules of conduct /standards of proper conduct developed to promote ‘good governance’.
The Ombudsman can also initiate an investigation on her own.
2. Role in the Lawmaking process: “Guardian of the Constitution.”
According to the Constitution only the Ombudsman can submit new laws and regulations, that seem to be in conflict with the Constitution, for partial or total annulment to the Constitutional Court. This has to be done in writing within 6 weeks after ratification of the law. Exceptions: Uniformed laws (in association with Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten) and Laws of an urgent nature.
The Ombudsman has the authority in accordance with the National Ordinance to:
- investigate complaints or own motions
- intervene to find practical solutions within a short period of time
- issue a ruling after investigation
- provide recommendations to government; measures to be taken to address a situation in general
- stop an investigation
- inform Parliament immediately after investigation
- publish its findings, conclusions and anonymous reports (without names of the complainants: