Ombudsman publishes 2022 Annual Report 

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PHILIPSBURG, The Ombudsman of Sint Maarten recently published the 2022-year report. In 2022 there were a total of 341 complaints handled of which 37 resulted in a report by the Ombudsman. The statistics show that a total of 304 general complaints came in whereby most complaints concerned the topics: Civil cases-labor dispute (27), police (26), followed by immigration (25). Inquiries/complaints regarding tax assessments (20), rental disputes and Domain Affairs (16) also garnered much attention from the public.

As mentioned, a total of 37 complaints led to a report by the Ombudsman. The ministries accounted for 35 investigations and Private entities with public authority, ‘zelfstandige bestuursorganen’ (ZBOs) accounted for 2:  VROMI (9), TEZVT (8), Justice (7), Finance (6), ECYS (2), AZ (2), VSA (1), SZV (1) and NRPB (1).  The significant decrease in the number of complaints for the ministries, compared to last year, can be attributed to the increase in complaints against the ministry of VROMI with regard to the Over the Bank (OTB) systemic investigation. From the 37 reports in 2022, 19 were closed by the end of 2022.

The Ombudsman noted an increase in complaints concerning hindrances, namely due to smell and/or noise of in particular garages. Because of these complaints and in an effort to more efficiently address the matter, the Ombudsman held 2 inter-ministerial meetings with the relevant departments of the Ministries of VROMI, TEATT and Justice. The meetings were successful insofar as areas where the ministries could improve cooperation were identified, overlapping policies could be streamlined and proper competencies could be established. Most complaints were able to be resolved. The Ombudsman will employ this matter of addressing inter-ministerial challenges where possible.

The annual report highlights the activities of the Bureau Ombudsman over the past year and provides a summary of the systemic investigations that were conducted. The report has been presented to Parliament and the Council of Ministers and is available to the general public for download via www.ombudsman.sx.