Ombudsman reps meet with Curaçao, Aruba counterparts

WILLEMSTAD/PHILIPSBURG--A delegation of the Ombudsman Bureau recently visited the Curacao and Aruba bureaus to acquire knowledge and techniques of handling complaints and preparation of yearly bureau reports.

The trip also focused on establishing a working relationship with the bureaus.

The St. Maarten delegation comprised Secretary General/Policy Advisor Patricia Philips, Complaint Officer Charleen Bell and Administrative Assistant Rose Davis.

They met with Curaçao Secretary General Rademeh Da Costa Gomez, who welcomed them on behalf of Ombudsman of Curaçao Alba Martijn.

An extensive programme was put together by the Ombudsman, which covered among other things: organizing a hearing session; hearing procedures; methods and techniques in handling complaints that can be solved via an intervention; administrative procedures; IT application for registration; and follow up of complaints.

The delegation also took part in an actual intake of a complaint and observed the intervention procedure that was applied to resolve this complaint. They were told that for the intervention to yield results, contact persons must be identified within the ministries and a good working relationship has to be developed. This will lead to complaints being handled effectively and efficiently.

Bell was given a practical session on investigative methods and techniques by taking part in on-site investigation, while Davis was explained the archive system and the software application used to register the complaints.

Philips joined the delegation of the St. Maarten's State Councils in Aruba and attended a PricewaterhouseCoopers workshop on how to develop best practices within the organization. GAC (a company established in the Netherlands) gave a presentation on new technologies and software application for administrative processes; this application allows for the storage of data in cyberspace and for the users to access the data from any location.

For the local bureau this new system will open up the opportunity for clients to file complaints on line, which will automatically be updated in the system of the Ombudsman.

Philips also attended the follow-up session with the Social Economic Council SER and the discussion on the Constitutional Development of Aruba, chaired by Constitutional Law expert Lucciano Milliard.

The working visit was sponsored in part by Dutch funding agency USONA as part of the "Establishment of the High Council of States" project and the government of St. Maarten. The trip was coordinated by the local Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations BAK.

23 February 2011

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