Ombudsman’s office hears 112 complaints so far – eased backlogs of cases
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, February 8, 2018
The office of the Ombudsman continues to make significant strides by offering hope to hundreds of citizens across Guyana. Since June of last year, some 112 complaints have so far been addressed.
New Ombudsman, retired Justice Winston Patterson today said that the office has been able to complete several matters including the backlog of complaints left, following the sudden passing of Justice Winston Moore.
“We have been able to be successful in our attempts because we were doing the so-called backlog matters simultaneously as we were dealing with current matters because if we do not do it, that way then the current matters would sooner or later become backlog,” he told the DPI in an exclusive interview.
Justice Patterson, who has been at the helm of the office since June last year, said that the office is a place for all Guyanese. So far, the office has seen a total of 112 complaints, which include 25 for this new year. Although the office deals only with matters regarding government agencies, other forms of complaints are heard and referred to the relevant places. Even so, Justice Patterson said Guyanese are better off visiting the office with their complaints.
“There are only two agencies where persons can have redress, that is the courts and the Ombudsman office. The court system entails finance, the ombudsman office is faster, and no fee is involved, so that is a plus and one would tell the other and persons would come from all parts of the country.”
The Office is, however, not permitted to deal with matters that are engaging the attention of the court whether they are civil or criminal. Out of the 112 matters, 48 were out of its jurisdiction.
“That notwithstanding, however, persons come, and they level complaints for more than one reason. We entertain them, and we guide them accordingly and we guide them accordingly and apart from that we try to assist them without infringing the jurisdictional aspect.”
According Justice Patterson, the range of complaints reaching the office including protests against persons in government departments and private and commercial entities. While the office has little or no jurisdiction over some, it has been able to assist in the process which saw successful resolutions.
He said most of the complaints that come in are merited, a few are discriminatory in nature. He said the office, however, does not entertain persons’ personal agenda.
By: Alexis Rodney