Ombudsman To Receive Reduced Salary

As of January 2014, the monthly salary for the Ombudsman will be EC$10,000 instead of the EC$15,000 which was paid to the first Ombudsman who retired from the post on account of him reaching retirement age.

At present Mr Wilfred Hercules is the Acting Ombudsman but there is no clear indication that he will be appointed to the post. With a vision to furthering good governance through delivery of responsive and equitable public service to all, the mission of the Office of the Ombudsman is to provide effective service through complaints, handling procedures that are timely, ensuring always through the high level of confidentiality and impartiality.

The projected amounted budgeted for the Office of the Ombudsman for 2014 is EC$467,363.20 and that amount will cover salaries, rental and utilities. The office of the Ombudsman was established for the purpose of assisting persons who believe that they have suffered injustice or unfairness by public authorities. The Ombudsman may investigate complaints against public authorities including statutory bodies.

Former Ombudsman Argar Alexander in his 2012 report to the parliament described the attitude of some senior public manager to him as disrespectful, with some of them behaving as if they are above the law.

“There is a seeming tendency for some senior managers to give the appearance that they are above the law, and as mentioned by one such individual, the Ombudsman should find better things to take up his time rather than resorting to writing letters to them,” said the report.

The Ombudsman man said then that he was of the view that there is evidence of arrogance among a class of such officers and such disposition did not in any way auger well for the social development of the country. “The message needed to be repeated time and time again, that nobody was above the law regardless of the status which one may enjoy at a particular time,” he wrote.

According to data from the office, the police department and the Ministry of Labour are the two Government departments which the most complaints were filed against.

by Linda Straker

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