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Ombudsman confident of adequate govt support

Left to right; Attorney General Anil Nandlall, President Donald Ramotar, Ombudsman Justice Winston Moore and Opposition Leader David Granger.

Retired High Court Judge, Winston Moore was Monday sworn in as Guyana’s first Ombudsman in almost 10 years, saying he was satisfied with efforts being made to provide resources to help the office function properly.

“I have no qualms or misgivings as to the level of resources… that would actually be provided,” Moore said after taking the Oath of Office before President Donald Ramotar.

An Ombudsman examines complaints by members of the public who feel that they have been unfairly treated by public bodies. Guyana has not had an Ombudsman since Justice Sheik Mohamed retired in 2005.

Moore said that when he was first approached about taking up the constitutional appointment, he met with Public Service Minister, Dr. Jennifer Westford and a senior personnel officer of that ministry.

He recalled submitting a list of requirements and the minister saying that staff members at the Office of the Ombudsman would have been asked whether they wanted to remain or not. “Some of them chose to return.”

President Ramotar, in brief remarks, said that while the Constitutional Court had been addressing some matters, having an Ombudsman is a key constitutional requirement.

“I would expect that the public should take advantage of the fact that we have an Ombudsman to take their issues or issues that fall within his remit so that we can have their issues dealt with and resolved,” he said.

The Guyanese leader pledged his government’s “full support” to the Ombudsman in discharging his duties.

Attorney General, Anil Nandlall suggested that one of the priorities should be educating and informing Guyanese that there is an Ombudsman for them to take their grievances. “I suppose the Ombudsman is free to market his office and publicise his role and function,” he said noting that Justice Mohammed had complained that very few persons had been taking advantage of the office.

Under Guyana’s Constitution the President is not required to consult with the Opposition Leader on the appointment of an Ombudsman.