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European Union “ready” to help Ombudsman

Ambassador Robert Kopecky [far left] and other EU officials in discussions with Ombudsman Winston Moore [far right] (EU Delegation photo)

The European Union (EU) on Monday promised to provide assistance to the Office of the Ombudsman during a meeting with the first such office holder in eight years, Justice Winston Moore.

Moore held talks with Head of Delegation of the European Union [EU] to Guyana Ambassador Robert Kopecký, Political Officer, Mr Derek Lambe, Head of Cooperation, Mr Ewout Sandker, Head of Bilateral Section, Mr Benedikt Madl and Programme Officer, Mr Yohann Chaigneau.

“He (Kopecky) also assured Ombudsman Moore that the EU is ready, via its Delegation in Georgetown, to support the Ombudsman office in terms of capacity building and logistics enhancement if the Guyanese side expresses such a request,” said the EU Delegation here in a statement.

Ombudsman Moore acknowledged receiving an earlier letter from the EU Ambassador indicating the readiness of the EU Delegation to cooperate with his office and suggested several areas in which this could be achieved.

An Ombudsman examines complaints by members of the public who feel that they have been unfairly treated by public bodies. Guyana last Ombudsman was Justice Sheik Mohamed who retired in 2005.

The EU further stated that during the courtesy call Ombudsman Moore explained the function and working methods of the office of the Ombudsman and various matters of common interest were discussed. Ambassador Kopecký congratulated him on being appointed to the position which was vacant for the past eight years and commended the act of appointment as a very valuable contribution to one of the core values of the European Union that is good governance and the rights of citizenry.

 Kopecký further highlighted the importance of the office of the Ombudsman likening the similarity to that of the role of the European Ombudsman in ensuring the preservation of democracy and human rights. He also assured Ombudsman Moore that the EU is ready, via its Delegation in Georgetown, to support the Ombudsman office in terms of capacity building and logistics enhancement if the Guyanese side expresses such a request.

 On January 13, 2014, former Justice and Attorney at Law, Winston Moore, was sworn in as Guyana’s Ombudsman by President Donald Ramotar.

In spite of the fact that the prototype of ombudsman may have flourished in China and Korea even during the BC times and in Ancient Rome and the Turkish Empire in the early AD periods, the indigenous joint Swedish, Danish and Norwegian term, Ombudsman essentially means “representative”, someone who is authorized to act for someone else and as such is being used since 13th century