Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015, 21:00 by GxMediaLeader of the Opposition David Granger has welcomed the appointment of former Judge Winston Moore as Ombudsman but says that is not enough to ensure more transparent governance.
The Office of the President in a brief release earlier in the day announced the appointment while adding that Moore, a practicing attorney, would be sworn in on January 2014.
Presidential Advisor on Governance, Gail Teixeira told Demerara Waves Online News that Moore was selected because he was the best person for the job of those who agreed to serve. “Justice Moore, as far as I know, has had a good reputation, is a man of integrity. I don’t know (and) I have not heard any negative things about him,” she said.
Granger, meanwhile, said they were looking forward to the full operationalisation of the Office of Ombudsman. “It was part of our Independence constitution 47 years ago and due entirely to the behaviour of the PPP/C we haven’t had an ombudsman for six, seven years and it was the APNU which has been insisting that an ombudsman be appointed.”
The opposition leader went on to list the Police Complaints Authority and the Public Service Appellate Tribunal as other offices that needed to be fully operationalised.
“All of these offices which have investigative roles have to be provided with the resources to conduct investigations. So we’re not satisfied simply with the appointment, we want to see strong offices which have the power to go out there and do investigations so that they fulfill their roles.
We wish Judge Moore success in his position but we want to see the government itself provide the resources to make that ombudsman office something that will attract the confidence of the public so that it will be able to perform its role,” Granger said.
Asked why it took so long to appoint an Ombudsman, the Presidential Advisor on Governance said the almost 12 persons previously approached were not interested in the job. “There are many that have been selected and few wanted to take on the job. There were many that were called but not all accepted the call,” she added.
Under Guyana’s Constitution the President is not required to consult with the Opposition Leader on the appointment of an Ombudsman. 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.