By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chairman and Shadow Attorney General of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), Basil Williams is doubtful that the recently resuscitated Ombudsman Office is equipped with right human and technical resource to effectively administer its functions.
At a press Conference on Wednesday (January 15), just two days after former Judge, Winston Moore was sworn in as Ombudsman; Williams said he is unsure whether the Office is able to fill any gap that existed in the judicial system. Guyana was without an Ombudsman for approximately eight years following the retirement of Justice Sheik Mohamed in 2005.
According to the APNU Chairman, a pool of independent investigators is needed for the office.
“That is the crux of the issue; we need independent investigators, lest we have a situation where a police investigates another police and we see what can happen there.”
Williams reminded that the role of the Ombudsman’s office is to protect citizens from the excesses/atrocities of the state and for proper redress to be sought. He also casted doubt on the availability of technical resources at the office to effect proper investigations.
However, at the swearing in ceremony on Monday (January 13), Moore spoke to all misgivings regarding the office of the Ombudsman as was reported in the media.
Moore said that following his appointment in 2013, discussions regarding staffing and resources were held between himself and senior Government Officials.
The Attorney said he in turn submitted a list of requirements to the Ministry of Public Service all of which have been met.
He further noted that several persons who had worked at the office in the past have opted to return. “I have no qualms or misgivings as to staffing and resources.”
The duties of an Ombudsman are to investigate complaints and make attempts to resolve them. Ombudsmen sometimes also aim to identify systemic issues leading to poor service or breaches of people’s rights.