The Office of the Ombudsman received 87 complaints about the period of 2019 to 2020, of which 37 of them were resolved. This is according to the information shared in the Report of the Ombudsman, laid in the National Assembly on Monday.

Citizens approach this office when they feel that they have been treated unfairly by a State Agency. The services offered by the Ombudsman’s Office are free and all complaints are dealt with in a timely.

“I am authorised to facilitate the citizens’ complaints. Listening patiently to the complainants is absolutely necessary… Work is done on a continuous basis to foster relationships with personnel in every state agency to ensure efficient resolution of complaints, thus avoiding any escalation,” the Hon. Justice (ret’d) Winston Patterson, the Ombudsman indicated in the report.

Of the 87 complaints, 64 were within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman’s Office while 28 of the aforementioned are still pending with the relevant authorities and 23 were out of the jurisdiction of this officer’s office. There are six categories under which complaints fall – justified, unjustified, resolved, declined, assistance renders, and referrals.

The report states that many of the complaints received were made by persons who walked in seeking advice and assistance. As a result, much time was spent interviewing complainants, giving on the spot advice and if necessary, referring complainants to the relevant authorities on matters which were not within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

Selected complaints summaries are listed as the wrongful dismissal of a constable; outstanding benefit for a retiree; denial of old-age pension; wrong dismissal of a Sergeant Major; and the request for re-computation of benefits.

Concerning the wrongful dismissal of the constable, it was noted that the complainant was a member of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) from 2002-2016. He was interdicted from duty with effect from May 2016 and placed on half-pay under Sector 43A of the Police Act Chapter 16:01 pending the determination of a Summary Charge of “Corrupt Transaction with Agent” contrary to Section 105(2)(a) of Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act Champer 8:02.

Nonetheless, before the determination of the case before the Law Court, he was discharged from the GPF with effect from March 2017 by the Commissioner of Police.

The complainant approached the High Court for an Order of Writ of Certiorari and an Order or Writ of Mandamus. The High Court on January 4, 2019, issued a Writ of Certiorari quashing the decision of the Police Commissioner on the grounds of it being unlawful.

In the summary of another complaint, this time against Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), the complainant claimed that he was deprived of one month’s salary upon retirement and six years’ pay for four hours on Sundays and holidays. The Ombudsman reported that he had contacted the then Ministry of Social Protection’s Labour Department where a complaint was also lodged. One month thereafter, the matter was resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant. The Ombudsman commended the Ministries of Education and Agriculture; the National Insurance Scheme; the Guyana Police Force; the Guyana Defence Force; and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission for promptly replying to the correspondences and for their cooperation. (Extracted from the Department of Public Information)


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