The ombudsman institutions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have lend their support to the drafting of a law for an ombudsman in Aruba. They travelled to Aruba to share their experiences and talk to several respresentatives of the government. The legislative proposal which will clear the way for the establishment of an ombudsman’s office on Aruba is currently before the island’s parliament, known as ‘the States’. The National Ombudsman and his colleagues from Curaçao, Mr. Keursly Concincionand and Sint Maarten, Mrs. Dr Nilda Arduin, visited Aruba at the invitation of the States to explain the role and significance of the institute to officials and the general public.
The delegation met with the Governor of Aruba, the Minister-President and other key officials. The three gave presentations to both houses of parliament and the heads of the various government departments, who showed much interest and asked many constructive questions about the institute and its working methods. They went on to give a public lecture in which they explained the various aspects of their work.
Sint Maarten has had an ombudsman since 2010. Curaçao adopted the system in 2002. The National Ombudsman in the Netherlands exists since 1982. There has been cooperation between the institutes in the past. During their presentations, the ombudsmen shared their experiences. Nilda Arduin described the process of setting up the institute. Keursly Concincion spoke about what the office of ombudsman means to a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Reinier van Zutphen spoke about the thirty-year history of the National Ombudsman’s office in the Netherlands, as well as his recent work on the island of Bonaire.
An Ombudsman for Aruba
If all goes to schedule, the first staff of the new Ombudsman’s office on Aruba will start work in early 2016. They will make the necessary preparations for the appointment of the Ombudsman himself (or herself) at a later date. Every possible support has been promised by the ombudsmen from elsewhere in the Kingdom. The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs will oversee the administrative arrangements.
The meeting on Aruba provided an opportunity to discuss ways in which the three ombudsmen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands could intensify their cooperation. They agreed to hold further regular meetings, beginning in June 2016 when they will gather in Sint Maarten.