In late November 2016, the National Ombudsman of the Netherlands, Reinier van Zutphen, and the Ombudsperson for Children, Margrite Kalverboer, will pay a working visit to the Caribbean Netherlands. Four staff members of the Office of the National Ombudsman will hold open office hours on the islands of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius to deal with citizens’ complaints. The Ombudsperson for Children will talk to children and young people on the islands to hear from them how they experience their lives, and the things that could be improved to make their lives better. Children and young people with complaints can submit these during the open office hours of the National Ombudsman.
Since 2010 the National Ombudsman has been directly handling the complaints that residents of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba have about the government and government services. Today the Ombudsman is publishing the reports of a number of notable investigations, including the investigation into a complaint about poor Internet access at Gwendoline van Putten School on Sint Eustatius. The Ombudsman asked the Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations a number of questions about this matter.
He also sent a letter to the aforementioned Minister and to the Public Body of Sint Eustatius about a case involving missing pension funds, which resulted in the loss of accrued pension entitlements for officials who worked for the government prior to 2010. Today the Law Enforcement Council is publishing a report about the handling of complaints within the justice system of the Caribbean Netherlands. The National Ombudsman contributed to this investigation.
In response to four specific complaints, the National Ombudsman has also started an investigation into the problems encountered by residents of Bonaire when applying for a taxi licence. The conditions for granting such a licence are unclear, and in many cases it takes an extremely long time before the Public Body of Bonaire responds to a licence application.
The Ombudsperson for Children, Margrite Kalverboer, is visiting the Caribbean Netherlands from 17 to 24 November as part of her ‘Children’s Right Tour’. The Ombudsperson has talked to hundreds of children and young people in the European Netherlands since September. Of course, she would also like to hear from all children and young people on Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius how they are doing, and how they believe their lives can be improved. The Ombudsperson has therefore created an online survey for children aged 8 to 18. She will use the results of this survey and of the working visit to the Caribbean Netherlands to determine her priorities in the coming year. Ms Kalverboer will also visit a number of schools and youth welfare organizations.