Published On: Mon, Nov 29th, 2021

Ombudsmen: Poverty in the Caribbean worrisome

GREAT BAY — The situation regarding poverty in the Caribbean part of the Netherlands seems to be “very worry some.” That was the consensus by these High Counsels of State during their deliberations that was recently held on St. Maarten.

According to St. Maarten Ombudsman Gwendolyn Mussel, she has submitted a report which identified the way people are living and questions what are the standard that government requires for the people. She pointed out that the Ombudsman of the Netherlands concluded a study on the elderly in the Caribbean part of the Netherlands that can be taken over by her office that indicates the state of affairs of the elderly.

She stated that they have given recommendations to government regarding the home repairs program. However, although they were some progress made there are still a number of persons who did not get any help and as a result they are still living under the same deplorable conditions.

She indicated that although it seem like they are fighting “a losing battle” they will continue to fight and bring the situation of the people to the fore. She mentioned that although it is unacceptable for people to live under these conditions it is up to government to decide what should be the standard of living for the people.

It was further stated that although the Ombudsman gives recommendations to government regarding issues, it takes time for them to work on it. “These are some of the problems we have to deal with,” said Mussel. She believes that there should be a sense of urgency with regard to the problems that the elderly in the community face.

National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen in a statement said that the plight of the elderly and children needs to be addressed. He said that the Parliament needs to take their role more seriously and hold government more accountable so that they would be able to solve more of the problems and not look at the Ombudsman as “a critical friend” but an important ally.

“We give recommendations to solve issues and not to make them worst and even when government takes the advice from the Ombudsman they should be a conversation since what is being asked is for the people.