Newly Appointed Ombudsman Works to Address Backlog and Improve Office Support
An empty office, low morale, and no support staff: that’s what newly appointed Ombudsman, Retired Major Gilbert Swazo, says he encountered when he took office. In February, Swazo was sworn into the post after former Ombudsman Lionel Arzu demitted the office in April 2021. The country was without an ombudsman for almost two years, which resulted in a backlog of matters at the office. Swazo says he has since hired a strong support staff that is working diligently to address matters brought by members of the public.
Major H Gilbert Swaso, Ombudsman: “We have employed all of the support staff since that time of the support staff since that time namely a legal officer, the investigating officer and the records and research officer and also as secretary those are are very important support staff in fact every one of them it is important to ensure the office is functioning as well as it should. So we’ve now formally established and fully complemented the support staff.”
Reporter: Was there a backlog of complaints within that time of it being vacant if the complaints may have come in is that a case.
Major H Gilbert Swaso, Ombudsman: “Well even where there are complaints one of the things that we did was and we had to have done some strategic planning with a view to sort of ascertain what were the complaints like for the last two years that the office was operating. So we then ascertained that there was an average of anywhere between 95 and 106 cases in the last two years that the office was operating. Since the closing there were several cases that we found so we started to identify cases that were pending and during that same time new cases were also coming in to the office. So the strategic plan certainly helped in sort of ensuring that we do have a proper way forward from this year for the next five years. “