Monday February 2, 2009

His Excellency the Governor David Pearey announced that Mr. Elton Georges is the Territory’s first Complaints Commissioner during a brief ceremony at the Premier’s Office this morning.

The Complaints Commissioner, sometimes called the Ombudsman, offers to the public a channel for raising complaints about maladministration in the public service and statutory bodies.

“From time to time we have the opportunity to add to these institutions for the betterment of the overall quality of Government in this Territory.

One such opportunity arose last year with the appointment of the Registrar of Interests.

Today marks another such occasion,“ the Governor said.

“Clearly some mechanisms already exist for registering such complaints through the media, elected representatives or direct to the department in question.

But other countries have found that an Ombudsman, with his powers to investigate complaints thoroughly and independently, offers an unparalleled ability to get to the heart of any shortcomings within the public sector,” the Governor added.

The appointment was endorsed by Premier Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE who cited Mr. George’s achievements and characteristics as those desirable of a person to serve in that capacity.

“Who but you Mr. Elton M. Georges, OBE, CMG could be appointed to this very important position as called for in Sections 110 and 111 of the Virgin Islands Constitution Order 2007.

Your educational training and the many years experience in the public service qualify you to hold this position and I had no difficulty whatsoever when I was consulted by His Excellency the Governor in accordance with Section 110 (2) of the Constitution Order 2007 in agreeing that you should be appointed Complaints Commissioner.

Mr. Georges in responding to his appointment concluded his remarks by saying, “I look forward very much to engaging the challenge of starting up this office on the right foot and of handing it over to a qualified successor before too long.

I pledge Your Excellency and Honourable Premier to carry out this task without fear or favour or malice to the best of my ability as I have striven to do in my past assignments.”

Mr. Elton Georges is no stranger to the public service having served as the Territory’s longest serving Deputy Governor before his retirement in 2008 and after a long and successful career as a public servant in varying capacities.

The Complaints Commissioner is a constitutional post appointed by the Governor acting on his or her discretion.

Among other things the Complaints Commissioner is responsible for reporting on the complaints considered, including a summary of how they have been resolved, the Commissioner’s findings and the recommendations made; appointing mediators where necessary to help resolve disputes; promoting public awareness of the role of the Complaints Commissioner and encouraging all public officers and public authorities to respond constructively and helpfully to complaints made directly to them as outlined by the Complaints Commissioner Act of 2003.