Victoria Pearman, the Ombudsman for Bermuda, was elected the new President of the Caribbean Ombudsman Association (CAROA) at their General Meeting on 13 June.
The CAROA Membership met for the 9th Biennial CAROA Conference on the island of Bonaire 11th–15th, June 2017. The conference was hosted by the Ombudsman of Bonaire (and National Ombudsman of the Netherlands), Mr. Reiner van Zutphen. Topics covered during the conference included the developing role of the Ombudsman, and was followed by the Biennial General Meeting and training sessions facilitated by Queen Margaret University and sponsored by the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI).
A new CAROA Council was also elected at the meeting for a two year term until 30 June 2019: Vice President Mr. Keursly Concincion, Curaçao Ombudsman; Secretary/Treasury Mr. Raymond Mathilda, Secretary General of Curaçao Ombudsman; Dr. Marion Blair, Ombudsman for Antigua and Barbuda; Ms. Sheila Braithwaite, Complaints Commissioner for the Virgin Islands; and Ms. Arlene Harrison-Henry, Public Defender of Jamaica.
Victoria Pearman said that she considered it an honour to have been chosen by her colleagues, “I look forward to working together with colleagues to strengthen CAROA and improve communication, beginning by reactivating its website.”
On behalf of the Council, Ms. Pearman offered her thanks to outgoing President Dr. Rachnilda Arduin, Sint Maarten Ombudsman and Vice President Ms. Cynthia Astwood, Turks & Caicos Islands Complaints Commissioner for their service.
Victoria said that she will work to foster improved communication, cooperation and networking to strengthen the ombudsman institution in the region: “Cooperation and networking by members throughout the region will benefit our communities with increased opportunities for Offices to learn from each other as advocates for fairness in public administration, good governance and best practices.”
Ms. Pearman’s biography can be found on the Ombudsman for Bermuda website.
At the conference a memorandum of understanding was signed by IOI President Mr. Peter Tyndall and outgoing CAROA President Dr. Arduin on behalf of the respective organisations in an effort to champion best practices in the region. More information on the IOI’s participation at the CAROA Conference can be found on their website.
The Director of the Ombudsman Association, Donal Galligan, who also spoke at the CAROA Conference, welcomed Victoria Pearman’s election: “We are currently strengthening the engagement with, and between, our Overseas Members to ensure they benefit fully from their membership of the OA. Victoria’s election as President of CAROA will also facilitate smoother sharing of best practice and experiences between our two associations and between our individual members.”
- The Ombudsman Association’s membership covers the British Overseas Territories, including the Ombudsman for Bermuda, the Complaints Commissioner for the Turks & Caicos Islands, the Complaints Commissioner for the Cayman Islands, and the Gibraltar Public Services Ombudsman.
- Established in 1998, CAROA is a member-based organisation of Ombudsman offices with over 17 members in the Caribbean region. More information can be found on the CAROA website.