PHILIPSBURG – During a press conference on Thursday with re-appointed Ombudsman Dr. Nilda Arduin, the Ombudsman (OBM) told the media, “A captain never abandons ship during a storm! With this statement I care to introduce my decision for reconsidering to stay on temporarily as OBM, after I publicly bid farewell and paved the way for my successor.
“Pleased and confident about the Selection Committee’s presentation to Parliament to consider appointing the person I have been coaching internally in preparation of the end of my term, I had accepted the request from the Committee to extend the coaching beyond my departure.
“However, when the storms hit our island, being quite conscious of the issues the aftermath will bring, I reconsidered an earlier request on behalf of the Presidium of Parliament to stay on for a second term. This has been honored and accepted under strict agreement that this will be for just a short term to bridge the crisis period; this is a time to put country above self!
“For completeness sake I care to explain that while I have passed the general pensionable age, and made preparations to fully venture into this stage of my life, the maximum age established for an OBM to hold office is set beyond the general pension age, namely to 70 years.
“Considering that it is not clear how long bridging the crisis will take, and the fact that the law does not provide for short term appointments of the OBM, the reappointment is formally for a period of 7 years. The law however provides the possibility for the OBM to retire upon request. This moment will be determined internally with the candidate under training, my team of the Bureau, and subsequently by Parliament.
“Before the question is posed to reveal the name of the person in training, being that the appointment of the OBM is the prerogative of Parliament, I do not consider myself at liberty to do so since Parliament chose not to mention the name.
“Important is that this person has been deemed qualified and the better candidate by the Selection Committee, be it with the observation that some additional coaching is required. This is not strange at all as you may recall that the Selection Committee at the time of my appointment in 2010 head-hunted me, after the five or six candidates at the time were not considered qualified for the post. As such I was requested to apply for the position.
“Furthermore, after my colleague in the Netherlands demitted office in 2014, the search for a suitable successor took 13 months. The international standards to assume the responsibilities of the Ombudsman office are set rather high when considering qualifications and experience. As such it proves that the Selection Committee did not cut corners, but followed international standards for the position. The OBM is a HCOS, meaning that it is a body of the State, and represents the country.
“I thank Parliament for its continued confidence in me to lead this distinct and important institute for the country, the people of SXM,” Ombudsman Dr. Nilda Arduin said on Thursday.