Members of the House Of Assembly passed the Ombudsman Bill on Wednesday. The bill establishes the Office of the Ombudsman which will promote transparency and accountability in government as well as protect the rights of citizens.
Among members contributing to the bill was the Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, the Hon. Kwasi Thompson. He took the opportunity to voice opposition to the proposed introduction of a new tax on air freight. ”We also cannot forget the increase that’s coming for National Insurance that will come into effect come July of this year. On another question of maladministration, there is the issue of the $500 million dollar loan that was taken out recently by the Ministry of Finance.”
The Minister of National Security and Member of Parliament for Freetown, the Hon. Wayne Munroe responded to Thompson’s comments saying, “the position of the government and the actual word in the statute is, for the avoidance doubt and it was explained ad nauseam that doubt has arisen because what the government says is fallacious interpretation of the law. And we accept that they have a different position than we do, but to suggest that its done from our part motivated to do that is actually misleading. And where they have a comment that there view is right, I guess one would say thank God that we are putting this gentleman in place or lady in place who can help them try to vindicate all of these. Cause as I say, Mr. Deputy Speaker, the thing about the Ombudsman is you can make a complaint and he can tell you it has merit or her can tell you it has no merit.”
The bill has now moved to the senate for debate.