Beautiful Virgin Islands

Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

Complaints Commission needs more power

Complaints Commission needs more power

Talk show host Karia Christopher has posited that the Office of the Complaints Commission should be given more powers as this could help the public to understand some of the issues affecting the public sector.
The Office of the Complaints Commission was established as an independent body that investigates grievances that members of the public bring against government agencies.

During a discussion on her Real Talk programme, Christopher said these investigations could unearth some issues affecting government departments that often result in maladministration or poor service.

“I think the public service gets unfairly labled in a lot of ways and it very much pains my heart. The limitations a lot of the government departments get, you cannot do better — lack of staff, lack of funding, and a lack of a lot of stuff. There are so many other factors,” Christopher stated.

While making her point, Christopher pointed out that heads of government departments should be held accountable but stressed that public officers face a lot of obstacles on the job as well as constant public scrutiny.

“Perhaps if I never worked for the (public) service, I would have a lot of the feelings that the public has. But I work there for now and I understand so much of the limitations that public servants feel. On top of having such public scrutiny, on top of having a lot of bashing when there’s not a lot of things you can do personally,” Christopher added.

During the discussion, constitutional review commissioners Noni Georges and Maya Barry pointed out that they have been tasked with reviewing the effectiveness of bodies such as the Office of the Complaints Commissioner that are responsible for holding government accountable.

However, both commissioners said the issue raised by Christopher could be addressed by amending the Complaints Commissioner Act rather than the constitution.

In the meantime, public officers have been facing increased pressure and scrutiny in recent times, especially amid the heightened good governance standards the United Kingdom has mandated for implementation in the BVI.

Some elected leaders have revealed that there are public officers who are afraid to do their jobs because of the increased scrutiny and the fear that they will be reprimanded if they make errors.
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