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“OM’BUDS’MAN” = Charge, Commission, Task

How did the concept start?
Borrowing the idea from Turkey, the Swedish King appointed a high level official in 1712 to keep an eye on royal courtiers whilst he travelled – this evolved into the first fully independent modern Ombudsman in 1809. The idea has mushroomed in the last 30 years – today there are 112 national Ombudsmen throughout the world. In Bermuda, the office was established by the Constitution and is governed by the Ombudsman Act 2004. Our first Ombudsman was appointed August 1, 2005 by the Governor after consultation with the Premier who first consulted with the Opposition Leader.

How do Public Authorities respond?
Most Public Authorities appreciate that the Ombudsman helps to make public services more effective. She also protects public servants from frivolous complaints.

It is an offence to mislead, omit information or otherwise obstruct the Ombudsman’s inquiries.

Dr. Nelson Mandela stated in 2000:
“It was to me never reason for irritation but rather a source of comfort when these bodies were asked to adjudicate on actions of my government and office and judged against it. One of the first judgments of our Constitutional Court, for example, found that I, as President, administratively acted in a manner they would not condone. From that judgment my government and I drew reassurance that the ordinary citizens of our country would be protected against abuse, no matter from which quarters it would emanate. Similarly, the Public Protector [Ombudsman] had on more than one occasion been required to adjudicate in such matters.”

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14 Dundonald Street West
Hamilton, HM 09 Bermuda
Tel: (441) 296-6541
Fax: (441) 296-7734