Complaints Commissioner announces end of term
(CNS): Complaints Commissioner Dr John Epp announced today that he will not accept reappointment as Complaints Commissioner when his five-year term expires in mid-2009. Epp has assisted the Governor’s Office to complete a job description for the post and expects that in due course the job will be advertised. As the first person to hold the position of an ombudsman in the Cayman Islands, Epp established the Office of the Complaints Commissioner (OCC).
He was also responsible for interpreting and applying the Complaints Commissioner Law and relevant laws of the Cayman Islands, and assisted in writing Regulations made to clarify certain matters under the Complaints Commissioner Law (2006 Revision), a release from the OCC says.
As Commissioner, he successfully negotiated a solution with HE the Governor on the question of the OCC’s jurisdiction in police oversight. Epp has also lent his expertise in many special projects, including written submissions on topics of interest for the Attorney General. In establishing the office, he set the tone of professionalism, fairness and independence, thereby gaining the respect of the civil service and the public. He selected, trained and managed staff of the OCC, which has performed difficult tasks to a very high standard.
Over the past four years, the OCC team has completed ten Own Motion investigations (which are instigated by the Commissioner in the public interest), seven Special Reports and 150 investigations arising from suitable written complaints from residents of the Cayman Islands. Moreover, the OCC financial statements and output records are produced and audited in a timely fashion.
“Our goal of establishing a fully functioning office with appropriate systems was met, but this office constantly strives for improvement. In order to better equip our team, we participated in several training programmes, such as the one provided by the Canada’s leading Ombudsman, the Ombudsman of Ontario,” said Epp.
As a result of its performance, the OCC was recognised as important and effective by the press, and in the Cayman Observer 2006 “Review of the Year” the OCC was cited as number 3 in a list of “10 people and organizations that enjoyed a particularly successful year”.
Recently the government of the day wrote in the booklet "The Cayman Islands Constitution: A Reflection of Who We Are: Explanatory Notes": “It is good practice in a democracy to provide independent checks on the efficiency, fairness and integrity of all our institutions. Caymanians have seen that the creation of the office of the Complaints Commissioner has had a profound effect in investigating government agencies whose practices contravene the principles of fairness, efficiency and good administration.”
Epp, who is not stating his future plans at this time, said, “Reflecting on these early years of operation of the OCC brings a feeling of optimism for the perpetual success of this institution locally. Our efforts to establish credibility within the community continued to show positive results.” He also stated, “ I am very satisfied with the result of my tenure as Commissioner.”
The OCC team is made up of Susan Duguay, Scott Swing, Barrie Quappe, Bridgette von Gerhardt and Claudine Williams-Simons.
The OCC is located on the 2nd floor, 202 Piccadilly Centre, Georgetown, Grand Cayman, phone number (345) 943 2220. The website is www.occ.gov.ky.
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