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Complaints Commission takes legal effect August 1

Providenciales, 15 Jul 2015 – The final institution for protecting good governance will be established officially come August 1, 2015… the Governor has moved to see the Complaints Commissioner in full legal operation in a matter of weeks. Cynthia Astwood had been introduced since last September as the head of this constitutional body.
“We are an independent body; as an independent body our decisions are final.”

Along with six others, which includes the Integrity Commission, Director of Public Prosecutions, Human Rights Commission and the Supervisor of Elections, the Complaints Commission is a tenant of good governance with the mandate to investigate any action taken by a public body, including: grievances and conflicts in the workplace; performance issues, discrimination; harassment; corruption; maladministration, such as delays, bias, negligence, abuse of power, failing to give reason for a decision, not following through on a commitment and has the powers of a magistrate. When questioned on the necessity of this office, Astwood who had to meet certain qualifications including not being a former member of the House of Assembly explained.

“That is there to protect good governance, and to ensure that Public Servants and other persons have other avenues to go to in case they have a concern or they feel they have not been fairly dealt with or an area needs more investigation to be carried out.”

In that March interview, Mrs. Astwood added the commission is not set up to fire people from their jobs or functions in government but it is empowered to enter or inspect any Government office; the focus would be more in line with bringing resolution to complaints. While there is a full office set up in Grand Turk, Astwood said a significant goal for her is to establish a Providenciales place where a deputy Complaints Commissioner would take cases from Provo, North and Middle Caicos. There are some limitations for the Commission as explained in a news release from the Governor’s Office: “The Commission cannot investigate complaints about the Governor, Cabinet, House of Assembly, Justices, Magistrates, the Police or Chief Auditors, because separate complaints arrangements are in place.”

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