Justice Evan Rees

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Justice Evan ReesMR. JUSTICE EVAN REES was the first Ombudsman of Trinidad and Tobago, serving in the Office from 1977 to 1991.

Excerpt taken from 1st Annual Report of Ombudsman Evan Rees)

“On July 26th, 1977, I was appointed Ombudsman of Trinidad and Tobago as from the date of the assumption of duty. I was due for vacation leave and had already been named to represent the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago at the Eighth World Peace Through Law Conference for Judges to be held in Manila. I therefore took the opportunity to utilize some of my time in obtaining first-hand knowledge of this new office by meeting and exchanging views with those who had some experience in this field in several countries on my way to and from Manila where complaint-handling mechanisms had been established to deal with complaints against Government. Among the visits I made where to the Japanese Civil Liberties Commission and Civil Liberties Bureau in Tokyo, the UMELCO office in Hong Kong, the Central Vigilance Commission and the Commission for Public Grievances in India, the Malaysia Public Complaints Bureau and the Corrupt Practices Investigations Bureau in Singapore. I also held discussions with the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and the Local Commissioner for Local Government in England and other officials of their respective offices. I am strongly of the view that there is need for the Ombudsman and senior members of his staff to visit other countries where the Ombudsman concept has been introduced and is working successfully particularly as this office is in its embryonic stages.

On December 5, 1977, I retired from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court and on the following day assumed duty by taking and subscribing the oath of office before the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Sub-section 5 of section 96 requires the Ombudsman to make annual reports on the performance of his functions to Parliament. In pursuance of that section I have much pleasure in submitting to Parliament this report with statistics of the complaints received and the results of my investigations over the period December 6, 1977 to December 5, 1978. I regret the delay in presenting the report but this is due to circumstances over which I had no control.”

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