University of London graduate reappointed as Trinidad and Tobago's Ombudsman

Lynette Stephenson attributes a rise in the number of complaints to population growth and growing socio-economic inequality
Trinidad and Tobago's Ombudsman Lynette Stephenson
Trinidad and Tobago's Ombudsman and University of London LLB graduate, Lynette Stephenson
Working in this area requires an eye for detail, good research skills, a commitment to justice and an ability to manage time effectively. The LLB programme contributed to my development in these areas

University of London graduate, Lynette Stephenson, has just been reappointed as Trinidad and Tobago's Ombudsman. The Ombudsman service is the final step in the complaints system, giving people an independent and last resort way to get their complaints resolved.

“This service is meant to ensure that the powers of government departments are exercised with reasonableness and justice,” she explains.

Ms Stephenson, who has a distinguished legal career, gained her University of London LLB in 1974. She chose to attend the University of London because it is a highly respected institution internationally. This was important as she sought to establish her career in law.

“Skills that I gained from studying the LLB remain valuable today.”

“Skills that I gained from studying the LLB remain valuable today. The Office of the Ombudsman exists to ensure that the roles and responsibilities given to Government Ministries and Agencies are exercised within the ambit of the law, reasonably and with justice. Working in this area requires an eye for detail, good research skills, a commitment to justice and an ability to manage time effectively. The LLB programme contributed to my development in these areas.”

Since Ms Stephenson became the Ombudsman in 2006 she has noticed a rise in the number of complaints. She attributes this not only to growth in the population but also “to growing socio-economic inequality which creates an environment where more people are compelled to seek government services. This can be compounded by government bureaucracy becoming more complex.”

Under the Freedom of Information Act the Ombudsman has the power to review the decisions of public authorities when the applicant has been denied access to official documents. Ms Stephenson explains: ”There has been a decrease in the number of cases where people seek help to acquire official documents from public agencies. This is due to the public service culture becoming more open and demonstrating a greater respect for the citizen, and an appreciation of the need for transparency and accountability on the part of government agencies.”

Ms Stephenson wishes to ensure that the services of the Ombudsman can benefit all people and they are aware of these services. The Office has a regular programme of community visits to make it easier for all citizens to receive assistance.

Looking to the future she says: “My vision is that the Office will be reshaped in fundamental ways that will make it more proactive, dynamic and efficient with a service that is constantly adjusting to the evolving needs of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Find out more about studying for a University of London law degree in Trinidad and Tobago:

Event: University of London Undergraduate Laws open afternoon
Date: Saturday 11 April 2015
Time: 2–4pm (doors open at 2pm)
Venue: La Boucan Meeting Room, Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre, Lady Young Rd, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

A presentation on studying for a University of London LLB in Trinidad and Tobago will be given at 2.30pm by Mr Michael Davis, Head of Global Engagement and Development. Attendance is free.