The Constitution provides for an Ombudsman who is an officer of the Parliament and who is required to hold no other office of emolument nor engage in any occupation for reward than the duties of his office. The Ombudsman is appointed by the President after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and shall hold office for a term not exceeding five years and is eligible for reappointment.
The principal function of the Ombudsman is to investigate complaints of administrative injustice in respect to decisions made or acts done or omitted by a Minister or department or authority of Government. In short, the Ombudsman can best be described as a "grievance person" to whom a citizen can make a complaint with a view to redressing the mistakes, delays, rigidity and carelessness of the government bureaucracy. However, the role of the Ombudsman is an advisory one and the consequence of any investigation he makes can only lead to recommendations and the submission of reports by him to relevant persons, authorities or to Parliament.
The Ombudsman is responsible only to Parliament, to which he makes annual reports on the performance of his functions including statistics of the complaints received and the results of his investigations. The office is non-political.
Mr. Rajmanlal Joseph was appointed the fifth (5th) Ombudsman of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago by Her Excellency Paula Mae-Weeks, ORTT, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Republic Trinidad and Tobago for a period of three (3) years with effect from May 19, 2021. He was administered the Oath of Office by the Honourable Bridgid Mary Annisette-George, MP in accordance with section 91 (5) of the Constitution of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Chap. 1:01 on June, 9th, 2021, before entering upon duties of Office.
Mr. Joseph succeeded Mr. Patrick Mark Wellington who served as Ombudsman from 2018 to 2021.
An established Attorney-at-Law with almost three (3) decades experience in both public and private law, Mr. Joseph attained the following qualifications:
From October 1985 to October 2004, he served as a part-time Tutor and Lecturer in a number of academic courses at the St. Augustine and Cave Hill campuses of the UWI as well as the Academy of Law.
In October 1992, he served as partner in the law firm of Persaud, Maharaj, Joseph and Co. until December 1995.
Mr. Joseph was also appointed Chairman of the Standing Disciplinary Tribunal of the Police Service Commission, Teaching Service Commission and the Public Service Commission for the period September 2006 to February 2009.
In February 2009, he was appointed by the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) as Judge/Chairman of the Equal Opportunity Tribunal of Trinidad and Tobago – a Superior Court of Record. Mr. Joseph heard and determined complaints in relation to various types of discrimination. In this capacity, he was also tasked with the overall responsibility of ensuring the smooth and proper functioning of this institution which he avidly served for a period of eight and a half (8 ½) years until his retirement in September 2017.
From August 2011 to December 2011, Mr. Joseph was appointed by the Honourable Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago as a Member of an independent and impartial tribunal created in accordance with section 11 (1) of the Constitution to review the detention of persons detained under the Emergency Regulations.
Additionally, a short stint of his career was devoted to consultancy services as well as to the publication of an article in ‘The Lawyer,’ a Journal of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago.
View the Website of the Office of the Ombudsman here.