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. Patrick Mark Wellington took the oath of office in accordance with Section 91(5) of the Constitution on May 10, 2018 and commenced the duties of the office on that day, becoming Trinidad and Tobago’s fourth (4th) Ombudsman. He succeeded Ms. Lynette Stephenson, S.C. who served as Ombudsman between 2006 and 2018.
Mr. Wellington, an established attorney with thirty-six (36) years’ experience, attained his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree at the St. Augustine and Cave Hill campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and his Legal Education Certificate (LEC) at Hugh Wooding Law School. He was called to the Bar in 1982. Mr. Wellington entered private practice in civil law in the Chambers of the late Graydon Wellington and subsequently practiced criminal law under the late Desmond Allum, S.C.
In March 1988, he was appointed a Magistrate and dedicated most of his legal career to public service of Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Wellington acted as Deputy Chief Magistrate several times before his substantive appointment in September 2005 until his retirement in April 2016. Throughout his tenure as Deputy Chief Magistrate, he also acted as Chief Magistrate on numerous occasions more particularly, from November 2009 to September 2010. During his time in the Magistracy, he served in every magisterial district throughout Trinidad and Tobago with the exception of La Brea/Point Fortin.
As Ombudsman, Mr .Wellington aspires to provide an effective avenue of redress for the people of Trinidad and Tobago who may feel aggrieved by acts of maladministration meted out by State Agencies.
View the Website of the Office of the Ombudsman here.
(note: this website is not maintained by the Office of the Parliament)