Friday 14th January 2022.

January 14, 2022

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) highlighted the “abrupt” increase in cases of Covid-19 in recent weeks in Panama and that the highest incidence is occurring in the group of 20 to 39 years of age. In its biweekly report, PAHO highlights that in the first Epidemiological Week of 2022, between January 2 and 8, (SE1) 24,441 new cases were reported for a daily average of 3,492. Regarding the incidence of cases, the regional body registers an increase in infections in all age groups from EW 51 (December 19 to 25, 2021) to EW 1 (January 2 to 8, 2022). For example, the group of 20 to 39 years old reports 803.3 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, for an increase of 527.6%; the group from 40 to 59 reaches 690.2 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants, for an increase of 514%; and those under 20 years of age with 270.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which represented an increase of 390.4%. It is noteworthy that in the rest of the groups there was a slight increase.

The plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) declared vacant this Thursday, the positions of 266 district and circuit public defenders and defenders of crime victims. This measure was adopted through agreements No. 23 and No. 25 of Thursday and seeks to fill the charges through the procedures established through the Judicial Career. The measure covers 193 circuit public defenders, 2 district public defenders and 71 crime victim defenders.

Bill 401, which creates six districts in the province of Coclé, was approved in the third debate, in the virtual session of the plenary session of the National Assembly . These are the corregimientos Las Minas, Bocas de Tucué, San Miguel, Riecito, Candelario Ovalle and General Victoriano Lorenzo. The initiative, which now passes to the Executive, was presented by the PRD deputy, Daniel Ramos. According to the deputy, to these remote communities “few authorities arrive and when they do it is due to extreme or very temporary situations.”

The ten best paid mayors in Panama represent an expense to the treasury of $ 1,159,416 per year. The bulk of the figure ($ 738 thousand 516) corresponds to emoluments such as: mobilization expenses, representation expenses and allowances. Salaries imply an outlay of about $ 420,900 per year, which represents 36% of the total. La Prensa drew up a list of the 10 highest paid mayors in the country, based on figures from the Comptroller’s Office. These are amounts ranging from $ 7,350 to 12,250 per month. There are four mayors who earn more than $ 10,000, earn more than the President of the Republic and the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice. They are: the one from Panama, José Luis Fábrega ($ 12,250); the one from Arraiján, Rollyns Rodríguez ($ 10,850); that of Colón, Rolando Alex Lee ($ 10 thousand 750); and that of San Miguelito, Héctor Valdés Carrasquilla ($ 10 thousand 550). All of them earn more than the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, a figure who manages one of the largest cities in Europe (3.3 million inhabitants). Martínez-Almeida earns € 108,517 annually. That works out to $ 124,250, based on yesterday’s exchange rate. In other words, he receives $ 10,345 per month.

A complaint against the mayor of Arraiján, Rollyns Rodríguez , and eight representatives of corregimientos, due to the increase in mobilization expenses, was filed this Thursday, before the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor of the Public Ministry (MP) . The appeal was filed by the lawyer and general secretary of the Project 2000 Movement of Arraiján, Abdiel González Tejeira, who argued that Rodríguez, together with the eight councilors, must face a process for the alleged commission of the crime of embezzlement of use. “I ask the prosecution to raid the Municipality of Arraiján and the eight community boards,” he said.

The magistrate of the Spanish National Court Santiago Pedraz will come to Panama to take statements from several witnesses, including two former ministers. Pedraz is in charge of the investigation related to the alleged payment of bribes to sign contracts in the country between 2010 and 2017 of the Spanish state company, Mercasa, which manages, through multi million dollar  contracts with the State, the network of national markets. According to the Spanish digital newspaper Voz Populi , Pedraz will arrive in Panama between January 24 and 28, to interview a series of witnesses for the case, among them, the former Minister of the Presidency – under the mandate of former President Ricardo Martinelli, ( 2009-2014)– Demetrio Papadimitriu and the former Minister of Commerce and Industries –under the presidency of Juan Carlos Varela Melitón Arrocha, who also served as Panama’s ambassador to the United Nations Organization.

The administration of the Tocumen International Airport detailed this Thursday, January 13, that during 2021 a total of 9,163,998 passengers passed through the air terminal. According to Tocumen, SA, this number of passengers is linked to the fact that in the second half of 2021 the rate of recovery of operations and user traffic was maintained, with substantial increases in the national holiday and year-end seasons. Tocumen International Airport is among the top ten hub airports in the world and rose from 20th in 2019 to 7th in 2021 and is considered the Latin American airport with the highest proportion of international connections globally.

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