Friday 27th May 2022.

May 27, 2022


The Department of Epidemiology of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) detailed on the afternoon of this Thursday, May 26, that three deaths were reported in the last 24 hours due to covid-19. With these new deaths in the country there is a cumulative of 8,239 deaths as a result of the disease, with a lethality of 1.0%. In Panama, according to the entity’s report, there are 3,951 new cases 16,218 tests were applied for a positivity of 24.4%. There are 30,857 active cases in the country, of which 30,612 are in isolation and 245 hospitalized. Those who are in isolation are divided into 30,563 in their homes and 49 in the so-called hospital hotels. While those hospitalized are 205 in a room and 40 in intensive care units.

After almost two hours of meeting with the President of the Republic, Laurentino Cortizo , the leaders of the Coalition of Unity for Colón (Cuco) stated that they are not satisfied with all the proposals presented by the Government and did not sign the agreement to put end to the strike. Edgardo Voitier, one of the leaders of the group and who participated in the meeting with the president in the Presidency, affirmed that the decision to end the strike is made by the union’s general assembly and that he was not authorized to do so. “We were not satisfied with the government’s proposals on employment. In a province that has 30% unemployment,” said Voitier. “We hope that the government will make moves in that direction,” he added. He also argued that the measure of freezing fuel prices only for freight and public transport is not complete, since it must reach the entire national population that has a vehicle. He stressed that the proposal was not satisfactory. It was reported that the representation of the teachers who participated in the meeting in the Presidency did sign the agreement with President Cortizo.

Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares , sentenced last week to 36 months in prison for conspiring to launder $28 million in Odebrecht bribes, have requested transfer to a low-security prison in Allenwood, Pennsylvania . The transfer request is based on ” the relatively modest time they have left to serve ” and the ” extraordinarily poor ” conditions of the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, where Rica and Luis Martinelli have been detained since they were extradited by Guatemala, at the end of 2021. In the lawyers’ note to Judge Dearie, they allege that their clients “are still locked up 22 hours a day” at the MDC, so they request a transfer to Allenwood, Pennsylvania, “as soon as possible.” Both confessed that the bribes received were for the benefit of their father, former President Martinelli Berrocal. Given these direct accusations, former President Martinelli wrote on his Twitter account: “no comments.”

For the second consecutive day this Thursday, the Court of Honor and Discipline of the Cambio Democrático party (CD) holds a hearing for 15 dissident deputies, accused of transgressing the line of their political group in the National Assembly. Hearings are divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The group is accused of not having followed the party line on July 1, 2021, when they were asked to vote for Rony Araúz as a candidate for the presidency of the National Assembly. For Andrade, who in November 2021 filed the complaint against the deputies, the ruling of the Court of Honor and Discipline will be “forceful” and in his favor. Andrade stated this Wednesday, that the elements against the accused “are solid.”

Ten days after the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) held internal elections to renew its authorities, the Budget Commission of the National Assembly summoned two officials who direct entities in charge of programs that deliver important aid to communities. They are Bernardo Meneses, director of the Institute for Training and Development of Human Resources (Ifarhu) ; and Edward Mosley Ibarra, director of the National Decentralization Authority. Meneses waged a tough battle for the third undersecretary of the powerful National Executive Committee (CEN) of the PRD, with deputy Raúl Pineda, vice president of the commission that summoned him.

The Cabinet Council approved extending the temporary scheme of extraordinary contributions to the Tariff Stabilization Fund (FET) to energy consumption, as part of economic relief due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was reported that the State’s contribution will benefit one million 117 thousand 694 clients. The measure covers customers whose consumption does not exceed 750 KWH per month. Francisco Álvarez, director of Investments, Concessions and State Risks of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, indicated that this extension will benefit 92% of the clients of the companies that offer electricity distribution in the country.

The Minister of Public Works, Rafael Sabonge , said during an appearance at the Public Infrastructure and Canal Affairs Commission of the National Assembly that the objective of the entity is that the work of the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal be resumed in the second half of the year. The fourth bridge was tendered and awarded by the administration of Juan Carlos Varela to the Panama Fourth Bridge Consortium, made up of Chinese companies. At that time, a financing structure was proposed that ultimately did not materialize. Sabonge also commented in the commission that the prequalification document for the tender for the maintenance of the Eastern Pan-American highway, the entity’s first contract under the Public-Private Partnership modality, has already been approved and will be published in the coming days. It is a section between Cañita, Agua Fría and Yaviza, which consists of 247 kilometers. For his part, he said that the work on the project that was called the beach corridor is expected to resume before October. This work, awarded in 2018 and which originally reached San Carlos, was substantially reduced in scope to works in La Chorrera, including a viaduct. Some $140 million remain to be executed from the contract, with a financing plan already approved. According to MOP calculations, it should end in March 2024.

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