Friday 6th January 2023.
January 6, 2023
The Minister of the Environment, Milciades Concepción, has revealed more details of the latest aspirations of Minera Panamá, when on December 15, last they presented a new proposal with which they intended to modify the environmental agreements agreed since the end of 2021. Until now, the Government had focused on revealing that Minera Panamá’s latest aspiration was to fundamentally change economic aspects, such as the previously agreed royalty regime, but Concepción said this Thursday, that the company also intended that they “be more flexible on some environmental measures in general terms”. “On environmental issues, the company has requested some changes, but we are not going to give in,” said the official as he left the Cabinet Council held this Thursday morning, on the land adjacent to the Canal Administration building. “They requested more areas to work in the industrial process of the mining company. More land than had already been granted”, Concepción stressed when journalists asked details about the so-called “flexibility”. In the process of agreeing to a new agreement with the mining company, the first issue negotiated was environmental, with 12 agreed points, Concepción recalled. Among other things, Minera Panama had promised to install monitoring stations to monitor water and air quality within the project, giving Panama access to that data in real time. Another of the agreed points was the installation of a permanent office within the project, which will allow the State to supervise the operation of the mine, as well as monitor compliance with environmental regulations. Concepción reiterated in the conversation with the media that “the Government has not given an inch in the environmental agreements.” The official was summoned by the National Assembly on January 10 to discuss this issue. He announced that he is already prepared to answer the questionnaire.
There is still no defined date for the dialogue table by the Social Security Fund (CSS) to be reactivated, after more than a year of it being paralyzed. The general director of the CSS, Enrique Lau Cortés , affirmed that they are waiting for the International Labor Organization (ILO) to come to Panama. “I think they should refine their agenda, that is the path we are on,” he commented. The reason for stopping the discussions in the dialogue by the CSS in December 2021 was to wait for the diagnosis of the IVM by the ILO. Finally, when the report was in the hands of the Government since September 2022, Lau indicated that they needed the body to support the report of the actuarial study, and that they also include scenarios with possible solutions to make decisions to save the exclusively defined benefit pension subsystem, whose reserves run out in 2024. Yesterday morning, consulted by the media, the general director of Social Security did not want to advance dates for the reactivation of the talks that would lead to a reform in the Disability, Old Age and Death (IVM) program.
The ombudsman, Eduardo Leblanc, joined the voices that reject the decrees that regulate the use of beaches, rivers and spas in Panama Oeste and Coclé. Leblanc reported that he will request in writing this Thursday, January 5, the repeal of a decree issued by the Mayor of Antón, in Coclé, on December 28, which establishes a series of rules for “the good use and control of activities” in beach areas, in rivers, lakes and spas. It will also ask the Government of West Panama to repeal the resolution of December 28, that establishes a schedule for access to beaches, rivers, lakes and spas from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It also establishes the prohibition of the entry and consumption of alcoholic beverages and the carrying out of bus rides. According to the Ombudsman, the decree and the resolution “violate the free use and enjoyment of the beaches.” He warned that, if these norms are not repealed, he will go to the Supreme Court of Justice to present an appeal of unconstitutionality.
At the moment, there are three who would dispute the presidential candidacy of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), a group that will hold its primaries on June 11. They are the Vice President of the Republic and Minister of the Presidency, José Gabriel Carrizo; the President of the Assembly, Crispiano Adames, and the former President of the Republic, Martín Torrijos. These three figures, as explained by the Minister of Housing and second vice president of the National Executive Committee of the PRD, Rogelio Paredes, have electoral aspirations and some have been conducting “probes” within the group. The one who would have the greatest support within the PRD, according to Paredes, would be Carrizo, although he announced that to obtain the presidential candidacy, “he must win the primaries.” Paredes declared that he is willing to give his support to Carrizo and that he is not the only one: several “influential” PRD deputies, such as Benicio Robinson and Raúl Pineda, are also with the vice president. Representatives of the corregimiento with whom he has had contact would be added to that list, although Paredes did not provide their names. In addition to the support that deputies and other government officials can give him, Carrizo has the backing of President Laurentino Cortizo. Last November, Cortizo said that any official who wants to participate in the May 2024 elections must resign before January 15 (long before what the Electoral Code dictates ), so Carrizo should then leave the Ministry of the Presidency before that date. He remains Vice President of the Republic, since that position is a popular election. PRD sources confirm that Carrizo’s departure from the Cabinet is imminent.
The rector of the Autonomous University of Chiriquí, (Unachi), Etelvina Medianero de Bonagas , continues under the scrutiny of the authorities, this time through criminal proceedings, for alleged embezzlement. The person in charge of conducting the investigation is the Attorney General of the Nation in charge, Javier Caraballo. In the event that he issues a prosecutor’s hearing with a request to call the rector to trial, the decision must rest with the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice. Although the investigation carried out by the Attorney General’s Office against the rector, for possible direct and joint liability in an alleged patrimonial injury, in the case of “double salary”, which was closed and archived on December 12 by of the Court of Accounts, the case continues before the Public Ministry, since a complaint was also filed in that instance, for these same facts, but to investigate whether a crime against public administration was committed.
Panama appears on the wish list of the 21 luxury and exotic destinations proposed to visit in 2023 by the Bloomberg publication . The platform highlights that in the midst of a panorama of economic recession, inflation and high interest rates, the travel and tourism industry will continue to reactivate and global tourism spending of more than 1.4 trillion dollars is expected that may increase as travel to and from China opens up. The 21 recommended destinations range from paradisiacal Caribbean beaches in St. Lucia, foodie tours in Toronto, Canada, to exploring relics in Madrid, Spain, or diving into modernity in Edinburgh. In the case of Panama City, the international publication qualifies the metropolis as an ideal place for a Jet Set party combined with an urban stay and exotic beaches in Bocas del Toro. In addition to a culinary offer that fuses autochthonous flavors.