Monday 26th June 2023.

June 25, 2023


The Electoral Tribunal (TE) has defined the venues for two of the three presidential debates that will be held ahead of the general elections on May 5, 2024.

The first presidential debate is scheduled to be held in the Dome of the Dr. Harmodio Arias Madrid university campus, of the University of Panama (UP) , on February 21 of next year.

While the third debate will take place on April 17, 2024 at the Anayansi Theater of the Atlapa Convention Center. Like every five years, this debate, which is the last, will be organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) and the TE.

In this sense, this yesterday, the business union called on various sectors of the country to a series of dialogues to strengthen the Country Agenda 2024-2029, which will be presented in the coming days.

This call is addressed to political parties, pre-candidates and candidates for free application, unions, associations, academics and civil society in general.

Once the third and last presidential debate, managed by the Cciap and the TE, is over, the document with the Country Agenda 2024-2029 will be delivered to the pre-candidates.

In its weekly letter, Cciap highlights that the idea is to identify, through an exhaustive analysis, proposals and initiatives that promote quality education, health and well-being, employment and incentives for entrepreneurship.

It also seeks to find solutions to address excessive bureaucracy, accountability, transparency and the strengthening of justice, as well as water and sustainability, among other relevant issues.

At the time, the magistrate of the TE, Eduardo Valdés Escoffery , director of the General Election Plan, pointed out that the third debate will be enriched with the Cciap Country Agenda and the Centennial Pact, documents that include thousands of citizen proposals for the solution of national problems.

The TE has not yet defined the place where the second debate will be held. What Valdés Escoffery did advance, in an interview, is that the debate will be aimed at young people, so the act may possibly take place in a school or gym.

As part of the massive vaccination at the national level, the Health teams continued this weekend the immunization day against influenza and other viruses.

Yesterday, personnel from the Ministry of Health (Minsa) set up a vaccination post in the vicinity of Mirador del Pacífico, on the Cinta Costera, to continue with the application of doses of influenza and the bivalent vaccine against covid-19.

“We are seeing that the population is becoming more important at this time due to deaths caused by influenza viruses, which currently reaches a total of 17,” said Yitzel Arcia, nurse in charge of yesterday’s vaccinations on the Cinta Costera.

Arcia said that of the 17 deaths, 11 were men. In addition, 88% of these cases have been high-risk people, with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity. At the same time, she said that of that total, 13 did not have an influenza vaccine.

For this vaccination day on the Cinta Costera, close to 1,000 influenza vaccines and 150 bivalent doses against covid-19 were available.

Arcia reiterated the importance of getting vaccinated, since in case of contracting the disease it prevents the person from entering a hospital room and reduces the risk of death.

The scene was like something out of a movie: 25 people lying face down on one of the beaches in the town of Pacora , each one with a shovel by their side, while they were guarded by agents of the National Police.

It wasn’t just any beach. It was the Panama Bay wetland, which was declared a protected area in February 2015, due to its importance for migratory birds, the country’s fishing and the biodiversity of the Pacific Ocean.

Already in June 2015, four months after the Panama Bay wetland was declared an ecological reserve, La Prensa reported that sand and stone traffickers had taken over valuable beaches in Pacora, which should be preserved.

Law 1 of 2015 , by which the Panama Bay wetland is declared a protected area, prohibits “removal, felling, clearing, filling, extraction and any other activity that affects the hydrological flow of mangroves.”  Now, eight years later, everything indicates that this illegal activity continued all this time in development in the corregimiento section.

Elmer Caballero, head of the National Directorate of the Environmental, Rural and Tourist Police (Dinapart) of the National Police, in an interview with La Prensa , explained that there were about eight months of work, between intelligence work and the judicial part.

“The Public Ministry was informed five months ago and the investigation began.He pointed out that 25 people were apprehended and six trucks were detained,”.

Caballero was asked if he has information about who owns these trucks and what the cost of the extracted material was, but he preferred not to give more details because it is part of the investigation. However, he made it clear that there is a “business” behind which there are organized groups operate, as is the case with illegal logging.

Eight years ago, this La Prensa was able to verify that the business with the sand in the natural reserve was generating thousands of dollars for the owners of sand, concrete and truck quarries, as well as for the residents of the eastern area of ​​the capital, which includes the corregimientos of Pacora, 24 December, Tocumen, Las Mañanitas and Pedregal. During a day of touring the area, some 30 trucks were observed entering and leaving that beach. Then the vehicles were followed to where they delivered to, concrete factories, hardware stores and private homes, the materials they carried

To get an idea, the price of each cubic yard of sand ranges between 43 and 48 dollars, depending on the trade, and each truck can transport between 14 and 16 cubic yards per trip, which at the end of the day can translate into thousands of dollars. daily if you make several trips.

The Brazilian company Odebrecht played a new card within the appeal process that it filed before the Administrative Court of Public Procurement (TACP), against the administrative resolution of the contract for the construction of the new passenger terminal issued by Tocumen SA, on September 28 of 2021.

The contractor filed an appeal for annulment so that magistrate Luis Mariscal does not accept the report prepared by the experts appointed by Tocumen on the state of the new terminal, and the causes that were the reason for the delays in the work. Works that began in 2013, and which have not been completed to date.

The TACP had ordered the experts appointed by Odebrecht and Tocumen to carry out an inspection of the 116,000-square-meter building, as well as to review the documents related to the work to resolve a series of questions related to the payment schedule made by the airport throughout the duration of the contract, since the Brazilian company maintains that one of the reasons that prevented it from meeting the construction deadlines was precisely late payments. The experts also had to demonstrate from when Tocumen began to operate the new terminal, and if the pending works affected the operation of the air terminal.

The procedure was carried out on May 18 and the experts were to deliver their reports on June 14 at the TACP offices. According to Court records, the experts from Odebrecht and the airport delivered the documentation on the designated date; however, the legal representatives of the Brazilian company ensure that the technicians appointed by the airport delivered the part of the report on June 14 and that it wasn’t until the next day that they completed the paperwork.

Additionally, Odebrecht indicates in its appeal for annulment that José Ramón Icaza, appointed by Tocumen, did not personally deliver the report to the TACP and that it was a third party who carried out the process, which in the opinion of the defense of the Brazilian company, breaches the public procurement regulations. In addition to ensuring that the expert did not personally deliver his report, Odebrecht denounces that he was not in the country, and that the signature that appears on the document is digital.

To support its nullity argument, Odebrecht asks Judge Mariscal to review the Court’s surveillance cameras, and requested that it be reviewed with the National Immigration Service, whether Icaza was in the country on the date the report was issued. delivered. He also asks that the Panama Public Registry be consulted if the expert is certified to use a digital signature in legal processes.

This is the second appeal that Odebrecht has filed against the experts appointed by Tocumen. Previously, the company had rejected the appointment of Icaza and José Ángel Hidrogo, as it claimed that both had participated in proceedings related to the appeal process filed against the administrative resolution of the contract. After analyzing the appeal, the TACP rejected the company’s arguments and swore in the experts appointed by the airport.

The Costa Rican authorities handed over to Panama on Friday, June 23, a man named Guerra Cervantes, who was wanted by Interpol for two femicides.

The Costa Rican Ministry of Public Security (MSP) reported that the man of Panamanian nationality was located by the Professional Immigration Police in the town of Sabalito, near the border with Panama, when he was trying to enter the country irregularly.

“Having been located entering the country through an unauthorized sector, the officers proceeded to carry out the respective rejection process through the Paso Canoas immigration post, being handed over to the Panamanian police authorities,” detailed a statement from the MSP.

Guerra Cervantes has a red alert from the International Police (Interpol) for two femicides and an active arrest warrant in Panama.

“International cooperation between countries is vital to strengthen our rule of law, and this action by the Professional Migration Police is circumscribed in this sense,” said the Minister of Security of Costa Rica, Mario Zamora.



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