Monday 30th January 2023.

January 30, 2023

The former President of the Republic (2004-2009) and former Secretary General of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Martín Torrijos , assured this Sunday, January 29, that those who lead his party “are more determined to guarantee their interests, than to listen to the voice of the majorities that demand decency and democracy”. His reaction comes after the National Executive Committee (CEN) of the PRD, led by deputy Benicio Robinson and a group of deputies and cabinet ministers of Laurentino Cortizo , issued a resolution in which they exclude 144 deputy positions from primary elections, mayors and corregimientos representatives. Many of these positions are currently held by the same deputies who signed the measure. CEN’s argument is that they intend to reserve those spaces for possible alliances. However, several opposition leaders have said that they have not yet entered into talks of this type with the ruling party. Torrijos had already warned of this scenario on January 22 with a harsh statement to the country, just the day that Robinson made a national directory in Santiago de Veraguas, in which the former president stole the spotlight from the background speaker, the vice president of the Republic, José Gabriel Carrizo. In his social networks Torrijos points out his regret that his words in the sense that “democracy in his party is kidnapped and about to disappear” have been in vain. The former president, who has not yet reported whether he will run as a presidential candidate for the June 11 primaries, pointed out that those responsible for these exceptions “may be called leaders, due to the formality of their position in the PRD, but this does not allow them to use Torrijismo at your convenience to justify the unjustifiable”. He added that “every leader who boasts of being one must have something clear, there is no party that is above the interests of the country and there is no party that can survive without democracy.”

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) warned that in 2023 the Panamanian administration of justice will be put to the test with high-profile cases that are under the scrutiny of the international community. In its weekly letter, the business sector stressed that these cases will demand independence, honesty, transparency, promptness in their actions and adherence to the law. “The Judicial Branch will have to resolve cases long awaited by Panamanians and that have Panama in the magnifying glass of the entire world. Therefore, no less is expected of those who are in charge of such a delicate function, hoping that they make use of all the tools that the Political Constitution and legal norms provide them, so that justice is done in an expeditious time”, it was stated. embodied in the Cciap statement. In 2023, the merits hearings of two high-profile cases are scheduled; one is called New Business and the other Odebrecht . In both, Judge Baloisa Marquínez, of the Second Criminal Case Settlement Court, called the former President of the Republic Ricardo Martinelli (2009-2014) to trial. In addition, in the Odebrecht case, former president Juan Carlos Varela (2014-2019) was also called to trial . The Cciap highlighted that despite the fact that progress has been made in recent years in terms of justice, the country still maintains a National Attorney in charge, awaiting ratification. In addition, questions prevail in the way in which justice is delivered, a situation that generates citizen mistrust and the perception of impunity. “In order to build a real and reliable future for all Panamanians, each of the actors in society must contribute to strengthening our democratic model, one of whose basic components is an accurate, transparent and impartial Justice Administration System. That’s what it’s all about.” The business union recalled the importance of establishing public policies that promote the strengthening of the administration of justice and the rule of law. Likewise, it is stated that this transformation should be aimed at ensuring the transparency of judicial management, which facilitates access to justice, in a timely manner, and encourages accountability.

The Ministry of Public Works (MOP) made changes to the specifications that will be used to contract the maintenance works of the Bridge of the Americas for 5.2 million dollars, after the first call was declared void as no economic proposal was received. The main change is the extension of the projects that can be accredited as experience. Initially, the MOP requested experience in 3 vehicular bridges with a span greater than 100 meters, that is, the space between the main columns was greater than 100 meters in the last 15 years, but now it has been reduced to 50 meters. Additionally, companies will be allowed to accredit projects that are still under construction and not just that they are under repair or maintenance. This change also applies to key personnel within the project such as managers, engineers, among others. The contract covers preventive and corrective maintenance of the rolling, including joints; adequacy of vertical and horizontal signage; adaptation of railings; steel structure inspection; adequacy of the lighting of the bridge. The works had to be carried out within a period of 540 days, about 15 months. In addition to the maintenance work, the contract contemplates that the contractor must make a general report on the conditions of the bridge, including the metallic structure. The Minister of Public Works, Rafael Sabonge, had anticipated that some requirements would be made more flexible, since the interested companies had made specific observations on some of the terms established in the specifications. Proposals will be delivered on February 8.

The National Police announced that, during the past year, it intervened in more than 140 unauthorized parties, activities known as “parking lots”. And, so far in 2023, they has intervened at 15 of these parties, in different sectors of the country. San Miguelito, Arraiján, Don Bosco, San Francisco, Colón, Santa Ana, El Chorrillo, Barraza, Calidonia, Curundú, among others, these are some of the sectors in which such events have been detected. The Police stressed that these clandestine activities are characterized by the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public roads, which disturbs the tranquility of the neighbors and threatens peaceful coexistence, in which acts of violence can be generated. The entity remarked that even in these parking lots, firearms and alleged illegal substances have been confiscated. The police have called on the population to cooperate in maintaining public order.

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