Monday 31st October 2022.

October 31, 2022


The Foreign Minister of Panama, Janaina Tewaney, called for the global and universal standards that keep Panama on discriminatory lists to be discussed. Tewaney participated in the third meeting of CELAC-EU Foreign Ministers, which took place in Buenos Aires (Argentina), on October 27. In that meeting, the Panamanian Foreign Minister emphasized the commitment that Panama has in the fight against money laundering, tax evasion and the financing of terrorism. She affirmed that, despite the enormous efforts to exclude discriminatory lists that affect development and economic growth and the attraction of investments in Panama, they insist on keeping us on the lists “based on standards created in organizations in which even some of its members maintain an opacity that could facilitate evasion and are not forceful in either preventing or prosecuting this type of activity.” “We are concerned that the treatment is not equal,” she remarked. For this reason, “from this rostrum I make a responsible call for global and universal standards to be discussed in this matter, in truly participatory and inclusive forums,” she added. Panama continues being kept the gray list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) of countries with deficiencies in the fight against money laundering, although it has advanced and already complies with 12 of the 15 actions that were established by the organization. This was announced on October 21, by FATF President Raja Kumar, after a plenary session held in Paris.

The situation in the Social Security Fund (CSS), especially in the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex, where most of the population of Panama City is cared for, is “serious.” This was recognized on, Saturday, by the entity’s director, Enrique Lau Cortés. On October 20, CSS administrative workers, including those from the Department of Domestic Service, went on strike demanding salary increases, which is negatively affecting the final disposal of garbage and hazardous waste. In fact, in an interview, Lau Cortés stressed that the current scenario is that there is an accumulation of garbage and waste resulting from hospital activities, which threatens the health of patients, users, visitors and staff working in these hospitals. installations.Lau even warned that the work stoppage could generate a health crisis in the Arnulfo Arias Madrid Hospital Complex. In the words of the director of the CSS, the complex has not been disinfected (something that must be done daily). Yesterday, the protest was in its 10th day. “What they [the workers] do is a crime because a large population has not been served. We have stopped doing 60% of the scheduled surgeries,” he said. In relation to the risk of a health crisis, he maintained that it is a possible reality that was also alerted by the Ministry of Health (Minsa), through a note that it sent this week to the Ombudsman’s Office. The note to which the director of the CSS refers was sent on October 26 by the Minister of Health, Luis Francisco Sucre, to the Ombudsman, Eduardo Leblanc, in which he indicates that the situation in the Complex Hospitalario Arnulfo Arias Madrid as a result of the strike maintained by the administrative staff it puts “population and environmental public health at risk.” Data provided by the CSS detail that the hospital complex currently cares for some 504 hospitalized patients, distributed as follows: 244 in the clinical hospital wards, 175 in the surgical hospital wards, 26 under observation, 21 in semi-intensive and 38 in intensive care. To get an idea, around 2,700 people are seen daily in the outpatient service, including emergency services, outpatient consultation, laboratory, blood donation, radiology studies, treatments, control appointments and pharmacy, which have been directly and indirectly affected. “Without thorough cleaning of rooms, beds, stretchers, wheelchairs, devices, enclosures and sensitive areas, it is difficult to provide a healthy environment like the one that the insured and health personnel deserve,” says Alex González, executive director National Health Services and Benefits of the CSS. Currently, the Ombudsman’s Office is a mediator in a dialogue table that was installed last Friday, between CSS and administrative authorities, although in that first meeting there were no agreements. The next appointment is expected to be on November 9.The CSS administrators claim for the “non-compliance” of the scheduled salary increase for the years 2020 and 2022, which are established in Agreement 1 of July 24, 2015. Luis Lee, general secretary of the National Association of Administrative Officials of the CSS (Anfacss), calculated that the strike is supported by 16,000 administrative workers, both in offices and in maintenance and general services. “They say that they can only comply with what the law establishes, so we expect them to comply with the law,” Lee pointed out, regarding the 2015 labor agreement. Regarding the consequences of the work stoppage, such as the accumulation of garbage, the union leader believed that the CSS administration wants to evade responsibility with the administrative workers, arguing a health crisis. “It is true that the Fund must guarantee biosafety and health to patients, but it must also be responsible with the rights acquired with its most important asset, which is its human resource,” concluded the Anfacss secretary.

The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) called on the Government to respond with actions that help build trust. This, in order to “continue generating investment in the country, and strengthening our rule of law.” Through the Sunday column La Cámara Opina , the Chamber recalled that in the month of July 2019, the Panamanian Consumer Confidence Index marked one of its historical confidence levels with 129 points. However, three years later this index has fallen to the lowest levels of mistrust that have been recorded since this measurement was conducted in the Cciap –fifteen years ago– marking 61 points. The Cciap indicated that although this five-year period has faced historical difficulties, it is also true that exceptional opportunities arise from great crises, “which we must be able to identify and take advantage of.” “To build trust, courageous decisions and actions are needed, like some that have been taken in the past, since today we cannot afford less than this,” they stressed.

A former official of the Public Ministry (MP) was charged with the alleged commission of the crime against the public administration, in the form of theft of firearms, and against public faith, for falsehood. On Saturday, two different hearings were held on this case, where judges José Félix Sánchez and Eybis Jaén endorsed the requests made by the prosecutors, also ordering the provisional detention measure for the former official. Through an ex officio investigation by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, it was established that the former official, who worked as an operational assistant in the MP, forged signatures of deputy and circuit prosecutors. Likewise, the person is accused of using the institution’s seals to remove firearms and ammunition that were in the Center for the Custody of Assets and Warranted Funds of the MP. The Attorney General’s Office ordered the dismissal of this official, who was apprehended on Friday morning. According to the entity, investigations continue to establish the possible involvement of other people in the case.

The plenary session of the Supreme Court of Justice declared legal the precautionary measures applied to Linda Gesto Johnson, a personal friend of former President Ricardo Martinelli and one of those involved in the Odebrecht case. In the world of Odebrecht bribes, Gesto Johnson was known by the pseudonym “Periquito Uno.” She is one of the 49 people accused of the alleged money laundering commission and, therefore, has a precautionary measure to prevent her from leaving the country.With this decision, recorded in Edict 1429, of October 14, but made public last Thursday, the Court rejected a habeas corpus appeal that Gesto presented, through the lawyer Alma Cortés, who  sought to dismiss a decision of the Third Court Liquidator, who had already denied suspending this precautionary measure. At that time, the court determined that there is evidence that links her to the punishable act, according to article 222 of the Criminal Procedure Code. According to the tax hearing of the case, a document read last September in the middle of the preliminary hearing of the process, it is established that Gesto Johnson was one of the four personal friends of Martinelli who received money from Odebrecht, through companies such as Ample Power . André Rabello, former mayor of the Brazilian construction company in Panama, told the prosecution that he opened accounts for the four women to transfer funds as “family support”, at the request of Martinelli himself. On September 27, at the preliminary hearing of the case, Cortés assured that there is no evidence that the money that his client spent on credit cards came from any illicit activity.

The Drive throughs where swabs are carried out, specifically those established in the Emilio Royo stadium, Megamall and Rod Carew, will have a special schedule due to the national holidays. Thus, these sites will open on November 2 until 1:00 pm, while from November 3 to 5 they will not provide the service to the population. On November 6 they will continue to be closed to the public due to a fumigation and cleaning process, while on November 7 they will open at normal hours, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., reported the Ministry of Health (Minsa), it’s a statement. On November 10 and 28, the Drive throughs will also be closed for being national days. According to the most recent epidemiological report from the Minsa, which runs from October 16 to 22, 2022, the country reports a cumulative 989,608 cases of covid-19 and 8,506 deaths from this disease. The Minsa reminded the population of the importance of complying with biosecurity measures.



More articles