Monday 5th June 2023.

June 4, 2023


“With each closure, the productivity of thousands of people is affected: delivery times increase, absences and unnecessary delays are generated in the cycle of each agricultural, commercial, industrial activity, and the rest of the service activities that make up our economy.”

This was underlined by the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap), in its usual Sunday column, where it refers to the recent street closures registered at the national level.

In previous days, dump truck drivers protested to reject an online quote made by the Urban and Home Cleaning Authority; The same was done by members of the Fire Department in demand for salary improvements and the purchase of new equipment.

“At times when we all need a vigorous economy that generates jobs and opportunities, each street closure takes us a little further from the reactivation and generation of jobs,” stresses the Cciap.

Every time this happens devastating damages are recorded for the national economic activity, especially for thousands of micro and small companies, and thousands of Panamanians who see their lives severely affected.

From the Cciap, “we demand a sense of urgency on the part of our authorities in the face of this type of irresponsible action. In the same way, we claim the full weight of the Law for those who interrupt and affect the well-being of our citizens”, the organization concludes.

The polling stations for the Realizando Metas (RM) party primaries closed at 4:00 pm this Sunday.

The Electoral Tribunal (TE) , which oversees the funds and organizes these internal elections, reported that no major incidents were reported. After the polls closed, the TE began with the dissemination of the vote count live, through the Unofficial Transmission of Results (TER) system. Likewise, they proceeded with the burning of unused ballot papers.

These votes were carried out in 513 centers distributed throughout the country. A total of 655 tables were enabled, which opened at 7:00 am. There were no surprizes.

Ricardo Martinelli was elected this Sunday, as the presidential candidate of the Realizando Metas (RM) party, in primaries with a 25% turnout.

At about 5:25 pm, the director of the Electoral Organization of the Electoral Tribunal (TE) , Osman Valdés, made a formal call to Martinelli to inform him that he had won the internal elections according to the unofficial results.

By that time, 75% of the polling stations had already been scrutinized. “I congratulate the magistrates and the Court for such an efficient count,” Martinelli said in a video call.

Realizando Meta (RM), the political party founded and chaired by the former President of the Republic, Ricardo Martinelli, is in talks with the now-Ofialist Movimiento Liberal Republicano Nacionalista (Molirena) to forge an alliance for the elections on May 5, 2024.

Luis Eduardo Camacho, general secretary of RM and spokesman for Martinelli, revealed this Sunday June 4 in Telemetro Reporta that his political group reserved five positions for Molirena.

Molirena is currently an ally of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), so if Camacho’s information is confirmed, this would be the end of the pact with the PRD.

Last Friday, June 2, Félix Moulanier, director of RM, in a letter that he made public, revealed that he has received pressure of “all kinds” to renounce his intentions to aspire to an elected position by 2024. Moulanier seeks a candidacy in San Miguelito, an area in which Molirena has a deputy, but not just any deputy: Francisco Pancho Alemán, president of the party.

La Prensa called Pancho Alemán to consult him about the probable alliance with RM, but his cell phone reports that it is turned off. The Chirican deputy Miguel Fanovich, general secretary of Molirena, was also called, but he did not respond.

Two of the most necessary health projects in the country have been ignored by the last government administrations: the construction of the new Faculties of Medicine and Nursing at the University of Panama (UP).

The Faculty of Medicine began in 1953, then with a student population of 30 students who were only studying medicine; later, other careers were added: medical technology; nutrition and dietetics, and a radiology and emergency medical technician, for example.

Currently, there are some 1,700 students enrolled and the reality is that the lack of space and laboratories limits the academic training it offers.

The same is the case with the Faculty of Nursing, whose headquarters date from 1948. The structure is already old and sick. Despite the fact that they have tried to maintain it, it does not respond to the supply and demand to prepare new nursing professionals.

This scenario is very well known to the rector of the UP, Eduardo Flores Castro , who regrets not having received the necessary budget this year to start the construction of both projects.

In fact, Flores Castro warned in September of last year that the budget cut that was made to this house of higher studies would impact the development of various projects, including the Faculties of Medicine and Nursing, and the construction of the student dormitory in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences in Chiriquí.

That time, the UP requested a budget of $377.5 million for 2023 and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) recommended $343.1 million, that is, $34.4 million less. It was even questioned that the recommended budget, of $343.1 million, represents $7 million less than that of 2022 ($350.4 million), which is a “negative precedent”, because it would be the first time that a budget lower than that of the former year was granted.

Flores Castro told said that for the Faculty of Medicine, whose total cost is about $70 million, he had requested $5 million in order to begin construction, but only received $2.5 million, which means that the plans can hardly be put out to tender for the new work.

“Maybe with that we will tender the plans, but what can we do with $2.5 million, if it is a $70 million project?”, the rector pointed out.

For this work, the UP has land, which was donated by the State, near where the Ciudad de la Salud of the Social Security Fund (CSS) is located.

In the case of the Faculty of Nursing, which would cost around $50 million, for this year a budget of $1.5 million was granted, but Flores had requested $5 million to start the work.

“I think that sometimes the contributions made by the University of Panama are not positively weighted. I am not only saying this as a rector, but as a teacher, since I have been there for 40 years,” he said.

Flores Castro believes that the value of higher education is not being “balanced” to solve all the problems that society has.

With 96.50 points, the washed geisha coffee from Carmen Estate Coffee from the Panama Red Carmen Coffee Trading farm, turned out to be the bean with the highest score in the twenty-seventh version of “The Best of Panama” tasting, organized by the Association of Specialty Coffees of Panama and which comprised of experienced international judges.

It should be noted that in the judges’ scoring table, in the Natural Geisha category, first place was obtained by the De la Rosa Mount Totumas Cloud Forest lot from the Mount Totumas Coffee farm, with 96.25 points.

While the Guarumo Coffee Farms Chicho Gallo Gold Selection batch, from the Guarumos Coffee farm, with 92.38 points, won first place in Varietales and the Carmen Estates Coffee by Panama Red Carmen Coffee Trading farm, won the Panama Cup, by achieving 14 points, a prize awarded to the producer who accumulated the most points in their batches throughout the competition.

112 batches of Geisha coffee entered the international competition (64 batches of Geisha Natural and 48 batches of Geisha Washed) and 74 batches of Varietals; There were 18 international judges from Australia, China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Bulgaria and the United States who selected the winners in blind tastings (without knowing the origin of the grain until the end).

As a complete success, Hunter Tedman, president of the Specialty Coffee Association of Panama (SCAP in English), described the Best of Panama, after finishing his awards, seeing new winners in the Natural Geisha category and “there are more traditional farms with the Washed and Varietal Geishas that reflects the human quality impregnated in each batch”.

Will Young, from Campos Coffee in Australia, Main judge of this entire competition, said that he is very satisfied with the coffee from Panama and mainly with the last two tables, because he was able to taste the best coffees of his entire life, since there were judges who they qualified with up to 100 points some lots that they considered as extraordinary.

These lots will lead the positions in each of their categories for the electronic auction on August 2, where there will be 18 Natural Geisha lots, 18 Washed Geisha lots, and 14 Varietal lots.


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