Thursday 13th October 2022.

October 13, 2022

The Cabinet authorized the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) to sign addendum number 1 to the contract between the State and the company Panama Colon Container Port (PCCP) for the development, construction, operation, administration and management of a container and general cargo terminal on Isla Margarita, province of Colón. This concession contract was awarded in 2013 to the company Panama Colon Container Port, but in June 2021 the General Directorate of Ports and Auxiliary Maritime Industries of the AMP decided to start a process of canceling the contract due to non-compliance. At that time, the AMP argued that the decision to cancel the agreement was made after an audit of the contract carried out by the Comptroller General of the Republic, and as part of a review of all port concessions. Subsequently, the AMP announced the signing of an agreement with the companies Nortarc Management Group and the shipping line Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), reached after several months of negotiation, so that they could continue the development of the project. In accordance with Cabinet resolution 113 of October 11, 2022, the Minister of the Presidency is authorized to present to the National Assembly the bill related to addendum No. 1 of the PCCP contract approved by Law 43 of 2013 , “once said addendum is endorsed by the Comptroller General of Panama”. It is indicated that this addendum was approved in all its parts by the board of directors of the AMP. Among the changes, an investment of 1.67 million 200 thousand dollars is proposed for the development of the container and general cargo port. At the time of canceling the contract, the AMP pointed out that the PCCP concessionaire promised to make an investment of $563.9 million, of which $300 million corresponded to the construction of three docks and $263 million to other port expansion works, but there was only invested $104.2 million, which represented 16.6% of the total committed and meant 83.4% non-compliance. Likewise, the seabed area of ​​22 hectares with 2,630 square meters described in Annex 1 of the contract suffered a change of coordinates in the location of polygons. The fourth clause on canon and rates will also be modified, “since it is necessary to calculate the canon based on the last figure resulting from the 5% annual increase. Resolve that due to the magnitude of the investment proposed by PCCP “it is favorable that the seventh-duration clause reflects a duration of 20 years, in accordance with the terms and conditions established in addendum 1, from the promulgation of the law that approves it, with a 10-year extension subject to compliance with the obligations. Likewise, the length of the three piers will be modified from a total linear length of 1,450 meters to a length of 1,050 linear meters. The PCCP terminal would be the fourth container port located in Colón province. It currently operates the port of Cristóbal, the Colon Container Terminal and the Manzanillo International Terminal.

Necoclí, a municipality in Colombia, is the epicenter of the current migration crisis in that region, where some 10,000 people wait to enter the Darién jungle. During a tour of the area, the Colombian Ombudsman, Carlos Camargo , assured that the increase in the migrant and refugee population in transit to the north of the continent has made the humanitarian crisis on the border with Panama worsen. Likewise, the risks of violation of fundamental rights for these people. In response to inquiries from La  Prensa, the Colombian Ombudsman’s Office reported that an estimated there are 9,000 migrants in Necoclí, who have to wait up to four days to get a boat ticket to take them to Acandí, both in the route through the urban area as well as through the district of Capurganá. Once there, they enter the jungle to reach Panama. “This year the migratory crisis is much more serious than the one registered last year. First, because the number of people in human mobility who have passed to Panama exceeds 150,000 compared to the 134,000 migrants in all of 2021,” Camargo highlighted. In the words of the defender of human rights in Colombia, the tendency of this migratory wave is to continue increasing. He also said that this population is more exposed to being used by illegal armed groups and criminal organizations. “In the last 15 days, about 4,290 minors have passed through. This is a population at high risk, particularly those who travel unaccompanied, since they are exposed to additional dangers such as trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation,” he said.

Between January and September 2022, a total of 303 foreigners have been deported or expelled from the country for different reasons, the National Migration Service confirmed on Wednesday. According to the data released by the Panamanian immigration authorities, of the aforementioned amount, 127 people were applied the expulsion sanction and 176 the deportation measure. Among the main causes for the application of these measures are for entering the country irregularly, convictions for intentional crime and having served the respective sentence, constituting a threat to collective security, evasion of checkpoints and for remaining in Panamanian territory irregularly. Migration from Panama specifies that within the deportations, 55 were applied to citizens born in Nicaragua, 37 to natives of Colombia and 18 from Venezuela. As for the expulsions, it is battled that from Colombia there were 64, while from Venezuela and Nicaragua 11, each. “The National Immigration Service informs that a foreign citizen who has been deported will not be able to enter the country for a period of five to ten years, counted from the date of execution of his deportation,” it is highlighted in a statement from the National Service of Migration.Likewise, it is highlighted that once this period has expired, the citizen may request the General Directorate of the institution to lift  the measure preventing entry into the country, which will be evaluated for approval or disapproval. In addition, the authorities reiterate that the sanction will be extended indefinitely in cases in which the foreigner evades the measure and remains clandestinely in the country or re-enters without authorization.

The Superior Court of Appeals of the First Judicial District of Panama changed the measure from provisional detention to house arrest for a person who is being investigated for the alleged commission of the crime of fraud, in a case related to plastic surgery. Last week, the Fifth Section of Crimes against Patrimony, in charge of the prosecutor Nahaniel Murgas, confirmed that it is investigating a woman named Joselín Santos, for the alleged commission of the crime of fraud against 21 people, mostly women, who gave her money to pay for plastic surgeries in Colombia that were not performed. Last Tuesday, October 4, the prosecutor Murgas charged her with the alleged commission of the crime of fraud and managed to get a guarantee judge to order her preventive detention. The measure was changed by the Superior Court, in a hearing held on Tuesday. According to the prosecutor’s line of investigation, the woman was in charge of interviewing the patients and defining the aesthetic service they required. Eduardo Pino, of Santos’s defense, said that she is another victim, which he will discuss in court. The Judiciary Body reported that the Court was made up of judges Mauricio Marín (president), Miriam Jaén and Fernando Alonzo, Likewise, it is detailed that the magistrates of the Superior Court of Appeals, after listening to the parties, considered the principle of legality and proportionality that governs the moment of imposing the precautionary measure, taking into account that the crime charged has a minimum sentence of 1 to 4 years in prison and article 237 for the imposition of provisional detention requires a minimum of 4 years in prison.

The Ministry of Health (Minsa), through the National Directorate of Pharmacy and Drugs, confirmed this Wednesday that 3,819 illicit products were detected in September. The information was released at a press conference by the Health authorities, as part of the campaign against illegal drugs organized by the Inter-institutional Executive Committee for the prevention, prosecution and detection of substandard and/or allegedly counterfeit or illicit pharmaceutical products.It was reported that various inspections were carried out on establishments that handle these products in various regions of the country. Likewise, these actions are aimed at detecting medicines without sanitary registration for Panama and that are ready for sale to the public. Drugs of dubious origin were also located where the owner of the premises did not demonstrate that they had been properly acquired. In a MINSA statement it is highlighted that these operations were carried out in the provinces of Panama, Veraguas, Chiriquí and Colón.”We also follow up on what is happening at the international level, counterfeit or  low-standard products may contain chemicals that can go against the individual who ingests them,” said the Deputy Minister of Health, Ivette Berrío.

More articles