Isthmian Update – Some of the news in Panama

Speeding up delivery of Amador Convention Center

Panama’s Tourism Authority (ATP) has reached an agreement with the company, HPC-Hire-P & V, to add 1,000 parking lots to the convention center to be built in Amador and expand the theater. The work is a “turnkey” contract awarded by the administration of former President Ricardo Martinelli at a cost of $193.7 million. To date, the project has 32% overall progress. As part of the negotiations, which extended over several weeks, the ATP asked the contractor to accelerate work to try to meet the new deadline set for December 2015.

Building the nation’s healthcare

Health Minister, Francisco Javier Terrientes, reported that the IBT Health Group will complete the construction of four hospitals which are being built at a total cost of $346.8 million in the provinces of Darien, Colón, Los Santos and Chiriquí. Terrientes added that the consortium plans to resume the works by the end of December after a temporary suspension in April.

Corrections for potential energy shortages

In order to strengthen the national grid to ensure efficient, continuous and uninterrupted provision of the electricity service, the Secretary of Energy recommended to the Electricity Transmission Company (Etesa), to carry out two tenders next year. The tenders, the first of which will be held in the first week of February next year, are intended to seek 350 megawatts (MW) of firm capacity and associated energy.

Concerns over sexual education

More than four out of 10 Panamanians reject sexual education taught in secondary schools. According to the survey results, 26% felt that this education is “bad.” Another 19% consider it ‘very bad.’ Another 30% of respondents described it as “regular.” Of the 17% who accepted the program, 13% described it as “good” and 4% as “very good.”

Questions of transparency

President, Juan Carlos Varela, contrary to his party’s slogan “People First,” has kept information about his senior associates and managers of his campaign contributions from being known. The lawyers, Angélica Maytín and Guido Rodríguez, both outspoken critics of the previous administration, are participating in movements that promote complaints against former officials and the recently suspended by Judge, Alejandro Moncada Luna.

More cars, more problems

The number of cars bought in Panama is increasing daily. Along with this, the number of complaints from customers against car distributors is seeing an increase. So far this year, from January to September, a total of 118 complaints have been lodged for various reasons, such as breach of contract and deceptive sales tactics. The complaints have resulted in $2,417,254 in fines imposed by the Authority for Consumer Protection (Acodeco).

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