Isthmian Update – Vol. 21#5

High level studies, Amador and Colón

President Juan Carlos Varela created a High Level Group to promote the development of the Amador Causeway and another to assess the viability of the Colón Free Port Project. The purpose of the first HLG is to analyze comprehensively the development of the Amador area to include a port for cruise ships, maximizing the use and development of the properties belonging to the Administrative Unit of Reverted Properties (UABR), attract tourism and promote trade in the area, improve the roads and consolidate the tour packages that consist of the Biodiversity Museum and the upcoming convention center (which will span 50,000 m2 with capacity for 10,000 people).

Nicaragua threat

The administrator of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), Jorge Luis Quijano, acknowledged that if the construction of a waterway in Nicaragua materialized, preliminary work on which began last December, it would compete with the Panamanian waterway. “If built, it would compete with the Panama Canal,” said Quijano in his appearance before the full National Assembly that cited him to explain the status of the expansion work on the waterway, its progress, delays and complaints from contractors.

Healthy customs

The National Customs Authority grossed more than $1.4 billion during 2014 and became the government entity with highest income contributed to the national treasury, surpassing the Panama Canal. According to officials of this institution, this is thanks to the improvement of the applications and Customs controls, as well as the “excellent” work done by collaborators, who often risk their lives to face smuggling, counterfeiting and piracy in the various checkpoints located at borders, ports and airports.

Chitre free zone

In an area of 12 hectares in the town of La Arena, in the district of Chitre, Herrera, the first free zone has been set up in which the first eco-industrial park in the country will operate, aimed at sustainable development. A group of Panamanian businessmen in conjunction with European investors (Italy, Germany and Spain) plan to invest about $30 million in the first stage of the free zone, which this week received the approval of the Cabinet.

Suing a president

A criminal complaint against former President Ricardo Martinelli for the alleged crimes of violation of the right to confidentiality and privacy, abuse of authority, abuse of office, criminal conspiracy and embezzlement was presented to the Auxiliary Prosecutor by the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) leader, Mitchell Doens. The leader of the old guard of the PRD, Doens reiterated that former president Martinelli, exceeded his functions on the topic of wiretapping because, according to the PRD, this was a matter for the judiciary. “I think this is a golden opportunity for Panamanian justice to act.”

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