Isthmian Update – Vol. 21#10

Week in Review

Where in the world is Ricardo Martinelli?

On January 28, former president Ricardo Martinelli left the country in his private jet, arguing that he would begin an international tour to denounce the “political persecution” against him by the government of President Juan Carlos Varela. He left Panama at a time when the Supreme Court admitted a complaint against him, after the former director of the National Assistance Program, Giacomo Tamburrelli, said that the former president ordered him to agree to the contract for the purchase of dehydrated food for $45 million. Thus far, little is known about Martinelli’s international tour.

Varela critics concerned with slow start

Joining the chorus of admonitions issued by economists and businessmen to President Juan Carlos Varela not to neglect the country’s investment grade is President of the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), Benicio Robinson. Questioning the management of the current administration’s investment budget, Robinson echoed the sentiment of many economists and entrepreneurs that we are faced with a government that “has not started moving.”

New clues to Ramos’ disappearance

Attorney Kevin Moncada recently gave details about the new witness in the case of missing Securities Secretariat auditor, Vernon Ramos. According to Moncada, the witness contacted the office of deputy, Zulay Rodríguez, and informed her from a telephone in the La Joya prison that Vernon Ramos was murdered by a person who worked with him and who was offered $300,000 to perform the macabre act.

CAF to fund new maritime arbitration school

An international school in maritime arbitration is being promoted by the Panama Chamber of Shipping, the Panama Canal Authority, the Panama International Maritime University and the Panama Maritime Authority with the support of CAF – the American Development Bank for Latin America. The project seeks to promote the culture of prevention, dispute resolution and conflict in the maritime industry, particularly through the use of alternative methods of dispute resolution, including conciliation, mediation and maritime arbitration.

Protected PAN witness leaves country

A key protected witness involved in the National Assistance Program (PAN) trial said that he is out of the country right now because he has received death threats against him and his family. “I have received threatening phone calls, but have not yet identified the people who have threatened me,” he said. Furthermore, the witness complained that the security detail promised by the Anti-corruption prosecutor was withdrawn without an explanation.

Corruption prosecutions blamed for halt in construction

President Juan Carlos Varela said that fighting corruption in public institutions is not incompatible with supporting and encouraging investment, both public and private. “We are doing both at once,” said the Panamanian president during the inauguration of the academic year in a metro-area school. Foreign businessmen have expressed concern to the news agency EFE that numerous works currently underway in the country have become paralyzed as a result of judicial corruption investigations. Varela, who admits there has been a stop in constructions, casts blame on the municipal management of permits.

Panama-Caribbean trade mission

Representatives of some 20 companies in Barbados, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago will meet in Panama for three days to attend the “Panama Trade Mission” business meeting which seeks to strengthen trade ties and make new alliances.

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