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  1. 6 points
    I was asked to contribute to this discussion having experienced firsthand the difficulty in obtaining justice for crimes against perpetrators under the current Panamanian Legal System. Forgive me, this is a long post. I no longer live in Chiriqui but I do occasionally read CL -- after all, I did live in Potrerillos for 15 years. This post is not meant “to put the frighteners” on expats it is more to enlighten and hopefully to bring about realization of the “the way things are”. It is not written in anger, it is written partially to thank those who saved my life and those who supported me throughout my months in hospital and beyond. Strangely enough I do not harbor hatred against the two teens who assaulted me. If it wasn’t for the attack I would not be living where I am now. I exchanged the mountains for the beach and ocean and for the happiness that living only four minutes’ walk away from your only child can bring. But having said that, it is frightening to think that the two teenagers are now at liberty to commit armed robbery again and next time their victim may not survive. I lived in Panama for 15 years, maybe two or perhaps three years after we moved onto our property and into our home I experienced a robbery. This was when things were still tranquilo in this area, when crimes were only crimes of opportunity and when criminal violence was extremely rare. A very presentable man, with new(ish) bicycle came to my house to ask if I knew where a “gringo called Mike” lived. I told him I did not. Little did I know he had been “scoping out” the house through the windows and seen my wallet and cell phone on the kitchen island. He got back on his bike and that was that – or so I thought as I returned to what I was doing in the family room. Several hours later, searching for my phone, I realized it and my wallet, were missing. The robber had apparently returned, entered the kitchen and quickly taken my wallet and cell phone. My dog did not bark as she had seen me talking to the man outside and I suspect had classified him as “a friend”. I had a photo of the man, he had committed several robberies in the area including the home of one of my neighbors. The man lived in David and the David police knew him well from his criminal history. I spent hours at the Municipio in Dolega giving a denuncia. My gardener and a neighbor were also required to go to the Municipio to give statements. I was summoned to the PTJ in David to look through ancient mug shot albums – even though I had a photo of the felon!! People had seen the man catching the bus from David, Dolega and Potrerillos. They remembered him because his bike had been loaded on to the roofs of the buses at times consistent with the robbery. There was no follow up by the authorities, the man was never charged or prosecuted and I heard nothing more from the police. After my husband passed away, I decided to downsize and put my home on the market. A year before the home invasion I was contacted by “Andy Singer” who said he and his Panamanian wife were planning to return to Panama to open a bed and breakfast and that my property seemed ideal for such a purpose. He asked several questions and I directed him to the website for my home where all of his questions would be answered. “Andy Singer” then told me he would like to view my property and could I give him my phone number so he could call me to set up an appointment. Something in my feeble brain gave out a warning signal. I decided to wait 24 hours before responding. In the meantime I checked further, as far as my limited knowledge of technology would allow, and discovered that though the emails were signed Andy Singer, ploughing through all of the extraneous information of the email source I came upon the writer’s address of “Billinlacarcel@...” or Bill in Prison. Another possible future scam for Wild Bill and his then cell mate Ozzie?? Obviously, with funding from relatives and friends, they are able to buy smart phones/tablets to allow them to check out possible future victims, or perhaps this was their way of “having a little fun”. Prison wardens in Panama jails are not law enforcement officers but are hired from outside the prison system. They are open too bribes. If a prisoner has the cash they can obtain whatever they want. This is a well-known fact. I reported the email to Lt. Castillo, who, at that time was head of the police department for Boquete and Dolega and who I had known for many years. He said he would come to my home to verify the email, take printed copies with him and call his contact at the David jail. He never arrived at my home, neither did he send another police officer. There was no follow-up, nothing was ever done. Lt. Castillo retired from the police force several months later. How long has “Wild Bill” been in prison awaiting trial – four, five years? There has still been no trial and therefore no justice for the families of the victims. In defense of the police of Chiriqui (and in the country as a whole), their hands are somewhat tied by the laws of Panama and their interest in the community somewhat dulled by their frequent repostings. It is extremely difficult to form a relationship -- police with citizens or citizens and police -- when the length of assignment to a location is pitifully short. I had many friends/acquaintances among the police community of the Dolega District, they would frequently come to my home to check on my husband and I, sit and chat, have a soda and cookies but I soon learned that a policeman who you thought would be “first on the scene” if something happened to you, would soon be posted to a different town or city. Captain Roberto Espinoza, as Bud himself said “He could retire later this year, but no firm decision has been made at this juncture.” So, he may hold the position of Boquete Police Captain for a year or even less?? Not enough time to build relationships or form a sound knowledge of the community and the people who live in it. The local people are the ones who can help the most with leads and “inside information” which leads to an arrest. To give praise where praise is deserved, the police did catch two of the teenagers who attacked me. I don’t know how long it took, (I was aware of very little at the time), I think they were apprehended very quickly – but – the younger teenager, the one who stabbed me, was 14 years old and because the laws of Panama dictate that a person has to be 18 years old before they can be prosecuted, he received a slap on the hand and was released. Last I heard before I left Chiriqui, he was living with his father in the Boquete area. The second of my attackers, the one who shot me twice, I was told was 17. He was held for several months and the grapevine said that the police were hoping to keep him until his 18th birthday when he could be prosecuted. Now this is all “hearsay”, gleaned from police, translators, interviews, friends – I cannot swear that this is the truth. I have been told subsequent to my departure, that this young man has also been released. So to potential murderers are now back on the streets and living in the community. If these teenagers had tied me up and asked me where my wallet was, where the computer was, where my jewelry was – I would have readily told them but they broke into my house at 2:30 am, immediately stabbed and shot me without uttering one word and only questioned me while I was laying on the floor in a large pool of my own blood. They laughed as they walked down the driveway with their “haul”. They had stolen my cell phone so I couldn’t call for help, but fortunately that laughter I heard as they left made me angry, very angry and the adrenaline started flowing which enabled me to drive to a neighbor’s house, squeeze through a small space by the side of their gate and crawl up the driveway. My neighbor (a Panamanian so no language barrier) called the police and an ambulance. She called other neighbors who arrived in seconds -- the police responded quickly but my neighbors decided the ambulance was taking too long and loaded me into their truck to drive me to Mae Lewis. I owe my life to the Le Borgne’s, the Ferguson’s and the Kolm’s, it goes without saying to Dr. Cattan who performed the surgery and the care of Don Ray and Lilliam Williams after my release from hospital. Several weeks later, my doctor told me that the police had wanted to interview me while I was in Intensive Care when I was semi-comatose and with tubes inserted in every orifice – obviously I didn’t have enough orifices as the doctors had to create even more entry points for tubes. The police insisted on seeing me only to realize I was unable to hear or respond. However, as soon as I was able I was asked to give a statement -- two police detectives and a translator arrived by my bedside. I was released, after being in hospital for ten plus weeks and except for the last few days, with nursing care 24 hours per day. In early January I was required to attend an appointment with the government psychologist – I can only guess she was tasked with ascertaining if I was lying about the attack. Obviously, given the fragility of my appearance, the fact that walking was extremely difficult even with a walker, plus the surgical scar from breast bone to pubic bone, she determined that I had been the victim of a crime. Astute Lady!!??!! As JohnF13 said I was questioned two or three months prior to leaving Panama, I was also questions two other times, once more in the hospital and once while staying with Don Ray and Lilliam Williams. Each time was an ordeal for me, I had to relive the incident. Each time I felt as if I was the one under scrutiny and that there was doubt about the veracity of my story. I also received an “official document” requiring me to see a government doctor who would verify my medical condition. The letter received, which indicated I was to submit to an examination at a date and time to be notified, was dated incorrectly, December 2016 rather than December 2015. Apparently this caused a major malfunction in the machinery that drives the government offices involved in this case. Calls were made on my behalf several times and we made appearances at the appropriate offices twice to ask about the appointment for the examination. Each time we were told “you will be contacted when the doctor can schedule you”. I remained in the country until July 18th, 2016 over nine months after the attack. At no time was I nor the Williams contacted with a date and time for me to appear to be examined by the government doctor. My point is, that I was subjected to interviews and interrogations and psychological examinations at a time when my life and mental wellbeing hung in the balance – all for naught. The investigation team of the DJI was led by another officer I had known previously and who is also from Potrerillos, he had returned to the area after being posted to La Joya and Panama City for several years. He too had been to my home many times. The perpetrators were known, one was in custody, I presume there was evidence from fingerprints and leads on where they had disposed of my possessions (my computer was actually seen to be on-line) and yet I was never asked to identify the suspects either visually or from their voices. Visually I could not have done so, the violence happened too quickly and in the dark, I was then in pain and wallowing in my own blood, but I could have given a definite identification from their voices. I still hear those voices at 2:30 in the morning when I wake up in a cold sweat “¿Dónde está el dinero? Queremos más dinero, ¿dónde está?”. At no time was I requested by any member of the Policia Nacional nor the DJI if I would testify. At no time was it even suggested that the perpetrators would actually come to trial and that my testimony would be paramount in obtaining a conviction. At no time was I told I would be required to testify. At no time was I asked not to leave the country as my testimony would be necessary for the prosecution. In short, yes, the police appreciate brownies, I baked frequently for the police in Dolega and for the police who stopped by my house but, oatmeal cookies, butterscotch pie and brownies will only result in a happy smile from the recipients. The police are understaffed, underpaid and underfinanced. This leads to a lack of motivation to track down criminals or to put their lives at risk when they know full well that the laws of Panama negate any efforts they make to apprehend perpetrators of crime, however heinous the crime might be. The chance that criminals will see any prison time is slim to none. It’s fine to protect yourself, take all the precautions you can but the criminals are becoming smart. Do you have an automatic entry gate?? If not, perhaps you need one. Remember a couple of years ago there were one or two robberies when people were ambushed as they exited their cars to manually open their entry gates. They were then forced to open their homes and allow the robbers free rein. What is really sad is that the one person who could possibly have made a difference and fought for a change in the law and who initially headed protests and meetings, Diputada Athena Athanasiadis, diverted her interest to other, I can only assume, more deserving causes. Initially her anger was stirred and she became involved, I suspect, primarily because I lived only a two minute walk from her parents’ house, the home she was raised in. Her parents are definitely not “on a budget” and can pay for 24/7 security guards – I and most other retirees can not. Unless the law changes, violent crimes will continue to be committed and will escalate with little or no hope of retribution from the authorities on the perpetrators.
  2. 5 points

    until

    Marcelyn and I were participants in ARF's Thanksgiving Day event at the Animales Building. There was a LOT of VERY GOOD food, great conversations, visits with friends, etc. We estimate there were about 70 guests and maybe 15 worker-bees taking care of setting up, tending to the guests, etc. The background music was nice, and not so loud as to intrude into the conversations. The pecan pie was simply outstanding. Kudos to that chef! But I also do not want to take away from any of the other food items. I sampled all the food choices, and there was nothing to apologize for on that front. An unexpected plus for us was that we finally got to meet Beth Abrahams (it is kind of a long story, don't ask). Beth Abrahams We also got to catch up with all of the latest travels and happenings of our friends who were at our table. Met a few new people, etc. There simply was nothing that we could fault (not our goal anyway). This is the way things should be done, and ARF did it with all of their wonderful volunteers. If someone found fault with something yesterday, then I would chalk them off as being a token curmudgeon. Thank you ARF! GREAT JOB!!!! Thank you to all who helped make yesterday's Thanksgiving Day celebration such a huge success, and special thanks to N&N: I will close with: we all have a lot to be thankful for.
  3. 5 points
    Danielle It is interesting your response. My age and experience let me understand peoples writting because it reflects, in most of the cases, the way the person thinks. First. I would like that you send me only one, just one proof, that I posted a disrespectful comment of anybody here, on Boquete.Ning or any other forum. So if you dont know me you cant talk about me. So this is the first lie you are writting and implying. I am not an expat. That is right. I am not living in Boquete, that is right. But I am a panamanian citizen and this is my country so I think that I cant participate in any forum I would like. You dont know. You dont know if I have family living in Chiriqui. You dont know if I have family or relatives living in Boquete. If you can read you should notice that most of my posting have the goal of helping expats living in this, my imperfect country, how to understand things, procedures, culture, customs, laws, etc. So I dont think that you are the person who has a right to disqualify me to post and participate in this forum that is located in my country. In my more than 4 years of being posting in Boquete and Chiriqui forums I have always received good words of the owners of the forums. I did exchange calls and personal email with Lee Seltzer. I know PERSONALLY the owner of this forum. So I am sorry if you dont like me be around because you are disqualifying me to be here.
  4. 5 points
    My husband died in Hospital Chiriqui on June 22, 2016. Fortunately, I had attended the class sponsored by Boquete Hospice and Heath Care Foundation on the subject of how to prepare for death in Panama so as to satisfy government requirements and facilitate arrangements required of one's next of kin or designated representative. On the whole, the procedures are as outlined by Hospice, and I encourage everyone who has not already to retrieve the various forms from the Hospice website [www. boquetehospice.org/ ], complete them, and put them where they are available to whoever will be handling your affairs following your passing. I will concentrate in this post on procedures I found to be somewhat different from the advice given by Hospice and on those which I found to be extraordinarily important. The importance of having a "living will" cannot be overstated. My husband was hospitalized for 16 days, in and out of intensive care. On day 12 or thereabouts, he was moved from intensive care back to his room in a regular ward, and the doctor informed me that all his organs were failing and that he would not recover. Nevertheless, he was hooked up to a ventilator, and kidney dialysis was scheduled for later that day. He was on intravenous morphine and was unconscious, and had been for several days. I produced his living will, the doctor perused it carefully and checked with hospital administration/legal. The hospital agreed to honor it. My husband died peacefully--still unconscious and still on morphine--four days later. Gracias a Dios, I had gone to trouble and expense of having living wills for both of us drawn up by our lawyer less than a year previously. It is my understanding that only living wills that are in Spanish and that are executed by a lawyer--with all the appropriate embossing, stamps, and signatures--are honored by the Panama medical community. Don't put this off, and, however tight your budget may be, find the money in it to pay for this important document. I found the Hospice written materials somewhat unclear about two documents required for the funeral home and the Electoral Tribunal. The funeral home will issue the death certificate, but only upon the presentation of a different certificate or declaration of death issued by the attending physician. Sometimes, I understand, the doctor himself will deliver this declaration to the funeral home, particularly in Boquete. In my case, where the death was in a hospital in David, I was responsible for getting this declaration from the doctor and taking it with me to the funeral home. Perhaps routinely or perhaps fortunately, my doctor had it prepared and waiting for me at the nurse's station in the hospital. I took it, as well as other paperwork recommended by Hospice, to the funeral home (Funeraria del Retiro, in my case), where I graciously was met by Pedro Gonzalez, my insurance agent, who served as translator and witness. (My son also was with me, but he was ineligible to service as a witness because he is not a resident of Panama.) I paid for the services of the funeral home, the cremation, and copies of the death certificate (in cash), signed some papers, and was on my way in just over 30 minutes. The funeral home handled all the paperwork with the Tribunal Electoral, so these steps as outlined by Hospice were unnecessary. After I reported the death to the U.S. Embassy in Panama City, the Embassy sent me multiple copies of a document entitled "Report of the Death of an American Citizen Abroad." This is invaluable when dealing the entities in the U.S. (insurance companies, banks, credit card companies, etc.) because it is in English. The Embassy took the necessary steps to stop social security payments. Finally, I would like to put in a plug for having maximum insurance coverage. I never saw the bill (and don't want to) because my insurance paid it in full directly to the hospital. It had to have been enormous, particularly since my husband spent so much time in intensive care. As an example, I noted on the bottle of morphine that it costs $500, and I'm sure he received more than one bottle intravenously over a 24-hour period, and he received morphine for at least 12 days. It's my understanding that the public hospital does not provide morphine free of charge, so without adequate insurance or cash reserves, a patient may undergo substantial suffering. The care at Hospital Chiriqui was excellent, particularly in intensive care, and the two doctors handling my husband's case were superb. They were available at any time, were communicative, were forthright, and were very caring. All of this relieved much of the burden that accompanies so emotionally draining an experience. In short, because we decided to make the financial sacrifice and purchase good health insurance, both my husband's suffering and my own were greatly ameliorated. I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to thank the Boquete community for all of its support via phone calls, emails, and personal visits. And a special thanks goes to my friends who brought food to the house so that my son and I could return home to a good meal after a long, trying day at the hospital. I have endeavored to thank folks individually, but it's likely that someone was missed. So a heartfelt thanks to everyone for being so kind and supportive.
  5. 5 points
    Dear Bonnie, It strikes that one of the most important aspects of existence in life is a fundamental recognition of the simple fact that our time here on this beautiful earth is limited; that for each and every one of us, one journey ends, and the sendero to the next begins in a place we cannot know and will never fully understand. In my own reckoning, to pursue life and living is to pursue dignity and honor, and your actions and your words demonstrate the very essence of honor and dignity as you and your loved ones face the difficult realities of your beloved husband's passing. May I be so bold as to salute your grace and aplomb in this most trying of times, and may the strength of your character sustain you with ease and grace in those moments when you most need them. With deepest respect, Dav
  6. 5 points
    Dear People, I'm so sorry to have omitted important information, when posting news of Parmigiano's 35% discount for lunch dishes on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, ending June 30, 2016. Beverages are not included in this offer. This offer cannot be combined with any other discount or offer. Parmigiano Restaurant is located in Boquete, diagonally across from Sugar and Spice, on the right side of the road, just after The Fish House, when leaving town and driving toward David. Conversely, it is approximately 300 meters after Hotel Fundadores, on the left, when entering Boquete, driving from David. I take full responsibility for this oversight. 'Twasn't Penny's doing or Parmigiano's, for that matter. I wrote the blurb and posted it. Thank you for your patience. Barbara Phillips, Alto Dorado, Boquete, Chiriqui, Panamá.
  7. 4 points
    I invite you all to take a look at this link from Best Places in the World to Retire: https://bestplacesintheworldtoretire.com/stories?view=entry&id=328 This is a come-on article, advertising that health insurance for tourists is free. This hasn't been true for over two and a half years. Only at the end of the article is there an "editor's note" that this insurance is no longer available. If you were honestly trying to disseminate information helpful to persons thinking about visiting or retiring to Panama, as all these sites represent, why would you publish an article with out-of-date facts? Of what possible good, I ask, is this information inasmuch as it no longer applies? I've said it before, and I'll say it again: what these folks do to make a buck is unconscionable.
  8. 4 points
    As far as the invasion of Marion's home goes and her subsequent attempted murder, I do not think anyone has been prosecured for it even though the police caught at least two of the perps. Just prior to Marion leaving the Country she was called back in by DIJ for a further "interview" and she did mention that she was uncomfortable with the way it was conducted. I would suspect, that since she has gone to Mexico, that nothing further will be done. This was my first (and so far only) introduction to Panamanian detectiving and as a retired police officer I was not terribly impressed. It seemed to me that everything was about "process" and not much about investigation. Lots and lots of police officers on scene, many at the hospital, numerous long interviews done where the preamble to the interview ( both verbal and written) seemed to take much longer than the interview itself. I couldn'd help getting the impression that everything was being done for show. Given that experience, I would not trust the Panamanian police to investigate and prosecute expat crimes. Yes, there are a ton of people in the David jail, but for what, exactly? Seems to me most of them must be on remands waiting for trial, heck if Wild Bill hasn't been tried yet after admitting murders it does not bode well for a contested prosecution. I guess all of the above can be distilled down to "you are responsible for your own safety". Indeed, this isn't Kansas, or Canada, or Britain. Look after youselves and take care.
  9. 4 points
    For many of us here Danielle who have resided here close to a decade or more, the .NING site was the respected go-to spot for information for new residents and as well those looking to be new residents. The help that came from the site was enormous. Sadly Lee Zeltzer passed away and the site changed hands. With that came the ousting of many of the old guard posters on the site...respected folks in our community! I guess for those of us that were ousted or left voluntarily because to that ousting, we still have some nostalgia for what we remember as Lee's .Ning. Many of us go back from time to time to see what's new there. To see what is left in print on .NING which is so hateful towards a group of people gets a reaction from us. Antisemitism. Lee Zeltzer who founded and ran the site was born Jewish. He'd not let that kind of diatribe fly...we all know that, whether it be anti-Jewish or anti-anything that denigrates a group of people ...it just would not fly with him. So of course we all react. It's only natural.
  10. 4 points
    Excuse me, but Rogelio Bellido is an online friend for many years and is a member of this site, as equal as any other. There is no import as to his nationality or place of residence. His comments and input are appreciated by me no matter where he posts them.
  11. 4 points
    What I like about this is that I see the community very well interested in the project and participating actively with the authorities when a concern and doubts arise. People have become the Project's inspector. That is good. It is the way to address any problem that could affect the good performance of the project in the future. The contractor is aware that people are concerned and vigilant of the work they are doing. All of you keep doing it. I have seen in other parts of Panama that people do not participate in checking the projects and denouncing anything bad happening and then start complaining when the job is finished and very difficult to address the problem. Good Job!!
  12. 4 points
    Yesterday, July 31, Anouk (our 2 year old rescue Husky) was scheduled for the Amigos de Animales spay/neuter clinic. We arrived an hour and a half earlier than the appointed start time and discovered other pet owners with their animals already waiting in the parking lot. Anouk was excited. A novel car ride, no food or water since last evening, and other dogs barking caused her to jump around inside the vehicle. Not an easy task trying to calm her. Finally she takes a nap. We were fortunate to be assigned a low number for the surgery line. Bud waited in the registration area and I stayed with Anouk in the car. Some drivers came speeding into the lot and parked close to the building to unload their crates containing dogs and cats. The scene that caught my attention and touched my heart was the Indigenous family that walked to the clinic with the little boy carrying his special pet dog. At the appointed hour, volunteers put equipment (e.g., cages, etc.) in place, opened the doors, and the program began. First step was a short registration procedure, which Bud took care of while I sat with Anouk in the car. Lots of people, noisy animals, and all kinds of activity -- but well organized. I was impressed how helpful and friendly all volunteers and team members were. Mr. Huff (don't know his first name) explained the routine. We watched and accompanied Anouk as she started through the process. That the helpers knew their role and the routine of animals moving along the surgery line was obvious. A well organized and trained staff of people were at their assigned stations, starting with Dra Chely administrating the anesthesia, others shaving the animal before surgery, tattooing the letter "S" in the animal's ear, hand carrying the dog or cat to the appropriate surgery table for the operation, and then making certain each patient received an injection of vitamins and antibiotics before receiving individual monitoring and rubbing on the "wake-up" blankets. Dra "Ingrid" (don't know her full name) was the vet that operated on Anouk. Sigrid was the attendant who took good care of Anouk at the recovery station, petting her, checking vital signs, etc., until Anouk was awake enough to go home. A "trolley" carried our 40 plus pound dog to our vehicle and placed her (half asleep) in the back of the SUV for the trip home. Anouk doesn't like it, but after getting her home we placed a bonnet (parabolic collar) around her neck to keep her from scratching or licking her wound. We had already purchased such a collar at Melo based on recommendations of some friends. We hope this helps in the healing process. Now the job is trying to keep her quiet (no cat chasing) for the next several days! Here are some pictures that Bud took with his iPhone during our time at the Clinic. The shaving/preparation station. (That is Anouk, out like a light). The tattoo station (that is not Anouk, but another pet, and another awaiting the procedure). Anouk on the operating stand with Dra "Ingrid" and a helper. Some of the volunteers at the recovery station with a small kitten. Magaly, part of Anouk's "rescue team". Magaly is super nice and so helpful. (Well, actually all the volunteers were wonderful!) Magaly is very special to us because she is one of the people who brought Anouk into our lives. Marcelyn looking after Anouk at the post-surgery clean up station, and also where some shots are administered. Sigrid helping bring Anouk back to the real world, and checking vital signs, etc.
  13. 4 points
    If I run across reports of local or regional current events, I'm inclined to take a few minutes to share with others. It's information.
  14. 4 points
    Hello: MarieElanie yes it is very probable there will be biometric data collected. Price depends on the nationality. To make it simple: 1- Those who travel to Panama with an air ticket, and do not require visa, Decree 167 attached states it is $517.00. 2- For those that require stamped visa in Panama's Consulate abroad before entering Panama, those will pay $1,022.00, and 3- Those who require stamped Visas to enter Panama after verification by Panama's Homeland Security Council, those are restricted nationalities (Cuba, India, China, etc) those pay $2,102.00. Reading thoroughly Decree 167 of 2016 already states that when this 2 year permits expire, ID's may be extended with requirements based on Executive Decree 169 of 2015 (which has almost the same requirements and prices). But, eligibility seems to depend on having entered one year before June 3 of 2016 to Panama. As I said before the government has not clarified the matter. Give me your like, if this helped will ya? Carmen Pan Global Legal Services
  15. 4 points
    Danielle/Olga With all the due respect I dont think that having lived some years in Panama and having been married with a Panamanian give her the truth about Panama and Panamanians. She has written so many things that are not correct, biased and with wrong and false information. I did posted a couple of times some corrections of her posting but .... looks like she didnt like it to much. That is why I did mainly participated at Boquete.Ning. Just to clarify facts and information given wrongly to the members. But you know what I got tired of this and did not really care any more. I was one of the couple of real panamanian participating at Boquete.ning giving information, facts and help to many members of NIng.
  16. 4 points
    Vietnam 45 years and 20 days ago I came home. Would I do it again? NO WHY? This war had nothing to do with our national interest or in defense of our nation. Unjustified wars kill innocent soldiers and civilians. Are there justified wars? Yes. 45 years and 20 days ago I came home to the USA. Too many sleepless nights with nightmares in the past 45 years. Have a nice memorial day everyone. LikeShow more reactions CommentShare
  17. 4 points
    Under Lee's guidance, participation, collaboration, and even dissension were encouraged which provided a wealth of information and a broad spectrum of opinion. All of which made .ning a true community forum, imo. I also miss our always friendly chats and verbal jousts that were exchanged when we would bump into each other.
  18. 4 points
    Silence was a great indicator that something was wrong. No emails or phone calls came from our long time friend. We were unable to communicate with him in any way. Just recently, we saw a post on another site, that forced us to realize our greatest fears. Our friend had passed. The purpose of this message is to memorialize Joe Sudol, in the best way we can. Although Joe lived in the area for much longer than many of you, he was not well known. Joe had a few close friends, but did many things for people in the community that went unnoticed, by his own design. One example of this was a young man that did yard work and wanted to attend the police academy. At that time, the candidates needed to pay for their own uniforms, as well as other expenses. Joe and another man got together and provided these items. What seemed like a long time passed, and Joe being Joe, began to wonder if he had been taken. One day, he was told that someone was at the gate to see him. Joe approached the gate to find a newly installed member of the local police force, grinning at him. While Joe would never purchase a drum for a school age child, claiming there were far too many already, Joe silently did more than his share, in a very direct manor. When my friend Alison gave me a sad example of the need for shoes, for school age children. Joe helped me to deliver the containers of shoes that my husband and I shipped in our container. Many were handed out through the dental unit through Mario and Linda, but Joe knew the need on the back roads. Many shoes were tried on and handed out via the tailgate system of our pickup truck. Joe also enlisted the help of Rod, who owned a shoe factory, in bringing in shoes to help our "soles for souls" project. Joe helped me get settled into our new home, while Jim was back in Missouri for the first six months. He taught me how to shop, showing me the ropes of David. He mowed, hung pictures and taught me how to cook in the Panamanian style. He showed me how to plant my first pineapple top and later shared it with me. Joe loved nature, feeding dogs and hawks alike. He had a special love of hawks and claimed he never observed them taking out birds, sharing their space, as the hawks were well fed. Joe knew all the out of the way places to fish and enjoyed going there on his own. He loved the beaches. He loved the people. He loved life. He and I shared a history of retiring from teaching. Financial planning was another one of his professions, in later years. Joe enjoyed that back roads on his motorcycle and would travel into areas most expats had never seen. If you had discussions with Joe, you know that you were not likely to change his opinion on anything, anytime soon. Hopefully, he approves this memorial and is smiling down, with a good cigar in his mouth. Kira and Chelsea, I know he will live on forever in your hearts. With the best of memories, friends Abby and Jim Lofgren
  19. 3 points
    I know all of us here in Boquete who were living here when the two gals form Holland went missing are saddened and dumbstruck at the same time that a tragedy such as happened to this young woman could yet again happen here. I say this because so much was publicized of the dangers of hiking alone. She was young bright and no doubt saw no danger in a jungle trail off in the middle of nowhere. She most likely may have trusted a person she should not have. I was like that when I was her age. All I can say is I'm sad...period. This is such a shame. My heart goes out to all those who mourn for her .
  20. 3 points
    I also got some private messages validating what I said, but I saw how I could have misinterpreted the comments. That's why I posted the story about the woman who worked at Home Depot, to acknowledge that things aren't always as they appear. I'm glad you cleared that up Bud, because you aren't the kind of person who would blame the victim, so I was puzzled when I read that. That and a couple of similar comments bothered me so much, I finally had to say something, because I was thinking, "Please people, don't go there!". Sorry I misunderstood you.
  21. 3 points
    JimandNena, Security is, indeed, the responsibility of the owner/resident. However, I think that your assessment is a little bleak. Yes, any security measure can be defeated but the all take time. The more difficult you make it to get into your premises, the more likely the maleante will go somewhere else. Unfortunately some people have a Polyanna attitude, i.e. It won't happen to me. Others either don't want to, or cannot afford to spend the money to add security systems. In my area the two houses that were invaded had little or no security and, most likely, the bad guys knew that and chose the softest target. Happens all the time with thieves, they are notoriously lazy and will always pick the low hanging fruit. You talk about the level of security as an "unknown", that is not really correct. Stage your house in circles, outer fence, dogs trained not to accept food from strangers (yes, it can be done) inner electric fence, yard alarms, lights, sirens and finally, an interior alarm, although I am not a big fan of those, too little, too late. Then on to personal security, whatever you can handle. Guns, knives, stun guns, high intensity flaslights and safe rooms. Again, yes, all of these can be defeated, but at the cost of negating the surprise factor. Do not rely on police response, they are merely after the fact report takers. Having said all of that, this place is relatively safe but, people being people, they will want what you have. A thief is merely a worker doing a different kind of work. Make it difficult for him and he will look elsewhere.
  22. 3 points
    Reading Marian's post (thank you Marion for taking the time to write and for including so much detail), it makes me wonder if it is safe to sell one's house "by owner". Wouldn't that be a great opportunity for someone to come and rob you, or worse? She said "Andy Singer" wanted to look at her property for sale, and it turns out he might have been Wild Bill, who might have partners in crime on the outside staking out houses for sale in order to rob the owners who are showing it. This is a nightmare tale, and Marian is a mighty brave lady. The criminal "justice" system here is disgraceful.
  23. 3 points
    I received an email from Marion yesterday after she saw this thread. Among other things, she wrote: " In my case the youngest of the intruders (14) who stabbed me was given a slap on the hand and released. The older teenager who shot me twice, I think was 17. He was held for some time but eventually released before he went to trial -- or so I have been told." Further, she wrote: "Perhaps if I felt that "justice would be done" and the perpetrators of the stabbing and shooting would be imprisoned to protect other people, I might still be in Chiriqui. As it was, with one of the intruders released immediately, I felt, after 15 years, that I had to leave. I am now in Mexico, living in Playacar with guard houses at all entrances to this beautiful residential area, renting an apartment in a complex with gates and 24/7 guards -- I never ever wanted to live in a guarded community -- but finally I feel safe." It is the feeling of many, based on experience, that crimes against gringos by Panamanians are not vigorously investigated or prosecuted. Again, no one has come forth with even one example to the contrary even though, over the ten years I have lived here, there have been numerous instances of these crimes. Other crimes appear to be successfully prosecuted and the perpetrators incarcerated, as evidenced by the high number of inmates in the jails here. What kind of message does this send to the criminal element?
  24. 3 points
    People can draw whatever message they like from this experience. I drew three things. One, when you report a crime, be prepared for a long, time-consuming process with which you are unlikely to be satisfied. Secondly, if the Panamanian security forces really want better crime reporting, they need to look at their own procedures first so as to encourage rather than discourage people from filing. Finally, as has been said many times by security-minded persons and organizations here, you are your own best provider of security. I have no reason to believe that Captain Espinoza is not a well-meaning, dedicated law enforcement official. But the system itself is not supportive of his declared aims.
  25. 3 points
    I understand your intentions, S.S., but I think Keith is probably right. Your experience with how to approach politicians is American. It's different here. A good Panamanian friend warned me long ago never to raise "official" issues (jokingly or not) in a social setting as, in Panamanian etiquette, it is considered rude. A friendly visit to the Mayor's office--without a lawyer and media--would be the correct move. And it would be made easier since you already know the Mayor and have found success with this approach.
  26. 3 points
    I would offer the following in response to the complaints: 1) I've never noticed that the parking in David is abundant. There are quite a few among us who have physical limitations that prevent walking long distances, particularly over the imperfect sidewalks and streets. I find myself bitching about this, too. But I've noticed that only prolongs the aggravation. 2) As to computer skills, there's no one who can help them if they won't help themselves. 3) Same with language and assimilation. Why did they even bother to move here? 4) Boquete is too small to support a movie theater. 5) The best way to meet like-minded friends is not in the local bar. Most of my friendships developed, and developed quickly, by joining charity groups. People everywhere are cliquish. All of us choose to be with those with whom we're most comfortable. That is different, of course, from downright prejudice, but I've run into very few people here who exhibit prejudice toward others without even knowing them. 6) Prices rise over time everywhere. It sounds like at least some of these folks moved here strictly for financial reasons. Poor planning and poor decision. The bottom line is that there is little to nothing we, as extranjeros, can do to change any of these things. (Of course, short term bitching sometimes is cathartic.) I saw this on Facebook today: "When you can't control what's happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what's happening. That's where your power is."
  27. 3 points
    I think the hype is unconscionable. Among its worst aspects are that many people end up in financial ruin after selling everything and moving only to discover living abroad unsuitable for a variety of reasons seldom addressed in the hype. Then, they often lose money or haven't sufficient money to return home. Another issue is that the hype encourages people to expatriate who should never live in a foreign country. In my role as U.S. Warden, I received a call on Christmas Eve about a U.S. expat who had suffered a stroke and, having no insurance, was in Hospital Regional. Her husband, who suffers from dementia, had wandered into a neighbors' house. These folks should be home where family and/or social services would have helped them.
  28. 3 points
    They make it sound so easy. Only 4 hours to Houston, 2-1/2 hours to Florida from Panama City! What they don't say is first you have to get to Panama City, then wait maybe 4 hours for your next flight, because if you don't take the early flight from David, you will miss the international flight. So a 4 hour trip to Houston, factoring in the time of driving to David and all the waiting, is actually 12 hours. It took me 16 hours to get to San Antonio, and 19 hours altogether to get to Seattle. You're right B, it is hype.
  29. 3 points
    Ok now! Let's all get along, and move along, to our great life here in Panama. This discussion has been beat to death and frankly I don't give a dam what they do on Boquete ning anymore! That's why we have this awesome site: Chiriqui Life! Right? And now, back to our regularly scheduled program! PLEASE!
  30. 3 points
    Agreed, Keith, and most wholeheartedly!
  31. 3 points
    Danielle Many of us were not banned from NING for bad behavior. Some of us were banned simply because we were friends with Bud and Marcelyn
  32. 3 points
    SO concerned? Hardly. Posts about .ning rarely appear here anymore since so many of us were banned from that site for minor infractions. To say that posts over there are the responsibility of the person posting is disingenuous, as MANY conversations over there have been closed down solely at the whim of the moderator(s). At a certain point, I think, when the content that appears there becomes blatantly racist, there is a good reason for stepping in to stop it. As others have said, it reflects poorly on both the site as well as the community we live in. I would post a couple of pictures from the thread I referenced, but they are SO over the top offensive that I'll leave it to you do your own research.
  33. 3 points
    Whoa. Let's do a little time out on this. First, Penny has always added the News Boquete postings to CL. That has been a bone of contention in the past from some people who feel that it is redundant to their other information sources. So be it, but this post seems to be consistent with what Penny has been doing. Second, the OPs may not be using perfect grammar, but what they have used is far better than the Spanglish grammar used by most gringos. I have an admiration for anyone who appears to be striving to make an honest living, and I'm not going to look for a snake under this rock. Lastly, I do not expect CL admins to vet every post on here. In fact, I would probably drop this site from my reading list if I found out that they were over-extending their censorship abilities and providing "truth" as they determined it. Sorry, but this hit too many of my hot buttons to let it pass without stating an opinion.
  34. 3 points
    When I came to Panama in 2003, bananas were 3 for $.10. In the last several years they've been $.10 each. This morning my produce clerk told me he had to start selling them be the pound for $.50/lb. How many bananas in a pound I asked. The answer is 3 or 4. This is a 500% increase in the price of bananas in the last 13 years. The same is true for other commodities. Rice had doubled in price until price controls were introduced. I honestly can't understand how a $400/month employee feeds his family. These price increases are just a nuisance to most of us who draw a social security check. However, to Panamanians, they are devastating. One of the small things we can do is to support the Buenos Vecinos de Boquete food distribution program. Rising prices have badly hurt their ability to provide a subsistence quantity of food to their desperately poor and handicapped clients. They are an all volunteer organization and stretch every donated dollar. They deliver food to more than 100 local families monthly. The next time they send out their "Family of the Month" plea for donations. Please reach into your heart and your pocketbook. You can adopt a family, get to know that family, and provide other assistance on a face to face basis. So much better (up close and personal) than a routine donation to United Way in your native country.
  35. 3 points
    The transformer in my neighborhood has been making very loud explosions this morning. Three in a row with the electricity going out for about 10 seconds each time before coming back on. This booming has all the dogs in the neighborhood cowering and is very disconcerting. Plus my neighbors report that flames shoot out of their electrical outlets each time it happens. My experience in the past is that Union Fenosa is not real responsive to calls for help. This morning I decided to put the matter into Rodny's hands. Union Fenosa was on my street within 30 minutes searching for my house. Between calls between me, Rodny, and the Union Fenosa driver we got him to the right spot and they're here right now with their ladder up the pole. Good work Rodny !!!!
  36. 3 points
    Bonnie Williams mentioned to me that some people have commented to her that they think the procedure followed for someone dying in Boquete (at home) is different than what she explained in her post about Larry dying in the hospital in David. Having just gone through that experience of my husband dying at home, I want to say that except for a few details, what she explained applies to a home death too. Here is the procedure I went through. It might be useful to know. Sam's death was not unexpected. He was not sick in the sense of needing doctors and ongoing medical care, so he did not have an ongoing relationship with a doctor. If a person dies without a doctor having known his condition, the police can get involved, and an autopsy can be ordered to rule out a crime. Wanting to avoid such a horror, I called Dra. Diaz and asked her to come and examine Sam so she could verify his condition, make a record, and establish a relationship, however brief. It was worth the effort, because when he died, I called her to pronounce it, and everything went smoothly - no police, no autopsy. If you do not have a relationship with a doctor in Boquete, make an appointment and get examined to establish a medical record so the doctor will know who you are if you die. Prior to Sam's death a person from hospice who is fluent in Spanish called the funeral home to alert them. She called them again when he died, and asked them to pick up his body. Dra. Diaz filled out the Report of Death which I gave to the driver of the hearse. I did not have to do anything, and I did not pay until I picked up the ashes. I did not have to go to the funeral home or to the Tribunal Electoral. The funeral home (Retiro, the same one Bonnie used - excellent professional operation) took care of everything - transporting the body from my house to David, transporting the body to Panama City for cremation, bringing the ashes back to David, and getting the death certificates from the Tribunal. There was a 2-day turn around time. They called me when they had the ashes. I went to David and paid them in cash, collected the ashes and the death certificates, and went home. Different funeral homes might have different procedures. I know only about the procedures of Retiro and would recommend them, because they made the whole experience stress-free and dignified. Above all, if a death is expected, get Boquete Hospice involved. Their help and support was beyond valuable. I don't know what I would have done without them.
  37. 3 points
    I just received the following email from Karinthia Lamastus, who is the manager of eShop Boquete. I am posting her email with her permission. My interpretation of this message is that this action by Panamanian officials affected ALL carriers, such as eShop Boquete, MBE Boquete, Airbox Express, etc., etc., for the specified time frame.
  38. 3 points
    I believe that Lee used to pay for Ning annually every year in July. The current Ning hosting fee based on having more than 1,000 members and less than 10,000 memebers is $600 per year. It appears that all of the old sponsors have not renewed their advertising. Currently there are two local sponsors and one non-local sponsor listed, all of which appear to be fairly new ads. For awhile there was an ad giving an email address to write to if you wanted to be an advertiser (sponsor); however that email address in fact did not exisit. After a few weeks it was removed. My guess would be that as it is time to pay the annual hosting fee, they will be looking for sponsors and/or donations. It would not surprised me to see JLM asking members for donations. Perhaps the long term "Ning is awesome" cheerleaders can now put money to their words and help pay JLM for the service it provides. Without enough revenue from advertising, they will need to find another source of revenue to cover the basic costs of hosting and whatever they are paying Ambreen and Olga. I doubt JLM will continue to just give the Boquete Ning forum to the community as a free service if they do not find a way to either make money or at least cover expenses. It is a reminder to all Chiriqui Life members that community forums like this one have expenses. Those that use this forum owe Bud and Marcelyn a big thank you as they donate the entire cost of hosting and operating this forum.
  39. 3 points
    Earlier this year, I started blocking my FB friends who overdo it with political comments. I'm really hopeful that I can unblock them after the elections. p.s. I'm not happy with how we are being governed, and I'm not happy about our choices for future governance, but the social networks, including CL, will lose their intended purpose if political discussions are uncontrolled. I use the comment blocks in the internet news stories to vent my steam, and those comments are only read by people who want to read them.
  40. 3 points
    I enjoy the CL comments from Keith Woolford. Always well documented and current information. Too bad you have such a narrow view. If you don't enjoy his input then just don't read it. I think this website lets you automatically ignore someone.
  41. 3 points
    Why is it ''suspicious'' to require information about a group which solicits cash donations? Not everyone knows about this organization. If anything is ''suspicious'', it is a group unwilling to provide information about itself and its purpose.
  42. 3 points
    Met about a dozen Cuban refugees on my last border run at Paso Canoas in March at La Morenita Hostel on the Panama side. I was impressed with most of these 25 to 35 year olds trying to make a better life for themselves and their families. Two English teachers were faced with earning $25 per month as professionals with degrees and both worked in the casinos where they made more and received tips. Doctors earn about $50 per month in Cuba. While I am certain there are "dead beats" among these refugees looking for a hand out from the US, I would welcome any of the Cubans I met into my home.
  43. 3 points
    Volunteers in Boquete I remember as a young child (first or second grade), I got into a fight with a friend. As my mom held and comforted me, she gave me a good piece of advice for life: "You know, honey, if you want your friends to be nice to you, you have to be nice to your friends." Several months ago, I volunteered for a project with an organization, was told repeatedly that I was doing a wonderful job, and then I was fired. Abruptly. No warning. No explanation. No thank you for the work I had done. When I wrote to say how destructive this action had been to me, this organization let me know what they thought of me. Nothing. I was never dignified with a response. When I told others about my experience, I was saddened to learn that although there are some organizations here in Boquete who treat their volunteers like the gods and goddesses they are, many don't. Here are some examples of other volunteers who have had bad experiences. "I kept showing up and they weren't organized so I sat around doing nothing and waited for them to get their stuff together. My time is valuable- but not to them." "I love what they do. But they don't treat their people well. Maybe it's a power thing. They feel like they don't need to be nice since they have a lot of volunteers, so they're not." "They didn't train me and frankly the job they gave me was a bad fit for me. They called me on the carpet and told me I wasn't trying hard enough. I was humiliated." "I told them about a serious problem I was having with another volunteer and they just ignored me." This list could go on and on. But I'll stop here. Do your own experiment. Ask people who have volunteered how they were treated, and I guarantee that in addition to hearing good experiences, you too will get horror stories from hurt/angry folks. It ain't pretty. When we first came to Panama 13 years ago, there really weren't any volunteer agencies except for fund-raising organizations like the 20-30 charity. As Boquete residents saw so many needs in the community, grass roots efforts began to grow. Soon, animals were being neutered and hungry were people being fed. As needs were recognized, volunteer organizations began to grow. I'm amazed and awed by their dedication and service. But I am also really saddened by the stories I hear of how many volunteers are being treated. Some may argue that these volunteers (including me) should have stuck around and tried to make things better. Somebody told me to develop a thicker skin. But if you want to volunteer to make things better in Chiriqui, there are organizations that help the handicapped, give us great jazz and blues, knit baby blankets, provide care for the sick and dying, help stop crime, lead us toward God, sterilize or rescue animals, feed hungry folk, and share their love of nature, the arts, and photography. What it boils down to is that if these organizations want to keep their friends, they need to be nice to their friends. All the people quoted above quit volunteering at the agencies who treated them poorly and moved on to other volunteer opportunities. Why stay friends with someone who isn't nice to you? Folks who volunteer do so because they like the social interaction, they like the feeling that giving to others gives back to them, they like the satisfaction of seeing their good works come to fruition in all sorts of ways: people dancing to good jazz, a once abused dog finding a good home, a dying patient finding solace at the end of their life, or a new born baby all cuddly and warm in a hand-knitted blanket. Those agencies who cultivate and keep their volunteers happy are those who thank them and then thank them again- verbally, in writing, in their newsletters, with certificates or other tokens of affection and with parties. Parties are a huge way of saying thanks: these celebrations encourage their volunteers to eat drink and be merry, have fun with all these other folk who are as wonderful as you are for giving so much. Volunteers also like to hear how they've made a difference. Not just in statistics, but in individual stories of the positive ways they have impacted the community. But the most important thing is for a volunteer is to feel that his/her specific gifts are being used and are being appreciated. That their time and talents are valuable to and respected by the cause that they are giving their blood sweat and tears to. That when there is a problem (and as long as there are people, there are problems), that they will be listened to and some kind of action will be taken- even if it isn't what they necessarily envisioned it to be. That the friends that they have been nice to are being nice back to them. My next blog will highlight an agency in town who has a reputation for doing superb work and treating their volunteers well. Amigos de Animales.
  44. 3 points
    Having left friends and family behind, folks moving here often experience feelings of alienation and loneliness. As a resident of Boquete for over nine years, I offer the following suggestions for assimilating into the community as a whole: become a volunteer for one or more charitable or civic organizations and attend functions that support those organizations. Most have a broad membership base and more participants than you are likely to come to know through neighborhood and special interest groups (although those are important, too). Among the many charitable and civic organizations are Amigos de Animales de Boquete (spaying and neutering of dogs and cats); ARF (adoption, rescue, fostering, and feeding homeless dogs and cats); Boquete Community Players, better known as BCP (community events center); Biblioteca de Boquete (library, educational, and cultural center); Boquete Knitters and Quilters (making warm garments for infants and children of impoverished families); Buenos Vecinos de Boquete (feeding the handicapped and impoverished); Fundacion Pro Integracion (serving the disabled); Rotary Club (supporting the community primarily through education and water availability support); the Santa Lucia Kids Camp (providing summer activities for children). There are others that have slipped my mind in my haste to post this, and I invite responders to mention and promote them here. All need helping hands, particularly as their founders and original members grow older and are less able to participate as fully as they once did. When you support these organizations, you not only are making a better community but also are making friends, lots of friends. You are truly becoming a part of the community. The same goes for financial support via attending fundraisers. There are notices throughout the year for functions--patio sales, book sales, bake sales, wine tastings, parties, dinners and food contests, etc., etc.--all of which provide perfect opportunities for meeting people and building a friendship base. Remember too that the above organizations depend on community financial support to continue their vital work. If you make a commitment to become more involved, you can start with attending the Tropical Treats fundraiser for Buenos Vecinos this very weekend. Many other fun fundraisers are in store for the coming months. Boquete makes it easy to assimilate while building a better community for all residents. We oldtimers have found that when we work together, we get things done and make friends.
  45. 3 points
    Keith You never stop to surprise me!!!! I do like when you post useful information for the members of the site. You are my chiricano-canadiense amigo.
  46. 3 points
    It's not difficult to see why you find the topic interesting, Roger. When someone suggested recently that I write a book about the adventures and misadventures of expats here I asked them how many volumes they wanted.
  47. 3 points
    It's been my experience that Olga is not open to the ideas of others. Sharing with her will be a waste of time, as she thinks she has all the answers.
  48. 3 points
    Nata, Panama is a few minutes before Penonome traveling East. Very interesting church. Couple blocks off of the InterAmericana Hwy to the right in Nata. Serious history here. The Church was established in 1520 and has never closed it's doors. All structual inside is original and pews are original.
  49. 3 points
    Phyllis First, I must apologize for my bad english. I am a better writer and have better redaction skills in spanish and I am so proud of it. I do agree with you that "Opinions are only that.... opinions, but not facts." I will be interested in knowing if you have had the oportunity to visit some schools in Chiriqui, Azuero provinces and Panama City to have an unbiased and real opinion. Is in the field where we could get the real feel and taste of what is hapenning. My scientific training and education has taught me that I only should believe in facts that I could see and confirm. Newspaper articles. Yes, sometimes they are good and sometimes they have their particular agenda. It depend mostly on the owners and who is in the government. Some news are right and correct and other just some half truth just to follow and editorial line with politics goals. With this I am not denying that there is a problem in the educational system in Panama. I am not blind. I admit it. That we must do something soon and do the changes required for a modern education but hold on, that is not a blank check for new theories that need a better and deep scrutiny of the people who really knows about this subject. Some changes proposed are not as good as we thought and I have read some of those past proposal. Teacher and educators should leave their political position and work to a common goal as a country not for any specific political party in the improvement of the education system in the country. Being myself a harsh critic of any government policy that doesn't think and work beyond government's five years period in power, I know that the way we are educating our young people is not the one what we need as a country that is looking for becoming a better and "developed" country. The country will continue its growth despite of what we say or think but the real problem is the balance of the oportunities. The "democratization of the education". Only the kids that graduates from private schools will have the biggest chance of a better education and better quality of life. The others, if they dont do something by themselves will be forced to have a poor education level and as a consecuence of that their chances of having a good job and better quality of life will be very limited. It is not a matter if I am right and you are wrong. This goes beyond who is right or wrong. It has to do with REAL facts. Facts that some people in this country face everyday and sees them everyday. I am still active working and walking around business Panama and what we see and feel is real. Despite of that, I am not pesimistic. I still have high hopes in some young people in Panama and their good education they have.
  50. 3 points
    Phyllis: You can't judge a forest because of one tree. That would be the case of that teacher that you talked to. It will be a shame for his/her as a professional to admit that it is the way he/she is working. It means that he doesnt care about students. He got the position because he/she needed the money and that's all. If the kids dont pay attention to what he/she is doing or teaching is because he/she is a bad professional that didnt know how to talk and control a bunch of kids in his/her classroom. That is a cheap excuse in my opinion. Unfortunatelly that is the way of thinking of the new generation of teachers in Panama that dedicate more time to their groups, unions and associations that realy caring about the quality of education they are giving to their students. They are oriented to the left but their behaviour damage the opportunity of low income people that couldnt afford a private education. Most or the teachers working in private schools also work on public schools. Why there is a difference in the quality of education? Well, I guess that first in the private school they are tied to labor laws and they are evaluated on performance. If they are not good they will be fired. Something that couldnt be done in public schools because they have an union that will promote any kind of bad actions and protect bad teachers in the system. I know that the public education system in Panama is bad and need a lot of things to be done but in general I don't considered it "atrocious" if we REALLY compared it to other educational systems in the area. Regarding the ranking... hummm well I got my reserves about it. I didnt have right now available the ranking table to make my comments about it but I also manage the Competitive Index that besides all the bad stuff and things we have criticized about Panamanians and Panama's education place the country above several countries in Latin America. That could mean something. I think the issue here is the "equality of the education in Panama". Even in the public system the quality, depth and coverage of the education is not the same in some schools in Panama City and some schools in Churuquita Chiquita up in the mountains of Cocle. For example there is a public school in Panama City that has high standards in their teachers, students and systems. They used to be called the Public School that looked like a private school. What was the difference there? The mystic that the Principal and the team of teachers have. Their recruitment requisites for students are very strict. The schools has very strict discipline and grades requisites. Regarding private schools or private education. Things are different. Private schools have their own plans that should be submitted to the Ministerio de Educacion. Let me tell you. You will be surprised. The best probe we have is that all of the students that graduate from private schools and go to USA, Canada, Europe, etc pass the tests for admissions at those universities with good grades or points. I have to admit that we in Panama use this and all other arguments to force governments to put more attention on some specifics area of our country's economic and social development. As a former businessman and member of some business organizations in Panama I know what I am talking first hand and not because of hearsay or someone told me in a coffee meeting. I got four kids that graduated from private schools in Panama and being so critical and strict as I am I could tell you that I am very satisfied with the investment I did with them. If things were so desesperate as some people write and think. This country would be in a very caotic situation worst than very poor and critical countries. So things are not so simple and dramatic as some people think or believe they are. I am not a "professional teacher" but I do coaching and seminars and I know very well the situation and what I am talking. Facts first is the key for good analysis.