Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Moderator_02

The Cortizo Administration and Its Legacy; Insider Corruption; Cabinet Level Ministers Advising Cortizo, etc.

Moderator_02

This topic appears to be directly related to and a rapid reaction to the recent government purchases at bloated prices that led to the quick resignation of Vice Minister Juan Carlos Muñoz. Click Here to see the other referenced topic.

Message added by Moderator_02

Recommended Posts

Quote

OPINION: Change but no change

Posted 25/06/2020

What has changed with the new appointments announced yesterday by the President? On the one hand, it strengthened partisan operators in its work team. The appointments of two vice ministers as heads of their respective portfolios and the daughter of a party patriarch continue to clearly reflect the internal divisiveness of the PRD.

On the other hand, it leaves a taste of more of the same, rather than a tiller turn. The replacement of Turner - the most respected minister, but whose departure was inevitable after the fiasco of the call for a meeting of her party at a local restaurant - with her deputy minister emphasizes the continuity of health policies and strategy of the Government against the pandemic.

But, above all, the most questioned ministers remained in their portfolios. It remains to be seen which side the new team members will fold to.

 Time will allow evaluating the management of the new ministers, but everything seems to indicate that the more things change, the more they remain the same. LA PRENSA, June 25

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-change-but-no-change

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Health Minister ousted in cabinet shuffle

turner.jpg

Rosario Turner paid the price for gaffe

Posted 25/06/2020

Rosario Turner the most who led the team fighting the coronavirus pandemic for more than 100 days and was the most widely respected minister in the cabinet of President Laurentino   Cortizo was ousted as Health Minister on Wednesday, June 24 following a political gaffe last week.

Turner was replaced by Luis Francisco Sucre, who until Wednesday served as vice minister of the portfolio.

"The country has an unpayable debt to Dr. Rosario Tuner, under whose leadership we faced with determination and courage the fight against this dark pandemic (...)," said Cortizo when he announced Turner's departure.

In recent days, Turner was criticized because as a PRD executive, he signed the resolution that called the deputies of that party to a meeting in a restaurant in the midst of quarantine.

Luis Francisco Sucre, the new Minister, gave some hints of his  management in the top spot: " The strategies will vary as time goes by, and we will have to evaluate the behavior of the pandemic and of society.”

He said that not only are businessmen uneasy about the crisis. " Ordinary people t are concerned, Panamanians who need to get out of their house, who have to go to work," he said after praising Turner's strategy in the fight against Covid-19.

The last public appearance of Turner as Minister of Health was in the Budget Commission of the National Assembly, on Wednesday to support transfers of items for $20.4 million to deal with issues related to the pandemic. Part of the money will be used to pay back wages of health personnel, and for food for patients and collaborators of the Luis Chicho Fábrega Hospital, in Santiago de Veraguas.

Several deputies, among them Yanibel Ábrego, of Cambio Democrático (vice-president of the commission) praised her work. They congratulated her on her role in the fight against Covid-19, and without any questions, gave the go-ahead to the millions.

OTHER FLIPS

There was also a change of helm in the Ministry of Social Development: Markova Concepción was replaced by María Inés Castillo, daughter of the former deputy of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), Elías Castillo, now an Assembly advisor

Concepción becomes Panama's ambassador to the United Nations.

The Minister of Housing and Land Management. Inés Samudio was  also shown the door and  replaced by Rogelio Paredes, who was serving as Deputy Minister

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/health-minister-ousted-in-cabinet-shuffle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Se disuelve Comité Asesor creado por Turner; médicos tienen un nuevo rol

El nuevo ministro de Salud, Luis Francisco Sucre, se reunió ayer por más de dos horas con el equipo de médicos en la sede de la entidad y les asignó tareas específicas.
 
Ohigginis Arcia Jaramillo
27 jun 2020 - 12:00 AM

https://www.prensa.com/impresa/panorama/se-disuelve-comite-asesor-creado-por-turner-medicos-tienen-un-nuevo-rol/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

OPINION - Pandemic chivalry

turner.jpg

Rosario Turner

Posted 27/06/2020

With the sudden change of leadership in the Ministry of Health and the creation of an advisory commission at the presidential level, the technical scientific work of the advisory committee that supported the management of the former Minister of Health ceased. That is a political decision, which in no way should ignore the work done and the experience gained during almost four months of fighting the pandemic. It would be highly responsible to continue the advice and scientific analysis ad honorem that the members of that ministerial group shared. The mere presence of any of them guarantees transparency and favors the continuity of successful efforts. It would be a chivalrous act and a gesture of high politics that the ex-minister be invited to join the new presidential committee. The situation we face as a country requires extraordinary measures, including the sacrifices of political vanity and the distancing of vested interests. If a patient needs life-and-death medical care, they will seek out the best doctors, not their friends or favorites. Panama needs the maximum attention from the best talents.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-pandemic-chivalry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Family compacts grow with cabinet oustings

cartoon-28.jpg

Posted 28/06/2020

The ousting of Rosario Turner as Minister of Health and her replacement by her deputy minister has led  to the creation of new family compacts within the ruling administration which, like its predecessors had promised change and accountability.

The public sector seems to be the most important employer in the country and sticky-fingered politicians do not sit idly by. While   unemployment grows amid the coronavirus pandemic and  scores of thousands of private-sector workers with suspended contracts struggle to feed their families, lawmakers ensure that emoluments within the hallowed National Assembly continue to grow and over 200 mayors and other elected officials practice  double-dipping – drawing tax-payer funded  fat paychecks from two sources,

With the departure of three female ministers from the  Cortizo Government Rosario Turner of Health, Markova Concepción, of Social Development and Inés Samudio del Mivi, there were families who were well-suited to the PRD who were well-positioned in public positions and salaries.

It turns out that the new Minister of Health, Luis Fernando Sucre, who was the deputy minister of Turner, has a  brother, Javier Sucre on deputy circuit 8-8 and their sister Imelda Sucre is the representative of the district of Juan Díaz.

Imelda Sucre was the substitute for Javier Sucre, but since he ran for two positions (deputy and representative), the law obliges him to occupy one and his sister was in charge of the Communal Board.

The Supreme Court of 

Justice has declared that running for two positions of popular election is not unconstitutional, but the Electoral Court in its proposal for electoral reforms seeks to change  that.

The monthly salary of the three siblings  in the PRD government must exceed $20,000

But the Sucres are not the only ones within the PRD, with  access to the power circle. The family of former deputy Elías Castillo is not far behind reports Mi Diario.  

It turns out that Omar Castillo , son of the also former director of the Panama Canal is the current deputy Deputy for Javier Sucre and his sister María Inés Castillo, recently appointed by President Cortizo as the new Minister of Social Development.

Minister Castillo's salary must exceeds $7,000 a month and her brother as a substitute has a fixed salary in the National Assembly.

This shows that the country requires constitutional and legal reforms to prevent public management from becoming a family farm

Meanwhile former President Martín Torrijos  (2004 -2009) joined other  voices of the PRD  praising  the work done by the former Minister of Health.

" I am a Panamanian who admires her  vocation for service, her  inspiring leadership, her  ability to be a guide and example, even in the midst of the storm,”  Torrijos said on his Facebook account.

Torrijos said that he joins the citizens who thank the former minister for her sacrifice, her dedication and her love for the country.

Meanwhile Benicio Robinson  who has tapped on the door  of  the political Alibaba’s  cave with $600 baseball bats, is asking PRD  members to keep their rumblings to themselves.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/family-compacts-grow-with-cabinet-oustings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

The "no untouchables" promise

nito.jpg

Posted 30/06/2020

On July 1, 2019, the newly released President of the Republic promised the country an era of good government, fight against corruption and management of the State focused on eradicating the "sixth border" of poverty and inequality. The first half of the government year was abducted by disputes and conflicts within the National Assembly and between this body and the Executive power. After this, Panama fell into the clutches of the pandemic. The government's response to the health crisis demonstrated Cortizo's best instincts and the worst vices of his government team. In just one year, six ministers of state have resigned or left their offices, and countless scandals and controversies have marked the path of the rugged mandate. "There will be no untouchables ...", It was a hopeful phrase from that speech that languishes as an unfulfilled promise and causes the loss of credibility of the current government. The President knows how he can get it back.- LA PRENSA, June 29

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/the-quotno-untouchablesquot-promise-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Pandemia pone a prueba al presidente Cortizo

La incertidumbre por la crisis sanitaria marcó el discurso del presidente Cortizo, que anunció un paquete de ayudas económicas para afrontarla.
 
Yolanda Sa ndoval Aminta Bustamante
02 jul 2020 - 12:17 AM

https://www.prensa.com/impresa/panorama/pandemia-pone-a-prueba-a-cortizo/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

OPINION: Biggest challenge since the Invasion

invasion.jpg

US trooops celebrate the end of Operarion Just Cause

Posted 01/07/2020

The Cortizo administration starts its second year with a confusing and complicated economic outlook. When the current government began, the Panamanian economy was declining. The PRD inherited a tripled public debt, an inflated and inefficient administration and growing unemployment rates. The current government has faced an economic challenge comparable to the recovery after the military dictatorship and the invasion, the pandemic, with more indebtedness and a reduction in state investment.

 The horizon remains cloudy, not only due to the health crisis but also due to uncertainty about the economic recovery strategy. State actions must promote growth, as well as the reduction of inequality. This is affected because there is no clarity about the destination of the loans received during the crisis, which increases the problem of the lack of transparency of the government and makes it difficult for private capital to take risks.

Panama requires a leadership that takes the reins of the country with transparency, consensus and that works focused on raising the national economy – LA PRENSA, Jul 1

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-biggest-challenge-since-the-invasion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Recovery plan slashes pay and perks for ruling elite

cotizo-inthe-assambly.jpg

Posted 01/07/2020

President Laurentino Cortizo and Vice President  José Gabriel Carrizo will take a 50% cut in costs of representation for six months while vice ministers, directors, deputy directors, managers, assistant managers, administrators and deputy administrator will find their monthly checks cut by 25%. 

There will be no allowances for officials who are, members of the boards of government institutions.

The money will be contributed to the “Panama Solidario” plan, which provides food vouchers and bags to people financially affected by the pandemic.

The announcement came during the president’s address to the National Assembly when he introduced 12 "priority actions" of the "plan for economic and social recovery”

Cortizo referred to the Covid-19 pandemic as "the deepest health, social, and economic crisis that our country has experienced ... We are experiencing an exceptional episode in human history and in our homeland. Therefore, this report [to the Nation] has to be different ”.

The majority of the actions announced are soft loans to micro, small and medium-sized companies, and entrepreneurs, who -according to Cortizo- represent 90% of companies and generate more than 70% of the country's jobs. For small agricultural producers, a soft loan program has been created conditional on technical assistance, accompaniment, water harvesting, and agrotechnology, "that is, producing more with less." The program, which in its first phase will have $150 million for loans, will be administered by the Banco de Desarrollo Agropecuario.

Likewise, he spoke of contributing $80 million from the Panama Savings Fund, to reinforce the Housing Solidarity Fund, which consists of the delivery of a $10,000 bonus for the initial payment of people who acquire housing for the first time; Now, that bonus may be applicable to the purchase of residences of up to $70 ,000

A billion dollars will also be contributed to a “special fund to strengthen credit”: $500 million to “guarantee the soundness” of the financial system and another $500 million to finance sectors affected by the pandemic, such as construction, commerce, restaurants, hotels, and industries, among others. Likewise, those companies that have requested not to pay tax based on CAIR, the General Directorate of Revenue (DGI) will authorize the exception for a period of up to 3 years.

Infrastructure projects
Another point of the plan is the generation of temporary jobs through the rehabilitation and reinforcement of buildings and public infrastructure works,“conditioned to use the local labor.”. Another job generator would be the construction Metro Line 3  , which could start in the summer of 2021  and estimated to create 5,000 jobs.

Reopening
Nothing has been heard about the six-phase reopening plan during the past month. The first phase including electronic sales shops, workshops, artisanal fishing, aquaculture, and other services started on May 13 and the- second construction of public infrastructure on June 1. 

Cortizo said that the other four reopening phases will be done “gradually, with prudence and discipline, considering the infection rate of the province or region, the level of risk of the activity, the hospital capacity of the region and establishing rigorous monitoring of compliance with biosecurity measures. "

He stressed the need to find a balance "between health and economics".

Mistakes
"Did we make mistakes? Of course yes. The circumstances are unique and exceptional, as we have never faced a similar situation in the history of the country, "said Cortizo.

“All the decisions that were made and will be made will be to save lives. Doing nothing was never and will never be an option, ” he said.

“Urgent reconversion " of beds is still needed for critical areas in centers managed by the Ministry of Health and the Social Security Fund and he announced a goal  4,000 tests a day; Currently, daily average of 2,500 tests.

Finances
The government assumed a deficit of $2.317 billion in the 2019 budget, and "inherited" debts with contractors and suppliers of  $1,836 billion . To face these debts, "it was necessary to resort to external financing", which is why Panama went out to international markets in July and November 2019 and March 2020, "achieving the total amount of $5.8 billion." He said that in the three months of the pandemic, revenue has fallen $900 million, 50% below budget. It is  calculated that Panama will decrease by 2.2% in 2020 but for the next  year growth of 4.2%

Cortizo noted that his government has cut up to $2 billion in per diem, travel, vehicle purchases and some investment programs.

Cortizo announced the presentation to the Assembly of several bills: one, on "tax relief" for MSMEs, through the establishment of a special reduced income tax regime; another, to expand Ampyme's “improving my business” program, which will increase non-reimbursable seed capital from one $1,000 to $2,000 another, to recognize a 10% discount to taxpayers "who pay on time, and another for the development of" agroparks

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/recovery-plan-slashes-pay-and-perks-for-ruling-elite

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Minister uses  engineer title  without endorsement

sabonge-3.jpg

Posted 03/07/2020

Panama’s beleaguered Minister of Public Works (MOP),  Rafael Sabonge  already under fire for alleged scandals linked to the construction the  Ancon modular hospital  is now facing questions about  his use of the title  “engineer” when  signing documents,

In the official notes signed by Sabonge, his name is preceded by the Spanis h abbreviation (“Ing.”), Which indicates his profession.

The profession, like several others that require high technical levels - is regulated by laws that seek to ensure that those who practice it in Panama are qualified in the matter reports La Prensa.

The Technical Board of Engineering and Architecture (JTIA), which issues the suitability to practice engineering and architecture careers in Panama, as well as for companies that are engaged in the business told the newspaper  “We have no record in the official JTIA registry that Mr. Rafael José Sabonge Vilar… has suitability of engineer to practice in the Republic of Panama

Sabonge's resume - issued by the Ministry of the Presidency when he was appointed head of the Ministry) - indicates that he graduated as an engineer from the University of Texas in Austin.

The IATA  note, indicates that Sabonge's academic degree would not have been recognized by any of the five official universities that oversee private universities in the country and that revalidate degrees from foreign universities.

His CV also indicates that he has been in charge of several construction projects in which he has been “project manager”, including a government building: the current HQ of the Electoral Tribunal (TE).

The work, whose construction began in December 2010, was carried out by FCC Construcción, SA, valued at $29.8 million.

A site manager has responsibilities, such as reviewing plans and designs. A resolution of the JTIA, of April 2016, indicates that to exercise that position you must have the JTIA endorsement.

Anyone who prefers the titles of engineer, architect or technician "without having the respective suitability" commits "infractions" of the law that regulates the legal practice of these professions, typified in the Penal Code as "willful crimes", warned the President of SPIA Marcos Murillo.

"In 2008, I started the procedures to obtain the suitability to practice within my country, procedures that I did not complete," Sabonge said in a note.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/minister-uses-engineer-title-without-endorsement

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Double dipping while others beg

dipping.jpg

Posted 05/07/2020

While much of the country goes through unthinkable financial sacrifices, a privileged group of elected officials enjoys juicy double wages. Generosity with the funds of all Panamanians was established in Law 37 of 2009, allowing representatives of the corregimiento, councilmen and mayors to maintain the full salary of any government institution in which they had worked, through the mechanism of paid leave. . At least half of the mayors with this benefit are current members of the ruling party.

This impudence could be ended soon if the deputies gave their support to the legislative proposal presented this week. In this way, a perverse injustice that insults the large number of unemployed citizens, many without receiving the digital voucher or the food bag, would be ended.

The pandemic is already forecast to raise the unemployment rate to 15% or 20% of the economically active population, implying that some 400,000 Panamanians could be out of work. For this reason, more than ever, decency in government actions and in the regulations that govern us is an element that must shine throughout our legislation and in each of the public servants. - LA PRENSA July 5

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/double-dipping-while-others-beg-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

OPINION - Panama - a country adrift

cortizo.jpg

President Cortizo

Posted 09/07/2020

There is a feeling that the country is adrift. Political leadership, so necessary to guide state action and inform citizens, is nowhere visible. While the spokesmen of different government entities wash their hands in the face of the responsibility of having authorized a "humanitarian" flight, which seemed more like a flight, the emptiness of command in the State is noted.

Who gave the permission? Who authorized the passports, for two fugitives from Panamanian justice? Now that the country's international image is tainted, both by request for extradition of the, "princes" and by threats and persecutions against current and former prosecutors, along with veiled censorship, disguised as civil kidnapping against the company that publishes this medium, The opportunity remains for our current president to give the country a sense of the rule of law, and send a forceful message to his subordinates, his political allies, his donors and the entire population. "Not lie. No cheating. Do not steal. And not to tolerate whoever does it. ” A code of honor that the President of the Republic must comply with. We Panamanians demand that the government act with decency, and that justice work once and for all. LA PRENSA Jul 9

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-panama-a-country-adrift

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

OPINION: When the going gets tough

dinobureau.jpg

Posted 11/07/2020

In May, the payroll for public servants cost $ 375.2 million per month, representing an 8.4% growth compared to the same month, but last year. Despite a reduction of nearly 2,000  employees, the terrible trend of increasing State wage expenditures in times of pandemic confirms that a significant amount of scarce public resources are consumed by the state bureaucracy.

There are no efficiency measures, no performance evaluation, and no merit contests. Nor is there a real administrative career that guarantees that the most committed and talented public servants can dedicate themselves to State affairs. The health crisis has served to show that this state bureaucracy is not equipped for the great challenges of the country. The Panamanian State has had to go into debt to cover the payments for this juicy payroll, which contrasts with the limited resources assigned to the population, to face their needs during the quarantine. Without the improvement of state services, it is not being invested, if not squandering everyone's money.-LA PRENSA JUL.11

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-when-the-going-gets-tough

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...