Panama targeting endemic corruption
“Initiatives such as the Program for Accounts Rendition and Transparency supported by the U.S. International Development Agency (USAID) ...
“Initiatives such as the Program for Accounts Rendition and Transparency supported by the U.S. International Development Agency (USAID) are helping to eradicate the problem from the country”she said.
During a ceremony introducing the program, Ambassador Stephenson said: “Panama and the United States are partners and allies that encourage transparency, efficiency and effectiveness within their institutions, especially the judicial ones.
“There is a long way to go, but the appropriate measures have been taken.”
Ricardo Blandon from USAID said that the Transparency Program was important for the country, because Panama has signed international agreements to fight corruption. An alliance between the government, the private sector and civil organizations could help the nation to elevate its standards and escape once and for all from the corruption cycle.
He added that the program has helped to put in place public policies that have been established in the plan “Country for Justice,” as well as contributing in the reforms of the Penal Code and in the administration of justice using justices of the peace, who will utilize alternative mechanisms to solve conflicts.
Currently the judicial system in Panama, especially in rural areas is administered by night courts and the so called “corregidores”, who are laymen who try to resolve problems between neighbors and their decisions sometimes can be arbitrary.
The new justice of the peace system will allow lawyers with experience in the urban areas and respected persons in the rural ones to perform that role.
Talking about how long the citizens will have to wait before a real change will be noticeable, Blandon said that it will depend on the political will that exists in the country to be able to implement the appropriate changes in the judicial system and in the State.
The Supreme Court has ordered a series of audits in the different courts to find out what cases have been delayed as well as the decisions given by the courts all over the country. It is expected that some judges will be fired.