26 de Nov de 2022

Nacional

Who will fall on his sword?

It should be time for some seasonal warm thoughts, but as the political battles heat up in Panama, and cover ups of major blunders conti...

It should be time for some seasonal warm thoughts, but as the political battles heat up in Panama, and cover ups of major blunders continue, it’s hard to get that love thy neighbor feeling to kick in. Let’s start with the $90 million boondoggle because a group of functionaries, including Pablo Carrido Arauz, the brother of Presidential candidate Balbina Hererra, failed to keep their eyes on the ball.

The brother is Panama’s ambassador to Belgium, where sits the headquarters of the European Union. According to first reports he forgot to file Panama’s routine application for preferential tariffs for local agricultural products heading to the European Community. According to analysts that will cost $30 million a year, and the next renewal is three years away.

The filing deadline was Oct 31, Wasn’t that Halloween? What a nightmare. But it continues, with the buck being passed to and from across the ocean.

And what has happened to the functionaries? Nothing, and don’t hold your breath that justice will ever be seen to be done. Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro told a Chamber of Commerce meeting that now is not the time to be pointing fingers and that the country’s competitiveness will not be affected.

Help has been promised to the producers who will find themselves in a tough position when they find themselves priced out of the market, If help comes in the form of a subsidy, another battle will erupt when the boys and girl at GATT (General Agreement on Tariff’s and Trade) get to hear about it.

In other jurisdictions some would already have fallen on their swords or been pushed. Alas, in our Assembly the broom wielders will be busy sweeping the problem under the carpet, and in time all will be forgotten and forgiven and the taxpayer will cover the shortfall.

A RAY OF HOPE. From millions to pennies. I bumped into a University of Panama student this week, trying to earn money to help pay her fees in the next semester. For 10 cents she would wrap your Christmas gift, using paper carefully hoarded from last year. She had been standing in Central Avenue for over two hours determined to complete her project. What courage and determination.

ROYAL PREROGATIVE A few minutes later I witnessed the royal parade as a fleet of outriders stopped all traffic, to let a fleet of SUVs sweep by carrying the current rulers of the country. What pressing appointment awaited them?

I wondered who the gift wrapper would be voting for next May, or whether she would declare a pox on all their houses.

COMINGS AND GOINGS. Wednesday, Christmas Eve, will be the anniversary of the opening of Petit Paris the patisserie par excellence on Via Argentina. It now has two other locations in Costa del Este and Marbella and has attracted in less than a year, a devoted clientele for the bread, chocolates cakes, and sandwiches it prepares.

There are other new places arriving on the scene including Moat , next door to Arrocha behind the Continental Hotel (that folks is how you describe locations in Panama) and Mojito on Calle 42 near Avenida Balboa. More on both of those in the New Year.

But we also mourn the passing of another favorite, Ma Maison , the much loved wine bar with products direct from Provence.