Temas Especiales

04 de Ago de 2021


Excuse me sir, I am trying to drive

I must start my column by stating how much I enjoy living in your country. Dare I say, possibly more than a native Panamanian. Let me ex...

I must start my column by stating how much I enjoy living in your country. Dare I say, possibly more than a native Panamanian. Let me explain why. Those of you who are born here naturally take for granted the low cost of living, the tropical climate, two beautiful oceans, historical ruins and the most important aspect the friendly Panamanian people.

That said, all this appeal can be very easily tarnished without you realizing it. I am not one of these foreigners who have come here to retire with a well established bank account. I am a worker like many of my readers who are just trying to earn enough money to have a decent way of life.

Furthermore, I am a strong believer in democracy to the point where everyone should have the opportunities to do what ever they want to do as long as they do not break the law of the land, or cause harm or hardship to any other law abiding citizen.

But “What right does any individual have to block a public highway?” Yes, I am talking about protesters. Regardless of your cause be it the ‘Construction Workers Union’ SUNTRAC, complaining about the lack of health and safety on construction sites, to the ‘Professional Technician Union’, wanting a pay increase. Do you really believe that you are getting any sympathy from your fellow colleagues who are just trying to get to and from work to support their families? The answer is ‘No’. What you are doing is blackmailing the government by creating as much chaos and inconvenience to every road user so the public complains so much that they are forced to cave in to your demands. That is not Democracy that is Blackmail.

Also, I do not understand the hypocrisy of the police force. < Sometimes they will dress up in their riot gear to throw tear gas or pepper spray to block the protesters. Other times police come up to them have a friendly chat with the chosen leader and leave, letting them continue their disruption.

I would like to give the protesters this scenario. I am driving along Transistmica and fatally hit one of you (maybe more). I am a law abiding legal citizen in your country. Let us look at the facts. Firstly, you are on a ‘Public Highway’ where vehicles are supposed to be, not pedestrians who are meant to be on the sidewalk. Secondly, I was not driving erratically I was obeying the speed limit and was legally entitled to be on the road, you were not! Thirdly, ‘What are they going to charge me with? ‘Reckless Driving’, I don’t think so.

I am a foreigner who does not speak your language fluently and I have a first world government behind me. What is the worst do you think could happen to me? Yes, I could be extradited back to my native country. That would be a real shame as I love your country. Realistically that is all that would happen. I said at the beginning of this column I am worker like you I have less than four figures in my bank account so it would be pointless suing me.

So, protesters before you head out onto the Public Highway just keep an eye on those 500,000 foreigners who live in Panama as you might never know if you won your cause or not as you could be in the morgue!