Temas Especiales

24 de Jul de 2021

Nacional

Two ousted after missed deadline mess

PANAMA. Blame in the GSP-PLUS case finally rests still, with fingers now pointing to a business affairs agent at the Panamanian embassy...

PANAMA. Blame in the GSP-PLUS case finally rests still, with fingers now pointing to a business affairs agent at the Panamanian embassy in Brussels and several employees at the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (Mici).

Jorge Eduardo Ruiz Villareal from the embassy in Brussels has been dismissed from his job according to Panama’s Chancellor’s office, without specifying his involvement in the missed deadline for the European Union’s Generalizes System of Preferences Plus (GSP-PLUS) fiasco that is costin taxpayers millions oof dollars. Ruiz denies any responsibility.

Panama’s ambassador to Belgium, Pablo Garrido Arauz, brother of PRD presidential candidate Balbina Herrera, and the main target of criticism since word on the administrative negligence leaked out, seems to be off the hook, with no mention by the Chancellor’s Office of any actions to be taken against him.

Meanwhile in Panama, Kelvin Hidalgo and Mabel Del Cid from Mici quit, while Elia Tribaldos, judicial counsellor and the Minister’s Chief of Staff, was dismissed from her job.

Panama had until October 31 to submit a request to renew the fiscal incentive (GSP-PLUS), but it wasn’t until that same day and during Panama’s working hours that the then Commerce Minister Carmen Gisela Vergara sent the request to Europe.

However, the European Union had warned the Panamanian embassy in Brussels as well as Minister Vergara that the deadline was approaching.

In a note sent to Vice-Minister Ricardo Duran on August 28 of last year, 2008, Ruiz Villareal warned that a new request had to be sent.

Yet neither official took the initiative to follow up on the procedures.