Security in midst of the festivities
PANAMA. Panama starts celebrating the much-awaited carnival season amid increasing crime risk. Police forces are out in force, but cit...
PANAMA. Panama starts celebrating the much-awaited carnival season amid increasing crime risk. Police forces are out in force, but citizens are warned to be vigilant.
As the Transistmica was being closed off from the University of Panama bridge to the entrance of Bethania in El Ingenio in preparation for Panama City’s celebrations, and as the exodus to the interior provinces started at the Albrook terminal, “Operation Safe 2009 Carnivals” took force with 15,000 police force members dispersed across the country.
The National Police director, Francisco Troya, is convinced that the carnival operation will be successful.
14 surveillance cameras have been installed in Panama City’s carnival route, on top of 42 cameras installed between Arraijan until Chiriqui.
One helicopter with 8 people capacity and space for one stretcher is at their disposal in case of emergencies requiring evacuation assistance.
Officers of the Health Ministry, the National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC), the Panamanian Red Cross and firefighters are also participating in the police operation.
The Social Security and the Health Ministry will have a total of 139 ambulances distributed in strategic locations across the country. More than a thousand Social Security and Health Ministry employees, among which are emergency medical technicians, ambulance operators, and radio operators, are on duty.
Meanwhile, President Martin Torrijos and presidential candidates are asking Panamanians to have fun while being mindful of their actions as well as that of others.
SINAPROC has also established two command centers to hold security operations across the country. The first will be on Via Bolivar (Transistmica), in front of the La Salle school, and the second will be in Aguadulce, in the province of Cocle.
The Santo Thomas hospital is on alert since 6:00 p.m. yesterday until February 26.
Amidst these measures, Torrijos asked Panamanians to be cautious, and to become the first front of security to combat the delinquency that affects the country.
Torrijos said that the carnival is an integral part of the popular culture of Panamanians, and it is thus the government’s responsibility to provide security during the four days of festivity, yet he expressed his hope that Panamanians would join police forces keep the streets safe.
“I ask everyone that we enjoy these holidays with tranquility and sanity,” he said.
Meanwhile, the two main political contenders for the upcoming presidential elections, PRD’s Balbina Herrera and Cambio Democratico’s Ricardo Martinelli, have been running adds wishing Panamanians safe and fun holidays.
Ricardo Martinelli has said “I hope you have fun, but in a healthy fashion, as your families are crazy for your return.” While Herrera’s radio commercials ask Panamanians to have fun but to take care of themselves, as she needs them to come back to vote for her come May 3.