Death of the Panama Canal Yacht Club
PANAMA:. The 81-years-old Panama Canal Yacht Club, near the French cut in Colon was demolished in the middle of the night by employees ...
PANAMA:. The 81-years-old Panama Canal Yacht Club, near the French cut in Colon was demolished in the middle of the night by employees of Panama Ports Company. Boat owners, employees and businessmen, were evicted and give only only an hour to vacate the premises.
The eviction order granted by the Colon Mayor’s Office was executed a minute after midnight on February 27, to the dismay of those present, who saw with regret the obliteration of a Panama institution, built little more than a decade after the completion of the canal.
Apparently the boat owners were asked to remove their vessels by April 1. Although many of them have already paid for the mooring charges in advance the water and electricity had been cut.
A report in the Yachting Examiner said that several boat owners will be moving to Shelter Bay Marina, across Limon Bay, Colon, which is more expensive, but has better security. Others are planning to take their vessels to marinas in Bocas del Toro.
Meanwhile, on March 5 employees of the now defunct Panama Canal Yacht Club were protesting at the entrance of the Cristobal Port demanding an explanation and compensation from Panama Ports.
One of the businessman affected by the eviction was Alcibiades Arturo Romero, Manager of Marine Warehouse S.A., whose company rented warehouses in the club area.
He said that nobody knew what was going on, because apparently Panama Ports, which is the owner of the concession did not give any notice to vacate, so everybody was surprised when the demolition started.
Romero told the Panama Star: “I rented a warehouse at the Yacht Club and did not have time to retrieve anything. Over the next few days, I have to go the Panama Ports offices to ask for a permit to remove my merchandise.
“After waiting for two hours finally I got permission to return to the warehouse escorted by two Panama Ports’ employees, where I proceeded to remove some of my belongings. The company has given me until March 15 to vacate the storage place.”
An article by Don Winner, published on the blog Panama Guide said that there are some very serious allegations that some of the actions taken by Panama Ports were illegal and criminal, because the eviction took place at midnight.
He also mentioned that the Panama Canal Yacht Club board of directors did not have the opportunity to fight the eviction order and have more time to evacuate the area and give time to boat owners to find alternative mooring places.
It appears that the Panama Canal Yacht Club has been in trouble for a while struggling under the burden of an almost $7000 per month "rent" payment to the concessionaire of the port area of Cristobal, Panama Ports.
The Panama Star contacted Panama Ports to ask for an explanation.
It sent a short statement that said: “Panama Ports Company has only exercised its right to make use of the areas that were given to it in concession through the Contract Law 5 of January 16, 1997.
“The lease contract of the Panama Canal Yacht Club expired a long time ago and for that reason the Yacht Club was occupying Panama Ports’ land illegally.”