President will keep promises
PANAMA. While the incoming president Ricardo Martinelli ponders the many challenges he will have to face in a declining economy, outgoi...
PANAMA. While the incoming president Ricardo Martinelli ponders the many challenges he will have to face in a declining economy, outgoing president Martin Torrijos hastened to spell out his legacy in a TV interview and in newspaper advertisements.
After facing harsh criticism and defending appointments made during the political transition, Martinelli decided to charge back. With the aid of seasoned journalist Judy Meana, now Martinelli’s government spokesperson, the new president reiterates his commitment to comply with the promises made for the first 100 days of his rule.
The “honeymoon” will have to start with the $100 pension for the elderly, a pay raise for the National Police, the construction of the metro and the basic food basket prices.
The last weeks of President Torrijos have been plagued with street protests and corruption scandals, however, in a recent TV appearance, he made a list of the achievements of his administration, praising the Public Infrastructure Community Development Project (PRODEC).
The President also names a raise in the National Human Development Institute (INADEH) from $8 million to $80 million. He didn’t mention that after a mysterious budget manoeuvre, INADEH’s new budget was slashed by 50 percent to allocate the money to another government agency.
Torrijos also takes credit for the Panama canal expansion project, comparing the Canalto oil for Panamanians.
In what could be the most surprising affirmation of his interview, Torrijos claims important advances in transparency and security.
Like Martinelli’s repeated promises, “Zero corruption” was one of his campaign slogans five years ago.
What Torrijos is not taking any pride recognizing, are the human tragedies that maimed his period. The diethylene glycol poisoning, people burnt alive in a city bus, embezzlements in education, and raging delinquency levels are issues he just didn’t include in his polished interview on national TV.
PRD ex-candidate, Roberto Velásquez, said even though the goals of the incoming government are positive, more focus should be put on the areas of health and education. Even though dubious behaviour also tarnished his political intervention, “Bobby” said his party, will make sure the new government fulfill its promises.