Temas Especiales

12 de Aug de 2020


Transport horrors near the end?

The horror story of our existing transport system continues, another drunk bus driver. Another crash as the Diablo Rojo rushed through t...

The horror story of our existing transport system continues, another drunk bus driver. Another crash as the Diablo Rojo rushed through the streets of Calidonia. More passenger injuries, but this time, no deaths. But be sure fatalities are waiting in the wings.

To cap it all the driver owed $3000 in fines for previous infractions. Hark back to the last blitz on drivers after 18 people were incinerated in a bus in Panama City, and drivers galore were found owing fines in excess of $1,000. Many of them are still behind the wheels of badly serviced, polluting, speeding, vehicles.

The new director of the Transit system, Sandra Escorcia, has promised tougher new regulations, including bigger fines. We hope she can deliver, but Sandra, more rules won’t solve the problem. The magic word, as we have mentioned before is ENFORCEMENT. Maybe you can introduce a bonus system so that the transit police, can add to their new salary base, by actually monitoring the traffic on the roads. Even a modest increase in tickets would be a profitable return on investment, and the bonus should be withheld until payment is received, an incentive to improve collection. It might also contribute to the reduction of coimas. After all, by paying the fine you will help reduce the family expenses he mentioned while writing the ticket.

Time was, in another city, when I had some outstanding parking tickets. On a Sunday afternoon, a knock came on the door, and I was presented with recently issued increased fines, and a bench warrant. The cops graciously told me that I could avoid the cells at the local police station by hastening around and paying up. Thank God for ATMs. I hit the machine and the police station in a time that would have challenged Jamaican speedster Usain Bolt. It was a salutary lesson.

La La Land. It’s no wonder they call Los Angeles La La Land. The bankrupt city in a bankrupt state, where they are cutting services to the poor, the needy and tax paying citizens, spent $1.4 million dollars on the Michael Jackson memorial extravaganza. The funeral, which cost a lot less, was held privately and was presumably paid for by the family. They will now return to enticing lawyers as they battle over the pop-star’s will.

Facelift or Facebook. There was once a time when people kept private diaries. They even kept them with locks on to keep the prying eyes of parents or spouses away. The secret revelations of the rich or famous, sometimes came to light in biographies, but while they lived what the diary contained was literally a closed book. There are wonderful examples of couples, each keeping journals with revealing notes on their “beloved” partners. Count Leo Tolstoy and his wife Sophia were famed examples.

Then came the Internet, and blogs. Millions of people recording their lives: “Got up. Had breakfast. Went back to bed” for all the world to share. Web sites followed and spawned news letters, masquerading as journalism, often vituperative. Panama has more than its fair share of these. But the grandaddy of them all, if you can call the latest arrival grandaddy, is Facebook, and its spin offs. Hundreds of millions have rushed to post personal details, gossip and more, and barely a day goes by without me getting another request to be a “friend” of someone I haven’t yet classified as an acquaintance.

But beware what you share. Big brother would have loved Facebook, where people voluntarily reveal details that in the past were reserved for a priest or doctor.

This sites have become happy hunting grounds for both sides of the law. Criminals recently picked up the arrival time of a Colombian returning to Bogota, set up a phony welcoming party, and robbed him of his life’s savings. If you’ve got something to hide, keep your mug and bio out of the books. Cops are also watching.