Modern piracy in consulates
PANAMA. The situation in the consulates is worrying and the government is trying to do everything in its power to recuperate the money ...
PANAMA. The situation in the consulates is worrying and the government is trying to do everything in its power to recuperate the money owe to it.
The Foreign Affairs Minister and Vice-president of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela said: “We have modern piracy in the Panamanian consulates around the world. For example an honorary consul in Spain was selling merchant sailor carnets in Lebanon.”
Varela said that they are too many irregularities in the consulates and currently he is assembling together with the Panama Maritime Authority a team that will go the South Asia to see how the consuls are selling the merchant sailors carnets, the abuses they commit, see if they are issuing the proper paperwork and at the end present a report to the president about its findings.
The Foreign Minister said that the government are going to take punitive measures against those consuls who owe money to the state. “We have two problems, the merchant sailors carnets and the consuls from the Martin Torrijos Adminitration, who neglected to send to Panama money belonging to the state,“ said Varela.
“If we can make adjustment of $50 per carnet the government can generate at least $30 millions that can be used to carry out our programs,” said the minister.
“Our main concern is that they are putting at risk our merchant navy system, because of the behavior of some bad civil servants,” said Varela. The minister said that the country needs to understand how the consulates work, especially the sale of flags and merchants sailors cards. “It is an improvised system that has too many intermediaries that have established their own rules and their business schemes without having the authorization of the the Panamanian government.”
Varela said that specific controls are going to be established to improve performance, so the Panamanian merchant navy system does not lose its prestige.
The minister said that the Panama Maritime Authority has a set price for the merchant sailor carnets, but currently the intermediaries sell them for three or four times more of their original value. “These individuals used to work with consuls in the past and then established their own system without having any controls or guarantees for the the Panamanian government,” said Varela.
The Foreign Affairs minister said that currently the members of the diplomatic corps that are undergoing training, once they take their posts are going to be evaluated once a year in specific subject such as commercial balance, international cooperation, foreign investment, tourism etc. “The ambassadors will have to work. Those civil servants who do not have a good performance are going to be sack.”