Temas Especiales

02 de Jul de 2022


How to spell nightmare

PANAMA. How do you spell nightmare? For many involved in matters relating to driving licenses, car accidents and traffic misdemeanors i...

PANAMA. How do you spell nightmare? For many involved in matters relating to driving licenses, car accidents and traffic misdemeanors it is spelled PEDREGAL. Not the general location where people go about their daily tasks in some of the worst traffic snarls in the city, but the place where The Traffic authority holds sway which is ripe for one of President Ricardo Martinelli ’s unannounced visits.

Others might point to the Immigration office on Ave Cuba, sometimes referred to as Hell on Cuba. But it seems the government is moving to remove that stigma so for today I will stick with the woes in Pedregal. Which take me back to the never ending saga of the motorist who was involved in a collision with a car that was traveling the wrong way down a one way street in Bella Vista. After the traffic police were called the driver of the offending vehicle took off, leading the owner of the other car on a not-so-merry chase to police stations to file a report, several visits to the infamous Pedregal, and attempts to identify the owner via his uncooperative insurance company (Ocean). After much detective work (by the wronged driver) he was finally identified as a person living in Arraijan, but where it was impossible to trace his exact address. When his phone number was finally tracked down, and after some 30 calls contact was finally made, and he promised to turn up in Pedregal to fix a date, for a hearing before a judge.

You guessed it. A no show, after the frustrated owner seeking justice waited for an hour another date had to be set. A trip to the office that made appointments found an empty desk. Empty that is, except for the police cap and a chaotic jumble of papers. In front of the mess sat six others seeking to fix dates. The formal attire of most indicated that they were lawyers. Lucky them, they get paid by the hour, and a long wait is good for the balance sheet. During the next half hour one petitioner departed, another arrived. A uniformed police sergeant strolled in, looked around, and disappeared into an adjoining office. A few minutes later a rotund man in plain clothes, who looked as if some brisk walking on the Cinta Costera or the Amador Causeway might contribute to lengthening his life span, ambled in. He too disappeared into the office. After 30 minutes wait, the petitioner who is the center piece of my story left for the 35 minute crawl back to the city. At the time of writing she was planning another trip to the PEDREGAL nightmare.

I hope the director of the Transit Authority is standing by to accompany our fire breathing president on another crusade against those who are supposed to provide service to the taxpayers who fund their salaries.


For all those who appreciate the few hectares of greenery sprouting between the roads and pathways of the Cinta Costera, and who hope that the city will keep the land pristine, there are black clouds on the horizon. Newly minted mayor Bosco Vallarino has added his voice to the small chorus calling for the new park to be used as the site of the next Carnival. He claims the green is for all the citizens, how right he is. But do the citizens who now flock to the waterfront want to see the green turned into a sandy desert like the median in Via Argentina, where drivers think they can park at will?. Does the mayor remember the parking and garbage problems only a few weeks ago when a local TV station erected a giant screen to show a national football game? Already the Coastal Strip has garbage problems. Is the mayor’s office seeking an opportunity to educate the public?