Temas Especiales

26 de Jun de 2022


Curbing road gangsters and media ghouls

PANAMA. Gangsters who live by narco trafficking, robbery and other criminal activities tend to kill other gangsters. Road gangsters dr...

PANAMA. Gangsters who live by narco trafficking, robbery and other criminal activities tend to kill other gangsters. Road gangsters driving public vehicles, buses or trucks, kill innocent people.

Following the three vehicle accident that involved a dump truck, a bus (not responsible) and an SUV there was a flurry of surveillance activity, as police started checking out the road worthiness of trucks and their drivers. It brought back memories of a similar blitz on buses after the burning deaths of 18 people in 2007.

That effort quickly faded away. The bus aided carnage continued with a monthly death rate of over four. When you discover that there are truck and bus drivers still behind the wheel, with accumulated unpaid fines. or without a driving license, people tend to wonder what is the point of the check ups.

A colleague relates the story of an accident involving a bus, in which the driver claimed he had hit a car because his brakes were not working properly.

After the police arrived to take notes of the accident, the driver and passengers went on their way leaving my colleague wondering how soon there would be another crash victim, or roadside fatality.

It’s time to get tough on the transgressors. When there’s an infringement, from bald tires, to un-serviced engines, no rear lights, no working signals, no license plates, no license, no insurance and more, pull them off the road at the owner’s expense. Drunk or drugged drivers or those with unpaid fines should be hauled off to the local jail, and kept there until their cases are processed.


The furor over the proposal to move the pre-Lenten carnival to the Cinta Costera continues to grow. Bethania residents don’t want it. They cite traffic jammed streets, public sex, drunkenness, garbage and noise among their objections. Last year they went to court to voice their concerns.

So are the residents of Bella Vista enthralled at the prospect of having the booze fueled party on their doorstep. Are citizens who are learning to enjoy the new greenery thrilled at the prospect of seeing the grass turned into a sandlot, and an extension of the already visible vandalism? And are the inhabitants of the high priced properties overlooking the Coastal Strip, overjoyed at the prospect of free music and blocked sidewalks? The development helped jack up the cost of moving into the area, and at one time residents faced a tax increase to pay for the new park.

The original protests at the poorly thought out reasoning of tourism czar Salomon Shamah supported by Mayor Bosco Vallarino, who still hasn’t figured out how the city is going to pay for the upkeep of the Strip, have increased. Commentators from all sides are now suggesting that the time has arrived for the cancellation of the carnival, and doubt the claims of its boosters that it brings tourism revenue to the city.

During the four days of carousing, restaurants throughout the city are empty or closed, gas stations and stores lose revenue. Is there a net gain?

Footnote. Just as Estrrella and Panama Star writers were honing their Carnival questions for the Mayor, he cancelled a planned visit.


Wholesale prices in The US dropped dramatically last month, helped by a steady fall in oil and gasoline prices. In Panama, 91 octane passed the $3 mark for the first time in months and instead of reduced electricity prices we are threatened with an increase.


You have lost your spouse and two children in a horrific accident, and instead of being left alone to grieve you are faced by a wall of microphones thrust before your face by a horde of “journalists” seeking to record your feelings. So how do you react?

Most people would tell the ghouls to go to hell and walk away, or maybe stuff the mikes down the questioners’ throats.

The thrusting mikes was a real life scene in Pacora, after the deadly crash that killed 24 people last week, including a bus driver and his two children. The broadcast media added to the family’s sorrows with their inhumane treatment.

Whose blood lust were they trying to fulfill? Does a listening or viewing audience get a thrill from viewing the pain of a grieving widow?

Many years ago the NUJ (National Union of Journalists) in Britain, introduced a rule that in the case of a death members were not allowed to approach immediate relatives.

Perhaps it’s time for a law law with a similar intent “in the name of the people.”