Carnival not loved by many
THE LINES. to local call-in radio programs were busy earlier this week as citizens lined up to applaud yet another shoot-from-the hip d...
THE LINES. to local call-in radio programs were busy earlier this week as citizens lined up to applaud yet another shoot-from-the hip decision of President Ricardo Martinelli. This time his target was Panama’s carnival and his statement that the organizers wouldn’t be getting a cent from the government.
Those who whoop it up, at the booze, sex and garbage fest can head for the interior. Last year the carnival cost the government $4.7 million dollars.
Callers from across the city cheered his reflections on what they have been saying for weeks, especially the endangered residents of Bethania, site of last year’s festivities, and those living in Albrook and near the Cinta Costera, who had been threatened with the unwanted celebration.
Mayor Bosco Vallarino, who was playing follow-the-leader when the tourism czar mentioned the coastal strip as a possible site for next year’s bash, has been strangely silent now that the real LEADER has put a damper on the whole affair.
Time to find another bandwagon for his worship.
While the government is seeking to put a new look on the face of the legislature, stories and rumors keep appearing, from illicit sex to distribution of Viagra and a hideaway room for former assembly leader Pedro Miguel Gonzales. It looks about the size of the prison cell that he could occupy if the American government was ever able to try him on murder charges dating back to the early ‘90s.
Never the ones to underline unpleasant facts about a tropical paradise, local realtors must be cringing at the growing security problem. One murder every 12 hours, in a country with a population of little over three million.
Meanwhile my attention was recently drawn to a seminar for would-be expat investors, or settlers. It was organized by a group with only a couple of years on the Isthmus, with another newly arrived American speaking on “culture” in Panama.
The same group on its website espouses maids availability at $150 a month. No mention of social security benefits, hours of work, transportation or other incidentals. The budget given for living in Panama seemed to come from the same dreamland as a recent survey in Britain of world beer prices. Panama led the way with bottled local beer, in bars, at 30 cents.
I’m still looking. In TGFI it is $2.75, most hotels $2.50 to $3, and in a few treasured spots as low as $1.25.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
The decision of President Martinelli to forgo his salary is not without precedent. The newly elected mayor of Doncaster, England, recently took an $80,000 pay cut and is aiming to reduce the city council from 63 to 21.
Mayor Peter Davies said: “If 100 senators can run the United States of America, I don’t see how 63 councilors are needed to run Doncaster.”
He has also nixed the mayor’s chauffeur-driven car and withdrawn from some regional associations which he considers “just talking shops.”Shades of Parlacen.
All food for thought for the new administration.
Some wonder if Panama really needs a government, with legislators AND deputies, and a city Council? Membership of Parlacen, it seems, is following the dodo into extinction, although a small group of former rulers have adopted the stance of another bird with its head firmly in the sand.