A protest in front of SENNIAF offices in Panama City.
Our country, our democracy, our institutions
by the Panamanian Business Executives Association (APEDE)
The Panamanian Business Executives Association, APEDE, expresses its concern about various events that have occurred in the country that put our democracy in play and risk disrespect for our institutions. These events were initiated by the authorities themselves by their failure to carry out their their administrative and control functions, creating greater uncertainty and uneasiness in Panamanian society. In this sense, we want to focus today on three issues that we consider to be priorities:
First: We are concerned about the inaction of the authorities in addressing the demands of communities and organized civil society in the face of various problems, whether or not those demands are justified. As a result of this lack of concrete actions, citizens opt to close the streets, affecting the production and movement of the country and the right of all Panamanians to freely travel. These closures are pressure alternatives that we at APEDE have repeatedly rejected, because they continuously hit an already battered economy. There is a boomerang effect that causes millions in losses to companies, and directly affects citizens who cannot get to their jobs, schools, medical appointments, or to transport products that guarantee the livelihood of our farmers. You can’t make claims of any kind while disregarding the law and the rights of others. We demand that local and national authorities assume greater leadership and establish permanent dialogues with these communities and organizations, in order to guarantee the right of free transit enshrined in Article 27 of our constitution. Let us prevent radical ideological groups from using the legitimate needs of citizens to cause anarchy and chaos.
Second: We reject Bill 550, which proposes a new general regulatory framework for charitable foundations that are run by boards of trustees, along with administrative figures of public institutions. We respectfully request President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen to veto the aforementioned law. The civic clubs are voluntary organizations, with a high prestige and public trust for all of their achievements. They have effectively and efficiently run the patronatos for public hospitals for more than 25 years, during which they have established a culture of merit, away from any partisan political interference.
Third: As regards the public consultation on the Executive Decree “By which Chapter III of Title II of the Single Text of Law 41 of July 1, 1998, General Environment of the Republic of Panama is regulated and the Executive Decrees No. 123 of 2009, No. 155 of 2011 and No. 36 of 2019 and 248 of 2019 are repealed,” we consider it important to point out that as the document has been analyzed by our Environment Commission, it presents important changes that generate high subjectivity in several of the components of environmental impact studies, while establishing responsibilities that we believe should be analyzed more thoroughly and jointly with the private companies that are key actors in this process.
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