The debate on the proposed law contract between the State and Minera Panamá, is one of the most important issues facing the country, due to the impact it could have in an area like Donoso, in the province of Colon says La Prensa which has researched the positions of presidential candidates with less than a year before general elections.
José Isabel Blandón , standard bearer of the Panameñista Party, emphasizes that the contract that has been presented to the National Assembly should be rejected but does not agree with the mine being closed, since he considers that it is already a reality and we must see how the best conditions are negotiated, but less than 60 more years.
Rómulo Roux, (Democratic Change) candidate, thinks similarly but remembers that the mine already exists, and has made a,$7 billion investment, generating 40,000 jobs and representing 5% of the GDP.
“It is the largest private investment in the history of Panama. The contract has existed for six governments. Now the contract has been renegotiated with more benefits for the country. However, during the consultation process, some specific issues have been identified that represent legitimate concerns of Panamanians, such as the issue of land expropriation.”
The latter issue must be clarified, although it requires withdrawing the project so that the government can agree with the company, make those changes, and present it again.
Ricardo Martinelli, candidate for Realizing Goals, spoke along the same lines, stating that if the contract is bad it must be negotiated, but he added that the door cannot be closed to a company that has 7,000 direct employees and 40,000 indirect employees.
“Who is going to give work to the thousands of Panamanians who work in the mine and who are going to be left unemployed?
José Gabriel Carrizo, candidate of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), has defended the contract, pointing out that it would bring more benefits than harm to the country in general.
“This is a contract that will pay Panamanians 10 times more than what they had before, which will guarantee retirees not to earn less than $300 a month,” said Carrizo.
Ricardo Lombana, from the Otro Camino Movement, rejects the mining contract, which he describes as “disastrous.”
For Lombana the contract is very harmful to the nation. “The deputies still have time to listen to the population,” he argued.
Lombana went to the Commerce Committee of the National Assembly to participate in the debate that took place in that State Body, where he pointed out that the mining contract is an “attack” against natural resources, our sovereignty, and our future.
Martín Torrijos candidate of the Popular Party, said that public opinion must be respected and people should be allowed to decide on this mining contract, as was done with the referendum for the expansion of the Panama Canal.
“The contract implies ceding sovereignty over natural resources and a new type of colonial enclave. I am opposed because the consultation period ended in a simulation since the observations of lawyers, environmentalists, and citizens were not attended to.”
Independent, Maribel Gordón is one of the toughest opponents. “There is no rationality in the contract and in the economic order, it is an injury to the Panamanian people. “Who negotiates a contract by giving up so much?”
For Gordon, they want to impose a mining enclave in an ecological corridor, which threatens the lives of the population and the ecosystems.
Independent, Zulay Rodríguez also spoke against the contract pointing out that we are not a mining country. “There are other ways to reactivate the economy. I propose to resume the dry canal project through Bocas del Toro and Chiriquí.”
Melitón Arrocha requested that he be excused due to health problems.
At the moment, the mining contract is in first debate. A consultation process was recently concluded in the communities of Colón and Coclé, closest to the project. It is expected that in the coming days, the discussion of the issue will be resumed in the Assembly.