David A. Bandel
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I'm sure you've all heard the questions that no one can answer, at least not using any known logic, like: Why do drive through ATM machines have braille on the keys? The seeing eye dogs that are driving can probably read the numbers on the keys.
Well the following questions I'm sure the Panama Attorney General Ana Matilda Gomez would have a difficult time answering. The first of these questions is: How is it the Legislature can pass a pay and benefits law for Public Ministry employees to entice higher quality personnel to apply and stay, and the Treasury unilaterally decide not to comply with said pay law? And why hasn't the Attorney General done anything to protect her own people and see that they are paid according to the law?
OK, I know, that was a hard one. So here's an easier one: How is it that Panama's top prosecutor (the Attorney General herself) can't even correctly follow the law and get folks fired and have them stay fired? Almost every single person she's fired has gone to court and won, including the former and recently reinstated head of Legal Medicine, Dr. Humberto Mas. In fact, Ana Matilda has fired prosecutors for not being able to win cases. When will she fire herself for incompetence? The answer to this may answer the question above.
The Dr. Mas question is interesting because while fighting his firing, he acted as an expert witness for the defense in a number of controversial cases. He also testified under oath that regional offices were using obsolete equipment. It will be interesting to see, should he somehow manage to retake office (the Attorney General put him on forced leave), if he can do anything to rectify this deplorable situation.
The question I want to see answered is, in the latest rounds of lawsuits filed against the Attorney General herself for crimes against the Administration, if she will be able to win or not. Based on her record, she may just find herself in prison soon enough (we can only hope).
During her first five years as the Attorney General, she has managed to create an atmosphere of fear; terrorizing, criticising, and ridiculing her subordinates instead of supporting them. A real charmer (not), her lack of tact and her misutilization and downright abuse of her human resources defies definition.
Of course, these are the larger questions that can be asked when looking at the mess called the Public Ministry. But the mess isn't limited to the Attorney General. You have to wonder why the Judicial City, where anyone can supposedly file criminal complaints 24 hours a day has the vehicle gates closed during hours of darkness (so you can't get in).
The Public Ministry also has a dress code for entry (including for rape victims that might or might not be properly dressed and/or are wearing torn clothing, that might contain evidence), are sent away until they are cleaned up and properly attired (so much for the evidence).
There is also a metal detector that folks entering the building pass through. Not sure why it's even turned on. It beeps a lot, but no one is checked.
I could go through a lot of other ministries. The Treasury Ministry has it's own silliness. They keep giving my secretary floppy disks with Windows programs to record income and social security tax, etc. None of our office computers have had one of those obsolete floppy drives for years, and we only run UNIX operating systems (Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac, etc.). Even if we had a floppy drive, we couldn't run the virsuses they keep trying to give us. Most government sites also only work if you use Internet Explorer (not available for UNIX operating systems). My wife can't get forms she needs from the Treasury Department online because of this nonsense. Microsoft must love governments like Panama who obviously send millions of $$$ to Redmond annually, and attempt to force everyone, public employee or not, to use Windows whether they want to or not, thanks to their myopic policies.
And the questions keep piling up. When will the police start following the laws they are supposed to be enforcing? And when will they actually start to enforce them?
If I kept going, this blog entry would probably never end. So I have to stop sometime, and now seems as good a time as any. Hope you enjoyed, feel free to contribute. I'm sure many reading this have had to deal with ANAM and other agencies. I'd love to hear your unanswerable questions. Like why does the health department wait until after a dengue epidemic is in full swing to start spraying (and only sporadically) for mosquitos?
David-Pondering the Imponderable
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