The man whose denial of an institutional crisis in Panama led to the withdrawal of the Panama Chamber of Commerce from the National Business Council (Conep), is the beneficiary of multiple government contracts.
Conep’s president Anthony Fletcher, has received contracts the Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Ampyme).which together come to more more than a million dollars.
Fletcher, president of AF Specialized Consultants does not think his position at Conep stops him providing services to the government: "Is it a sin to obtain contracts with the state? ... I've done better at other times.” he said.
However, Angelica Maytín, president Transparency International chapter in Panama, said: “If the president of Conep has contracts with the government while acting as spokesperson of the guild, he has to make a disclosure of interest and place it on the website of the organization, so that members know the situation and can assess whether there is a potential risk of conflict of interest between his role president and as a contractor.”
Fletcher told SERTV that there was no institutional crisis in the country, as reported by various civil society organizations .
The Chamber of Commerce claimed a lack of consensus of members for the assertions, and separated from Conep.
Fletcher's opinion was reproduced as support of the Government, in a press release distributed by the Ministry of Communication.
Conep, which brings together 25 business associations in the country, met Tuesday to determine its position following the departure of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the grounds that Conep has distanced itself from the spirit for which it was designed: to be a coordinating body of private sector organizations that comprise it, and todeal with issues of national interest.
"After several weeks of analysis, we decided to separate from Conep" said Irvin Halman, President of the Chamber.
Fletcher, visibly upset following the meeting that lasted about three hours, said he would not talk more on the differences mentioned by the Chamber. "There are more goals and things that unite us than what separate us "he said. Fletcher is not sorry he said that there is "no institutional crisis in the country." It was, he said, a personal opinion that enjoys the backing of some, while being rejected by others.