Bankers knock Paitilla project court ruling

882Views 3Comments Posted 01/10/2017

PAITILLA RESIDENTS  who  in early August were celebrating a citizen victory over uncontrolled development are now facing  challenges from Panama’s powerful banking industry.

On August 11,  Panama's Third Circuit Court of Civil Matters ordered partial revocation of the construction permit granted by the Construction Department of the Municipality of Panama to Shoreline Properties, Inc. and to Constructora Bahía, S.A., for the construction of  The Sea Point apartment towers.

The decision followed  representations by attorney Harley Mitchell, on behalf of residents for protection against the project on the grounds that it violated urban norms and usurped shore of the sea belonging to the State.

Soon after union workers from the site staged street demonstrations  protesting the loss of jobs, and recently Newsroom received messages from residents  that indicated work appeared to have restarted
On September 8 The Panama BankingAssociation on behalf of its board of directors, chaired by Carlos Troetsch, issued a strongly worded statement  saying that the revocation of the permit puts at "risk" the legal security and the institutionality of  the country, two of the "most important" guarantees for banking investment.
The  broadside letter was delivered to the National Land Administration Authority (Anati), the Mayor of Panama, the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ), the Construction and Construction Department of the Municipality of Panama, and the Ministries of Environment and the Presidency.
"We see with concern that this action (suspension of the work) puts at risk the confidence in the system and the future investment of banking in the country, since it does not have the legal certainty to grant the financing required, given the risk involved in ignoring the actions of the State, "
says the letter.
It also states that the financial and banking system is the engine of the economy and requires clear rules
to provide development opportunities to the country.
In addition, the Banking Association argues that, thecSea Point project is endorsed by Anati, Ministry of Housing and Land Use Planning, The Maritime Authority of Panama, Ministry of Environment, Municipality of Panama, Directorate of Works and Constructions/

Residents of Paitilla and Panama’s mayor were quick to react to the bankers’ declaration.
Mayor José Isabel Blandón said that to not respect a judicial decision would be to undermine the legal security of the country.
"We have to respect the judicial decisions, whether we agree or not," he argued.
Darío Vásquez Wolff, a resident of the community of Paitilla, emphasized that the letter of the Banking Association supports illegality.
"It is very unfortunate that an association with this national prestige is going to support  illegal action.

“They should not only listen to the information of the promoter of the work, "he said and added that what the association must do is require that  before providing funding ,banks ensure that projects comply with the law.