Conflict over Sea Cliff Road Continues
Saturday, July 29 2006 @ 11:57 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Editor's Comments: This Sea Cliff thing with Richard Crucet has been simmering for years. Crucet owns a piece of property next to the ocean and has been selling off lots for at least ten years if not longer. There is an access road that runs right through the middle of the property that allows local residents access to the beach and ocean. Crucet is trying to block access, and the residents keep tearing down his fences. So far (apparently) the highest decision in this case is at the level of the "governor" of the region. This is an important issue that could have an impact on how beach and ocean access rights are decided and balanced against personal and private proptery rights for the rest of the country. Now there are a lot more people buying "beachfront" property and I wonder how clear people are on the "access rights" angle. The thing about calling for action from the US Ambassador is obviously a play by Mayor Ríos for attention and he will probably get it (but not from Ambassador Eaton.) I don't know who is right or wrong in this case and the courts will decide it, but for the sake of all of the people out there who are thinking about buying property in Panama this issue needs to be resolved one way or the other in a very public manner. The statement by Mayor Rios that Crucet will be declared "persona non-grata" in the region is a thinly veiled threat against him. A decision by a Governor isn't good enough. People need to know what the rules are. There are millions, if not billions of dollars at stake. Please clear this mess up, one way of the other. For example, why can't Crucet simply allow local residents to access the beach along the property line? Does he have to let people go straight through his property just because there is an existing road there? Try that with Decameron.
From: MARGO GAETZ [mailto:margogaetz@(snip).net]
Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2006 5:35 AM
Subject: Conflict over Sea Cliff Road Continues
I'm an American who has been following the group for several months now. I plan to move to Panama in February 2007 and was attracted to the conflict in the article. I admit I'm not there yet, and I'm certainly not informed regarding local politics but on the surface this appears pretty straightforward. I am willing to stand corrected.
I dislike any hint the "ugly American" scenerio and I believe this is a prime target. If established Panamanian Law declares this access, and the purchaser of the property should know the law prior to entering into a legal contract in the country, why is he blocking access? If he is willing to allow the access he should be the one proposing the moving of the access road to the proper authorities prior to blocking current access.
In the article it states he has been selling lots from this property for some time, then, why hasn't he addressed this issue properly prior to now? I believe from his actions that he doesn't want to grant the public access and he is making himself and the rest of us look like greedy, selfish, ugly Americans. From my stantpoint the property owner should be the one we put pressure on, not the government of the country in which we are "guests".
Response: To put it simply, there are too many unknown variables to be able to answer your question completely and correctly. In the end this issue will be decided by the Panamanian justice system. One thing you have to understand is that the legal system here is S L O W. So, maybe they are fighting it out in the courts and it's just taking a long time to get a decision. I simply don't know. In fact I don't really care who "wins" or "loses" in this case. What matters (to me) is that there are probably hundres or thousands of newly arriving expatriates buying beachfront property that might eventually run into exactly the same issue. The Panamanian government makes the rules in the game. They are also the arbiters in disputes. As far as I can tell they are doing a poor job of both regulating the sale of land in Panama and enforcing existing regulations. In the end the effectiveness and efficiency of any government agency coorelates to resouces, people, money, and budgets. I would like to see the Panamanian government handle these kinds of situations (in general) better than they are now. On this particular case I really don't care one way of the other. In my humble opinion, and for what it's worth, the government of Panama is still playing catch-up with the real estate boom and these kinds of things are going to continue to bite them in the butt for a long time. Better to get a handle on things now. And, why not start with this case?
En Caso Crucet Pedirán apoyo al embajador de EE.UU. Lineth Torrero Ramos Corresponsal de El Siglo COCLE.- El conflicto de los moradores de Sea Cliff en Las Guías de Río Hato del distrito de Antón con Richar Crucet se ha tornado en una situación preocupante de "quita y pon" de la cerca que impide el paso a los usuarios de la playa y a los turistas que buscan un lugar de tranquilidad para pasar el día. En este caso, el alcalde Roger D. Ríos dijo que "ésta es una situación que está afectando la paz de los habitantes de Las Guía, donde Crucet no respeta los lineamientos de las leyes panameñas, por lo que anunció que solicitará el apoyo al embajador de Estados Unidos en Panamá para que dialogue con esta persona y busque la manera de que arregle esta situación". Explicó que Crucet también es ciudadano estadounidense y no quiere acatar las leyes de Panamá, ya que después de que los moradores afectados derribaran la cerca el 23 de julio, amparados por la resolución 081 del 12 de julio de 2006 que emitió la Gobernación donde queda establecido que el paso es libre, Richar Crucet nuevamente levantó la cerca, la misma que ayer el alcalde en compañía de 5 unidades de la Policía Nacional y de la comunidad ordenó quitar, de lo contrario podría ser declarado "non grato" en el área.