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Wednesday, October 22 2014 @ 12:46 AM EDT

Law 23 Will Be Changed To Prevent "Cheating" in Buying Land

Law & Lawyers By Ereida Prieto-Barreiro for the Panama America - The proposed amendments, according to the government, intend to benefit the poorest land owners on islands and along Panama's coasts. The government is preparing a draft bill to amend Law Number 23, in order to exclude from its benefits corporations that have "hijacked" lands with a high potential for tourism in different parts of the country. Law 23 was approved in Panama's National Assembly on 21 April 2009 and later signed into law by then president Martin Torrijos, with the intention of allowing mainly poor people with little income to obtain titled ownership of the lands they have occupied for many years. This law establishes the costs - those titling up to 20 hectares would pay $50 dollars, from 20 to 50 hectares would pay $100 dollars, and for larger parcels of more than 50 hectares, $150 dollars. This law "benefits" people who can prove they have occupied these lands for at least five years or more, and they would have up to ten years to pay the value of their lands. However, the Director of Taxes and State Property of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Publio Cortés, said the government intends to give free land titles to poor people, but not to those who accumulate large tracts of land. He clarified that for these cases they would design a different policy with respect to the sale price of land for the coastal and island territories. Business? The tax office told Panama America that hundreds of corporations monopolize the country's coasts and island lands carving out acres to build resorts or other business activities. The tax office detected in several applications to buy land from the government the same executives and directors of several different corporations, who divide up the land into smaller parcels in order to reduce the cost of selling them. "We do not want to say that all of the applicants want to fool the government, but the possibility they are protected by the law is controversial," said Cortés. He said these people should remember that these are lands owned by the state, although with rights of possession. (See Comments)

Editor's Comment: Sometimes being trained as a strategic analyst is a handicap. I can already see what's going to happen. Right now (today) the administration of Ricardo Martinelli wants to have their cake and eat it too. They like the idea of being able to hand out land titles to the poor Indians who have lived on their lands for years, those who are (currently) complying with the "spirit and intent" of the Rights of Possession concept. They want to deliver these state lands, which are now "owned" but only under rights of possession, into the hands of the poor, basically giving them a huge gift, and converting their currently tenuous ROP ownership into something much more solid, respectable, and most importantly legally recognized. A title. However, the government also understands that smart millionaire land speculators have been scooping up huge tracts of land all over the country, and fighting for the passage of Law 23 with their mouths literally watering at the edges. Once inland land is titled it basically triples in price. Can you imagine what some of these beautiful island and coastal properties are going to do once you can trade them globally with no more ROP threat bullshit? So anyway, back to the tactical situation. Ricardo Martinelli and his guys at the MEF now say they are going to come up with some other kind of policy for the rich guys who have been scooping up land to build resorts or whatever. However, this is literally like a dog chasing it's tail. The second these poor little Indian folk obtain a valid and recognized title on their land, those same properties will be sold on the Internet to the highest bidder for millions of dollars faster than you can say "Craig's List." Meanwhile, the government will still be doing a virtual hand-job on the supposedly "rich" speculators who got caught in the crossfire (of this bullshit), and some pigs will be more equal than others. What are they going to do, visit each little shack and make sure you're actually poor before they hand out the title? How do you write "this law only applies to poor bastards" into law? If you're an Indian landowner you can't hold your land in a Corporation? There are so many ways that this whole thing is going to get stupid, that it's stupid. It would be much (much) wiser if the government would simply write the damn law, title all of the land, and then apply a hefty tax on transfers and capital gains. So, the poor little Indian guys are now overnight millionaires - who friggin' cares as long as the government can get a nice chunk of the money in taxes? And, all of the rest of the guys who scooped up land really just want to market and sell that land for development, which is a win - win - win for Panama anyway. And again, the government will get paid for these lands 100 times over, every time they are bought or sold. They should do what governments are supposed to do - write the rules of the game, enforce those rules to make sure everyone is on a level playing field, and then get the hell out of the way. And here's the strategic analysis part - in five years or less all of these lands will have been titled, one way or the other, and all of this crap will have been made moot and will have been overcome by events. Investment in Panama will go nuts. Development will continue to explode, except this time the second wave won't be condos in Panama City bur rather places like Red Frog that will now actually stand a chance of being completed. So, one more little thing that's been holding development in the more rural parts of Panama back will have been removed - ROP will be a thing of the past. A lot of people are going to make a lot of money. It's going to get stupid, quick, but in a nice and profitable kind of way - OPM. Most of the cash is going to come pouring in from the outside, as it should be. God, I love being a capitalist. Oh yeah, and there will be a lot more tax money to spend on schools and books and teachers and roads and bridges and water lines and electrical lines and health clinics and pregnant women and glasses for those who can't see and food for hungry kids and and training for those with no skills and dogs with fleas and fleas with ticks and you get the idea... More money means more revenue means the government can do a whole lot more for the poor. Yeee-haaa, get rich to help the poor, I love it. But first, we have to do this game for awhile, until it no longer matters. Think strategically, live long, and prosper. Mahan would be proud.

Reformarán Ley 23 para evitar “trampa” en compra de tierras

El Gobierno advierte que las empresas que mantienen varias hectáreas en lugares de alto potencial turístico no recibirán el mismo tratamiento que las personas de escasos recursos.

Ereida Prieto-Barreiro PA-DIGITAL

Propuesta Las modificaciones, según el Gobierno, pretenden beneficiar a los propietarios más humildes de tierras en la islas y costas de la República de Panamá.

El Gobierno prepara un anteproyecto de ley para reformar la Ley 23, con el fin de excluir de sus beneficios a sociedades anónimas que han “acaparado” tierras con alto potencial turístico en diferentes partes del país.

La Ley 23 fue promulgada el 21 de abril pasado por el ex presidente Martín Torrijos, con la intención de permitir, principalmente, que personas de escasos recursos puedan obtener los títulos de propiedad de los terrenos que han ocupado durante años.

Esta Ley plantea que por la inscripción de una hasta veinte hectáreas se podrá pagar 50 balboas, de veinte a 50 hectáreas, 100 balboas, y por más hectáreas, 150 balboas.

La medida “beneficiaría” a las personas que demuestren haber ocupado las tierras por cinco años o más y tendrían hasta 10 años para pagar el valor de la tierra.

No obstante, el director de Catastro y Bienes Patrimoniales del Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas, Publio Cortés, aseguró que el Gobierno pretende otorgar gratuitamente sus títulos de propiedad a los sectores humildes, pero no a aquellos que acumulan grandes extensiones de tierra.

Aclaró que para estos casos se diseñará una política diferente con respecto al precio de venta de las zonas costeras y territorio insular.

¿Negocio? Catastro informó a Panamá Américaque cientos de sociedades anónimas acaparan costas e islas del país delimitando hectáreas para crear centros turísticos u otras actividades de negocio.

Catastro detectó que en varias solicitudes de compra se repiten los mismos directivos en varias sociedades anónimas, quienes fraccionan el terreno para bajar los costos de venta de los mismos.

"No queremos decir que todos los solicitantes quieren hacerle trampa al Estado, pero la posibilidad de que se puedan amparar por la ley genera debate", sostuvo Cortés.

Expresó que las personas deben recordar que estos terrenos son del Estado, aunque cuenten con derechos posesorios.

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Law 23 Will Be Changed To Prevent "Cheating" in Buying Land | 1 comments | Create New Account
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Law 23 Will Be Changed To Prevent "Cheating" in Buying Land
Authored by: susangg on Friday, August 14 2009 @ 07:56 AM EDT

Exactly!

And caught in the middle of all this, particularly in the Bocas islands, are hundreds of people, mostly foreign retirees but also some Panamanians returning home after spending their lives working in the USA or serving in the military, who bought a small piece of ROP for a home, or a home with a couple of cabins, or a small ecotourism resort. These purchases were made with the blessing of the (then) government, who issued "certifications of right of occupancy," and most of the buyers were advised by their Panamanian lawyers to take ownership of their rights by way of a corporation. In what way did these people "hijack" anything? And in what way are they "monopolizing" their land? They are living on it, farming on it, and/or running a small business on it. Why are they to be penalized? For bringing their life savings to Panama and spending it here?

And what if these people, many of whom are retirees living on social security and retirement plan savings, can't afford to pay whatever inflated prices the government now seeks to demand? Under Law 23 titling is mandatory. That was the deal: Make it feasible for EVERYBODY to title, and then make titling mandatory. Either title it or you lose it. What if these small holders can't afford to pay whatever sky-high price the drafters of this "reform" to the law now have in mind? Is this just another way to seize land (and homes and small businesses) away from the people who invested their own money to build them, so the property can be "awarded" to those with more money or better "connections?"

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"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."
(Thomas Jefferson)