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Thursday, June 20 2019 @ 03:46 AM UTC

"Expectations" Over Selection Of New Panama Canal Administrator

Canal Daily OperationAlthough it is the exclusive authority of the board of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) to choose the new ACP administrator, political sectors and civil society do not rule out the influence held by president Ricardo Martinelli in that election. The ACP Board of Directors will appoint a new manager before 4 September 2012 when the term in office of the current ACP administrator Alberto Alemán Zubieta expires. Martinelli has named three of the eleven directors (José Sosa, Nicolás Corcione and Marco Ameglio), while the National Assembly selected Rafael Bárcenas, and the Minister for Canal Affairs, who is by law is also the President of the Board of Directors (Rómulo Roux), also has the right to vote. The selection of a new new administrator requires a majority of eight votes. Thus, the final counterweight is with the remaining directors, named during the administrations of Mireya Moscoso (Norberto Delgado, Eduardo Quirós and Alfredo Ramírez) and Martin Torrijos (Adolfo Ahumada, Guillermo Chapman and Ricardo De La Espriella). Francisco Sanchez Cardenas, the president of the opposition PRD political party, and Guillermo Marquez Amado, former president of the Electoral Tribunal, both warn of the risk of Executive interference in the appointment. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: The Administrator of the Panama Canal is a position which comes with tremendous responsibility. The Panama Canal Authority sees gross income of more than $3 billion dollars per year, and about two thirds of that is spend on manpower, maintenance, and the logistics required to keep the canal operating. Add on top of that the ongoing project to expand the Panama Canal (with a budget of $5.25 billion dollars). So yeah, of course president Martinelli is going to get involved in the selection of Alberto Alemán Zubieta's successor. And of course, his political opponents will squeak about it. This might turn into a fight because one of Martinelli's appointments - Marco Ameglio - is a Panameñista. And there are still three other Panameñistas who were appointed by Mireya Moscoso. But consider this - Alberto Alemán Zubieta has basically been running the Panama Canal since 1996 - for the past 15 years. He's been doing a good job. It might be wise to just change his name to "Hoover" and leave him right where he is. But I have no idea what the relationship is like between Martinelli and Alberto Alemán Zubieta. If they've knocked heads behind closed doors, he's gone.

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