Contributed by: Don WinnerPanama's Minister of Trade and Industry Ricardo Quijano said on Friday, 17 February 2012, that the Government is not going end the dialog with the Coalition in Defence of Natural Resources and the Rights of the Ngäbe-Bugle People and Farmers in the National Assembly. "We will not stop the dialog, even if it takes a year," said Fabrega. The session will resume at 10:00 am today in the National Assembly.
The disagreement in the dialog last night was on the the point of the location of the Barro Blanco Hydroelectric Project. According to Quijano, the concession for this project was granted during the prior administration of Martin Torrijos, and it has met with all of the requirements, such as environmental impact studies. But the Indians have asked for this project to be cancelled and they say the project is located within an area that is "annexed" to the Ngobe-Bulge region. On this issue Quijano said "we as a government must respect the legal aspects of what was granted."
Quijano said he was confident that today, Friday, once the negotiations are restarted, that they will come to a close. However, if this does not happen, the minister suggested that the board continue its work after carnival. He said the National Assembly will be closed for the holidays. This means the Deputies from the National Assembly will not be there, nor will they be able to use the facilities in the National Assembly building to hold meeting, he said. The important thing is that "we can not continue with these differences," he said.
Quijano also referred to the request made by the National Council of Private Enterprise to attend these meetings in the National Assembly. The official explained that the subcommittee agreed that only the government and the representatives from the Coordinator would participate in order "to avoid pressure from other groups." However, Quijano explained that when the bill reaches the Committee on Trade and Economic Affairs the debate will be open to all relevant groups for public discussion. (Prensa).