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Saturday, February 23 2019 @ 05:08 AM UTC

Bill Would Raise INAC To Minister Level Rank

Theater & Fine Arts
Education Committee of the National Assembly of Panama
Education Committee of the National Assembly of Panama
With the unanimous vote of its members, the Education Committee of the National Assembly approved on the first reading Bill No. 416 which would raise the Director of the INAC to Ministerial rank and create a national fund for the promotion of cultural activities. With reference to the fund, the chairman of the Committee on Education, Deputy Jose I. Blandon said they would not be creating a new tax, but rather the would redirect the monies of cultural activities, such as the transfer tax for tangible personal property, to finance all those projects that are directed to encourage the entertainment industry, the arts, music, painting, etc.. Deputy Blandon said the document was widely consulted with representatives of the cultural sector (musicians, college, ethnicity, paleontologists) and includes many points of view embodied by these groups. The General Law on Culture bill received more than 20 modifications, and also new items were included to improve the bill, said the National Assembly in a statement. PRD opposition Deputy Francisco Vega said he welcomes the adoption of this bill, but he hopes the idea of raising the INAC to a Ministry level does not remain a chimera or an entity in processing. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: On legislative procedure - when a bill is first discussed at the committee level, that's called the "first debate." Once a bill is passed by the committee it then goes to the full body of the National Assembly where it is voted on twice, called the "second debate" and the "third debate." A bill that is approved in the "third debate" has passed, and will become a law once signed by the President and published in the Official Gazette. With that having been said it's strange that Jose Blandon still is in charge of anything. He must have gotten this Presidency of the Education Committee before the alliance broke up (yup, that checks.) So then what's the political angle on this bill? Remember that the Director of the INAC is a Panameñista who was originally fired by Martinelli in the Panameñista purge of 2011, but then she was reinstated. So, by boosting her to a Minister Level that would make her a voting member of the Cabinet Council, effectively getting one more Panameñista in the door. And the CD Deputies in the National Assembly won't want to vote against it, because who wants to be "anti culture" or whatever. You always have to look for the political angle in whatever these guys are doing. Especially when it's Blandon steering the boat. I expect the CD guys will either kill it, stall it, or let it die. But wait - they might approve it - and then Martinelli can appoint someone else (besides the current Panameñista Director of the INAC) to be the new Minister of Culture. Wouldn't that be a hoot...

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