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Sunday, August 31 2014 @ 12:31 AM EDT

Martinelli Makes Changes In His Executive Cabinet

PoliticsThe president, Ricardo Martinelli, made an adjustment to his administration. He appointed two new ministers, rotated one, and appointed a deputy minister. He makes these movements a little less than two years before the end of his administration. Martinelli appointed the current Director of Medical Services at the CSS Javier Diaz to replace Franklin Vergara, who resigned as the Minister of Health. Diaz was in front of the CSS during the crisis of the contamination with the antibiotic resistant KPC bacteria at the Metropolitan Hospital Complex last year. Recently Diaz said he would be willing to assume the post of health minister if the president offered it to him.

Meanwhile, the current Deputy Minister of Housing and Land Management, Jaime Ford, will replace the Minister of Public Works, Federico José Suárez. Ford, who has a Masters in Business Administration, was CEO of Optimus Real Estate (2007), worked at the Compañía Internacional de Seguros S.A. (2004-2007) and worked in the Office of Business Development of Panama in Beijing (2003 - 2004).

Martinelli also confirmed yesterday that the Minister of Canal Affairs Romulo Roux will be the new Chancellor, replacing Roberto Henriquez who took office on 16 July, as the Minister of the Presidency. The vacancy left by Roux will be occupied by Roberto Roy, the secretary of the Panama Metro, which will continue in that office.

The Presidency reported that Javier Diaz, Romulo Roux, Jaime Ford and Roberto Roy will assume their new roles on Monday August 20. Sigrid Barragan, current secretary general of the Environmental Authority, will take over as deputy minister of the presidency tomorrow, Thursday 16, replacing Maria Fabrega, who leaves office Wednesday. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Suárez has been coming under fire lately for some sweetheart deals, so he had to go. Papadimitriu got caught stealing land through the ANATI, so he had to go. Varela got caught up in the Lavitola scandal, so he had to go. The lower level officials who got caught in corruption scandals, such as the former Director of Immigration, not only got fired, but now they are facing criminal charges. In some cases, like the former Health Minister Franklin Vergara, he wanted out so he could be free to run his political campaign. We're now less than 24 months away from the next election, so the more ambitious politicians who want to run for an office in the 2014 elections will have to quit, because they can't campaign during working hours while they are still part of the government.

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