Contributed by: Don WinnerPanama's Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino said on Thursday, 16 August 2012, in an exclusive interview with La Esprella, that "I never had anything to say on the LavÝtola case, my conscience is clear." Mulino said this was a case that was manipulated in the press and politically in order to do damage. "Now they will say the judges in Italy have been manipulated," he said.
Mulino said security has come a long way since he took office three years ago, however, he clarified there are still specific problems with gangs and drugs, although the statistics in Panama are more favorable than in other countries in the region. The minister said they have invested $1 billion dollars in police infrastructure.
About the Strategy Plan of the Ministry, he said they are continuing with this plan, and they seek to have citizens more involved in prevention. He also said they are alarmed because at the start of his administration the largest cause of assassinations was drug trafficking, but today it's life in society, which represents 45% of the crimes. "Society is becoming violent," said the Minister.
He said the the Preventive Security Cabinet program, made up of several government agencies, was created to handle the problem of insecurity from all angles, especially in remote and high risk areas.
Regarding the conflict between the State Border Service (SENAFRONT), with the indigenous Kuna Yala Comarca, Mulino said "there is nothing to worry about," adding "San Blas is a special area, where there is interference by the drug traffickers. We hope to reinforce the area with the Naval Station in El Porvenir."
Mulino also referred to the salary increase for the National Police, which will be effective in October, bringing the basic starting salaries for new police officers to about $590 dollars per month. (Estrella)
Editor's Comment: Once again, it's pretty clear this whole Lavitola thing was a case of "corruptus interruptus" - they were on their way to a large corruption scandal, but it all got broken up before any bribes were actually paid. I think the Lavitola scandal is was sank the alliance between the Paname˝istas and the Cambio Democratico, and that it was Juan Carlos Varela who put that all together. He got caught, so he got fired. The same thing happened to Jimmy Papadimitriu in the Juan Hombron land grab scandal. There was a whole bunch of recent reporting on sweetheart deals between road building companies and the Minister of Public Works - so he's gone. It's a pattern of conduct.