Lourdes Castillo Says There Is No Conflict of Interest In Her Appointment

Monday, February 04 2013 @ 02:35 pm EST

Contributed by: Don Winner

Lourdes Castillo, who was recently appointed by president Ricardo Martinelli to the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Authority, responded today to the criticisms that have been made after the announcement.

Castillo said there is no conflict of interest in her appointment, because of the nature of the business activities of the company she runs in the waters of the Panama Canal.

She is the manager Naves Supply, a company collects garbage and sewage from ships that arrive at the port of Balboa, and those transiting the waterway.

She said according to law, in order for there to be a conflict of interest, her company would have to have business contracts directly with the Panama Canal Authority itself.

However, the entrepreneur said she does not have any such contracts, nor is she a subcontractor for the Panama Canal Authority.

"My clients are the owners of the ships. I do not receive a penny from the ACP," she said during an interview on the Telemetro morning news broadcast.

Career - Castillo said she was not born in a "cradle of gold".

She said she has succeeded with her "own work and effort," in a maritime business full of men.

In that sense, she said the Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli chose for due to her career and experience in the maritime sector.

Given the criticisms that have been made, Castillo said: "I feel like any person would feel who is trying to stay afloat, and is pushed."

She Will Not Give Up Her Aspirations - Castillo said, if she is ratified for the post, she will not be drinking tea nor champagne in the Board of Directors or the ACP. "I'm going to be looking out for the interests of the Panamanians," she said.

She said the position on the Board of Directors of the ACP does not represent money, but rather it brings pride to her family.

With that, she said she would not give up her desire to occupy the position to which she has been assigned.

But she also said "if the President decides not to give me the position then that is his decision and I respect it."

"I'll wait to see what will happen," said the businesswoman, about the procedure that must pass in the National Assembly.

Ministers Defend Designations - The Presidency Minister, Roberto Henriquez, defended the recent appointments to the board of the ACP. In fact, Henriquez said there was no need for a big debate in the Cabinet, because they already knew these people.

He described Henri Mizrachi as a young entrepreneur. Meanwhile, Castillo is an entrepreneur through and through, he said. I consider them worthy, stated the head of the Presidency.

For his part, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima, said experience has shown that in this country, they are always looking for the "fifth leg of the cat."

However, he stressed the fact that none of the three people who were appointed to the Board of Directors of the ACP were members of the ruling Democratic Change political party. (Prensa)

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