Contributed by: Don WinnerThe administrator of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), Jorge Luis Quijano said at no time have they suspended communications with Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), the consortium responsible for the project, when speaking about the contract dispute that has been dragging on for months, and he said they have established a "long conversation" that could resolve the majority of the issues that remain on the negotiating table.
"We have advanced significantly in the negotiations," said Quijano.
In fact, Quijano reported the GUPC has accepted the ACP will not pay any money out of the contract, and everything that will be negotiated from now on will be made withing the parameters of the contract, after the consortium insisted on demanding they be paid a specific amount of money outside of the contract, he said.
"Now the GUPC has accepted we will not pay them a single nickel of the claims they were making outside of the contract," said the Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority, Jorge Luis Quijano, during his appearance before the plenary session of the National Assembly.
"Maybe we'll lose some of their claims and that will be paid, but not outside of the contract," said Quijano.
The manager said he participated in a conference call with the senior executives of the three major international companies.
Losses To The Canal Because Of The Conflict
The culmination of the expansion of the Panama Canal will be delayed at least until December 2015 which means there will be "lost profits" of more than 95 million dollars, only if they are able to reach an agreement with the GUPC consortium in charge of the project to get them to resume work in the short term.
According to the contract, the construction of the third set of locks of the Panama Canal should be ready by next October, but last year the Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC) , the consortium in charge of the work, announced a delay to June 2015.
Quijano said the new (additional) six-month delay in the project comes as a result of "two or three months" of a slow pace of work, and "two weeks of total paralysis" on the job site, counting this week during which the negotiations continue, seeking a consensus agreement.
This delay will generate a "loss of earnings of $95.3 million", that is to say, the profits the Canal will not receive "starting from the middle of 2015 when we expected them to finish the project," he added.
The Legal Status Of The Workers On The Expansion Project
Quijano made it clear that the ACP has no connection with the workers, because the employment relationship is maintained with GUPC, however, recognizing that the ACP is responsible to this liability in the labor payment bond "that's another 50 million dollars," and according to Quijano, by priority, the first to receive any compensation for debt cancellation labor liabilities are employees.
"And the labor liabilities the GUPC may have at any time is well below the figure of 50 million, meaning that workers should have no problem in accessing solutions to their labor liabilities," he said.
Quijano made it clear they are fully prepared to finish this conflict in favor of Panama, and he said the expansion will be completed. (Panama America)
Editor's Comment: So, the GUPC has given up trying to coerce $1.6 billion out of the ACP, by using threats and extortionist tactics, which are outside of the contract? In that case, they have finally come to the realization that the ACP will - in fact - toss them off the job and carry on without them.