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Tuesday, July 17 2018 @ 01:17 PM EDT

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Panama City Mayor Grants Exception to "Carrot Law" For Holidays

Nightlife, Bars, and PartyingThe Mayor of Panama enacted a new decree creating an exception to compliance with the "carrot law" for businesses on 7, 8, 24, 25 and 31 December 2011 and January 1, 2012. Mayoral Decree Number 1940 of December 5, 2011, signed by Mayor Bosco Ricardo Vallarino, states that nightclubs may operate full-time as desired by the owner. Vallarino said through a statement the decision was made for Panamanians and foreigners to celebrate the traditional holidays (Mother's Day, Christmas and New Year) with no curfew. However, the mayor asked the public for "a lot of order and justice" in the various events they will attend. This rule is established in compliance of the second paragraph of article two of Executive Decree 1424 of 2011, which sets special hours during holidays and public holidays for the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages as well as hours of operation. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: That's nice. However Mayor Bosco Vallarino only has control over Panama City. The "carrot law" will still be in effect for San Miguelito, Colon, David, Bocas del Toro, etc. - because it's the law of the land which applies to the whole of the Republic of Panama. Now, each individual mayor can apparently issue their own orders which override the law, strangely enough.

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39 Arrested, Twelve Nightclubs Sanctioned in "Carrot Law" Busts

Nightlife, Bars, and Partying The Mayor of Panama City in a press release reported the closing of "My Bodeguita" and the sanctioning of twelve nightclubs for failing to comply with Decrees Number 1896 and 1899, which established the "Carrot Law." This came after raids conducted this weekend. The press release said during these operations 39 people were arrested for disrespect to the authorities. Some people were arrested because they were illegal immigrants, and others who are involved in prostitution without an updated health card or permit. They were turned over to the "competent authorities."

Municipal authorities during a Preventive Security operation visited neighborhoods in the areas of Calidonia, Santa Ana, 24 de Diciembre, Juan Diaz, San Francisco (Calle Uruguay), where several bars and nightclubs were fined for violating the decree governing limits on the sound levels (decibels) in nightclubs. The action was led by Justice of the Peace on shift, Luis Morales and the coordinator of the Justices of the Peace, Reynaldo Morales, personal from the office of Municipal Surveillance, as well as from the Law and Justice office, among other officials. The coordinator of the Justices of the Peace Reynaldo Morales said operations will continue in the 21 different sectors of the capital city in order to reduce the high rate of delinquencies that occur daily in our country. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Did you see where I highlighted the line about how most of the 39 people who were arrested were charged with "disrespect for the authorities"? So, you went out with your friends on Saturday night to go partying. It's now early morning on Sunday, and you're sitting in a bar at 3:00 am. According to the new "carrot law" the bar is supposed to be closed already, but there you are. The municipal cops (brown shirts) come in the front door and start yelling or whatever. One of them asks you for your identification, and before you can say "WTF" they've got you handcuffed and in the back of a paddy wagon for "disrespect". In these raids over the weekend twelve bars and nightclubs were fined. One, Mi Bodeguita, was shut down. And now the Panamanians are complaining that the "carrot law" was never supposed to target the clients but rather the bar owners, so why were these people arrested. Disrespect. You might get just a little bit of extra slack because you're a drunk dumbass gringo, and a drunk dumbass Panamanian cab driver will go away a whole lot quicker, but don't press your luck. Just say "yes, sir" a lot and get the hell out of there. Golly, isn't this going to be great for tourism? Visit Panama, have a few adult beverages, and get thrown in jail. Well, at least you can pay a quick bribe to get out... (grin)

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Panama City Mayor Bosco Vallarino Asks For $2.5 Million To Enforce "Carrot Law"

Nightlife, Bars, and PartyingThe Mayor of Panama, Ricardo "Bosco" Vallarino asked the Central Government for a grant of $2.5 million dollars which he says he needs in order to enforce the two "carrot law" decrees that regulate the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages, setting ceilings on bar hours, discos, bars and others. The mayor's request was given upon his departure from the normal session of the City Council meeting on Tuesday November 22, when asked by reporters about the resources needed to enforce the new standard. "The child's father must pay child support" was the phrase Vallarino said to reporters in response to the question presented by the journalists who waited for his departure from the weekly meeting. Vallarino explained that in the coming hours he will send a letter to the president, Ricardo Martinelli, to request the money to subsidize it (the enforcement of he new law), so he can recruit the hundreds of additional municipal police officers and officials of the "Justice of the Peace" who now have to operate at night. The mayor said the money will be invested not only in the recruitment of human resources, but also to purchase new patrol cars, uniforms, tools, gasoline and everything needed to execute the decrees. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: Cool. "Unfunded mandates" in Panama. Does anyone think the central government will be giving Mayor Vallarino the money? No. They will enforce this law themselves using National Police officers, and then accuse him of not doing his job. Politics. It's all politics.

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Panama City Mayor Issues New Rule - Panama Is Now A Dry Town

Nightlife, Bars, and Partying Casinos, hotels and restaurants now cannot sell alcohol outside of the hours established in Executive Decree 1424 (known as the "carrot law"), after the Mayor of Panama yesterday issued a rule prohibiting it. Decree 1424, issued by the Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino, states that discos, bars, pubs and nightclubs can only sell alcohol during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. on weekdays and from 9:00 am 3:00 am on weekends, but casinos and hotels and hotels were excluded. Panama City Mayor Bosco Vallarino yesterday issued Decree 1899, which prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages on the same schedule set forth in the decree by Mulino, but it also includes supermarkets, casinos, small stores, restaurants, casinos and hotels. He called it "carrots for everyone." Vallarino also issued another decree (number 1896) which states that these facilities can continue to work beyond the schedule established in the "law carrot", but with the ban on the sale or free distribution of alcoholic beverages. Violators face fines ranging from $500 to $10,000, and fines will be double for repeat offenders. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Once again, this is a political move. The original intent of the "carrot law" was to close the bars a little earlier in an attempt to cut down on late night alcohol fueled violence. Of course we all know that's not going to work - historically it's been proven people will just change their drinking and partying habits to conform to the new restrictions and schedules. And the thing about not applying the rule to hotels and casinos was a nod to international visitors and tourism. But now Bosco Vallarino - who is a member of the opposition Panameńista political party - has made this move in order to shove a stick into the eye of Ricardo Martinelli and the CD. And how will they be likely to respond? Don't be surprised if now Martinelli says "screw that dude" and the National Assembly goes back and revokes his Panamanian citizenship. He would then be forced from office, and Roxana Mendez would take over as the new Mayor of Panama City. They have threatened to do this several times, and until recently Bosco has been "playing nice" and this is his first major play since the alliance broke up on 30 August 2011. They just might toast his ass. Let's see. Anyway, no booze for you, bud. I hear you can still party all night long in Costa Rica...

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Panama's Minister of Tourism Defends "Carrot Law"

Nightlife, Bars, and Partying#Panama - The administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority, Salo Shamah, changed his mind on the new "Carrot Law." Although at first he was one of the opponents of the implementation of this regulation, now he says the measure is necessary, and he denied it might have negative effects on the development of tourism in the country. He explained that according to studies, most people who visit other countries do not stay out past 2:00 am on the streets, because they are in places they don't know well. About the fact that the measure may represent unfair competition between nightclubs and hotels, which will continue operating past 2:00 am and 3:00 am, Samah considered it unlikely that people are willing to pay a higher price on alcoholic drinks. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Shamah is in Ricardo Martinelli's back pocket, so of course he's going to support the "Carrot Law" and not go against the wishes of his boss. And he's also in the back pocket of the hotel owners in Panama, and that's why the hotels and casinos are excluded from this law. Interestingly enough, it now appears that Panama City Mayor Bosco Vallarino has discovered he has the legal authority to regulate the operating hours of bars and casinos, so he's thinking about implementing a new municipal regulation to shut down the sales of alcohol in hotels, bars, casinos, and 24 hours supermarkets, all of whom are currently exempted from the new "Carrot Law." This, of course, a move from a Panameńista politician to screw with the CD. Politics, it's all politics.

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Bars Now Close At 3:00 am - New "Carrot Law"

Nightlife, Bars, and PartyingThe leader of the Young Pro Safety Foundation, Rafael Zeballos, said today that Executive Order 1424, better known as the "carrot law," is unfair and is too easy on the casinos and hotels, as well as supermarkets that sell liquor 24 hours. The "carrot law" decrees that from 3:00 am in the morning until 9:00 am of that same day, bars and discos, barbecues and grills, cantinas, and wineries, among others, will have to close their doors. The decree exempts casinos and hotels, thus being flexible for the benefit of a small group, considered Zeballos, adding that in that way the law becomes inefficient. This new rule could have some benefits to combat violence, which he supports. But he suggested that the decree should be broad in scope, as it would be unfair that only a group of business benefit. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: I've been asking around to find out why they call this the " ley zanahoria" (carrot law) but no one seems to know. I mean "dry law" or something like that would make sense. Anyway, this recently issued executive order now forces all of the bars and discos in the country to close at 3:00 am, but there are exemptions for casinos, large hotels, and apparently grocery stores that are open 24 hours. Prior to this there were no real rules, and a bar could practically stay open all the time if they wanted to. Anyway, no matter, the drinking and partying public will now just change their behavioral to fit the new rules. Once the bar closes, everyone will "congo line" to the bar at the hotel.

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New Pensionado Discount Benefit in Panama - "Half Price Hookers"?

Nightlife, Bars, and Partying #Panama - By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Some of the questions I get just make me laugh out loud. Received this afternoon via email: "Hi Don, Are licensed houses of prostitution (ie: Golden Time, etc.) required by law to give a jubilado discount for entertatinment (50%)? Thanks, R." Honestly, I have no idea. I would love to know, however. It that's true - my God - I can just see it now. Hordes of horny old buzzards flocking down from South Florida with a bottle of Viagra in one hand and whatever's left of their retirement assets in the other. For example, there's currently a $100 per hour special running on the girl in the photo. If this is true, then they would have to accept $50 per hour, right? And can you believe that in more than seven years of running this website, no one has asked that question (that I can remember).

Worthy Of A Little Investigation: Of course you know I like anything that has to do with hookers, prostitutes, massage parlors, and sex for money in the Republic of Panama. I think prostitution should be legal just about anywhere. If two adults want to exchange sex for money behind closed doors, then have at it. And of course this sort of a topic gives me a great excuse to talk about the sex for money business in Panama. So, what's not to like? Yup, that does it. I'm going to do a full blown (pardon the pun) investigation on this one. I think I'll start with the whore houses and massage parlors and ask them, but I suspect I can predict the answer. They will say "hell no" Hold on, let me check...

Not The Answers I Expected: Ha! There's a loophole. For example if you look at the El Complaciente website, they just charge the girls a flat monthly rate to appear on their website. The guys call and they are passed off directly to the girls who then work their magic. The girls charge whatever they want as independents. And since they are operating on their own and they have no established business or licence, then they can charge whatever the market will bear. Good luck trying to force them to give you a 50% discount, just because your geezer meter is pegging. Probably not going to happen.

Slightly Different Business Model: I called the Oasis Club and spoke to the manager there. He said someone has just asked him that very same question yesterday, but he said "he asked in almost like a joke." Their business model is slightly different - they charge $40 bucks an hour at the door as a service charge, then the girls and the guys negotiate their own separate deal in the back. Of course the managers and owners have no idea what's happening back there, just a simple massage, right? I asked him if they would honor the 50% retiree discount at the door if someone asked for it, and he said he would be calling his lawyer to find out if they were legally required to or not. He said he knew about retiree discounts on airplane tickets, fast food, and medicine - but this was a new one. I specifically said the question is - does this fall into the same category of "entertainment" - such as going to the movies. I mean, what if my idea of "entertainment" is tossing kittens into a wood chipper? I bet the law is pretty specific, and I doubt it covers stiff peckers, lap dances, and hand-jobs.

So, What Does The Law Say (Specifically): The law says all Jubilados and Pensionados (regardless of Age) are also entitled to these benefits - "Discount of 50% of price charged for entrance to recreation and entertainment activities, such as movies, theaters, sports and other public productions." Here's a link to the translation of the law on Retiree Discounts and Benefits in Panama. I consulted with a lawyer friend of mine and he said he doesn't think the discount would apply, because "there's no way the people who wrote this law were thinking about whore houses, massage parlors, and prostitutes at the time" when the law was enacted. But then when he went back and read the text of the law in Spanish again, he sort of softened his position a little, saying "from a purely legal point of view, it would depend on the wording of the establishments operating permits and licenses - what did they apply for, and what are they doing?" Finally he said that anyone could always ask for the discount, "and if you are denied, you can always complain to the ACODECO." The ACODECO is the Consumer Protection Agency in Panama. This is where you go if you think any business is not property honoring the Jubilado discount as required by law. The words of the law itself - "recreation and entertainment activities" - leaves room for interpretation. And, a hot Colombian hooker might just slip in there somewhere.

Another Loophole - "Luxury Service" I called back to the manager of the Oasis club after he had a chance to check with his people. He said according to their interpretation of the law the 50% discount does not apply because they are a "luxury service" ("servicio de lujo"). And interestingly enough, he suggested that anyone who does not agree with their interpretation has every right in the world to go to ACODECO and ask them. They are the ones who interpret and break the ties when there's a question or a dispute. So, let me ask the ACODECO...

Customer Service, Can I Help You? I spoke to someone at the ACODECO specifically responsible for interpreting these kinds of questions and issues with regards to the law on retiree discounts. She knew the law by memory and could quote it chapter and verse. Basically, her answer agreed completely with what my lawyer friend told me - hookers and prostitutes are not included in the "spirit and intent" of the law. She said the law was intended to give retirees a discount for public events like at the movie theater, a sporting event, or some other kind of a public venue. She said "the back room of a massage parlor is a little more intimate." She also made reference to the "luxury services" angle as quoted by the manager of the Oasis club. The bottom line was clear - if you try to bring a complaint to the ACODECO against a hooker, prostitute, massage parlor, or other kind of sex services establishment in Panama to claim your 50% retiree discount - they're going to turn you down.

Making Those Social Security Dollars "Love You Long Time" Talk about trying to get a bang for your buck. But hey, why not? It's a legitimate question, right? And like I said, I don't think anyone has seriously asked me about this issue before, or if they have I've forgotten about it. Anyway, glad to be of assistance. So the bad news is you don't get your 50% discount. The good news is that the chicks are already good looking and relatively cheap anyway. Or, you could take your $100 bucks and blow it on dinner and a bottle of wine back in the states for a different kind of "date." Whatever. Best of luck.

Copyright 2011 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Two Bars On Via Veneto Operated as Whore Houses

Nightlife, Bars, and PartyingTwo bars, the Doll House and the Moulin Rouge, closed after "Operation Fiesta", did not have permits to operate as "houses of occasion" (whore houses). In both places government officials discovered rooms with beds, indicating the sites allegedly engaged in illegal prostitution. A source in the Office of the Special Prosecutor Against Organized Crime said these places had operating permits including massage services, liquor and entertainment. "Operation Fiesta" was initiated to detect the sales of illegal drugs, an investigation being carried out by the First Anti Drug Prosecutor, but another investigation was opened into allegations of human trafficking, which is being managed by the Organized Crime Prosecutor. In this latter case two people are being investigated, an Israeli and an American. As for the alleged illegal sale of drugs there are investigations open against nine people. (Panama America)
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Six Hookers (And A Hamburger Salesman) Busted in David

Nightlife, Bars, and PartyingSeveral women vented their anger after being arrested for alleged prostitution. They shouted insults such as "go photograph and video your mother" at journalists who were covering a surprise operation on Wednesday by the National Immigration Service together with the National Police at 8:00 pm in the "Volcancito" bar near the old public market in David, Chiriqui. Six women were arrested - three Colombians, two Dominicans and a Venezuelan, aged 25 to 40 years old. Also detained was a Colombian man who was selling hamburgers without a health permit, a street peddler on Ave. F Sur in David. Edwin Garcia, head of Immigration in the Chiriqui province, said the seven detained citizens had documents as tourists. Immigration sources revealed the man did not have a work permit, and the women had overstayed and their tourist visas were expired, so the Immigration in Chiriqui is coordinating the transfer of the six women and one man to the headquarters of the institution in Panama City, to proceed with the relevant procedures and their subsequent deportation. The owners of the bar will be cited to apply the sanctions dictated in immigration law, for having foreign nationals working without the proper work permits. In the first five months of the year, Immigration has spent $190,369 to deport 175 foreigners. (El Siglo)

Editor's Comment: Busting Colombian hookers in Panama makes fat, ugly Panamanian wives happy, but the hamburger guy? That's just wrong...

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Capri Club (Formerly Known As The Fenix) Raided and Shut Down

Nightlife, Bars, and PartyingThe Mayor of Panama ordered the closure of the Capri nightclub (formerly known as the Fenix) and sanctioned several sex workers in the Gruta Azul, for failing to comply with municipal regulations. The action was carried out in order to make nightlife safer and detect those who break the law. During the action the old Fenix was temporarily closed because they were not in compliance with existing Municipal norms. At the same time some of the sex workers in the Gruta Azul were arrested for not paying their taxes. During the "social prophylaxis operation" a large number of undocumented persons and others who are conducting clandestine prostitution in the streets of the capital were also arrested. Municipal authorities and officers of the Municipal Police toured the districts of 24 de Diciembre, Tocumen, Rio Abajo, San Felipe and Santa Ana. (La Critica)

Editor's Comment: Hookers at the Gruta Azul who are not paying their municipal taxes? These are the chicks who blow Panamanian cab drivers for $5 bucks a pop. I dunno, but taxing hookers just doesn't seem right - like, it sort of makes the government their pimp, right? Could you imagine the IRS form for that one if this was done in the United States? "Under Section C, Line number six - Specify the total number of times you engaged in sexual intercourse (sex) in exchange for money. Line number seven - Specify the standard amount charged per each act of coitis, and enter it here. Line number eight - Multiply Line Six times Line Seven and enter the result here. This is your "Baseline Ho-Multiplixer (BHM). Line number nine - Specify the total amount recognized as discounts given for any of the following - coitus interruptus, premature ejaculation, or erectile dysfunction due to excessive alcohol consumption. Line number ten - Subtract line nine from your BHM, and enter the result here. Note - if your answer is less than zero, congratulations, you're married..."

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