“The case of Minera Panamá is a clear example of the lack of transparency displayed by several administrations, including the current one,” TI’s media statement reads. “Since the Executive announced, back in January 2022, that it had reached an agreement with the company, guaranteeing a minimum payment of $375 million per year and an increase in royalties, little to no information had been disclosed until yesterday when the suspension measures of Minera Panamá’s commercial activities were announced.”
In the view of the NGO, the lack of open information hinders the ability of the Panamanian population to assess whether the government is defending people’s best interests or whether there are conflicts of interest or undue influences at play in the negotiations.
The brief compares the dealings with Minera Panamá to those related to the renewal of a contract with Panamá Ports a year ago. According to TI, such negotiations were done in a shady way and resulted in the government accepting insufficient remuneration for the use of the Panama Canal and allowing a company to monopolize it for the next 25 years.
“The legal obligation of being transparent and allowing access to public information has regressed alarmingly in this administration, both being replaced by unprecedented silence, illegal refusals, and impunity,” the communiqué reads. “Democracy, which these days is threatened in many parts of the world, requires citizens to actively and permanently defend it, demanding accountability from institutions, officials and politicians.”