Transparency 52: Jorge Arango the minister of MIDA: About the lack of transparency to the abandonment of their duties
In opinion of Transparency, the action of minister Arango has generate a deficit of legal guarantees
"La Estrella de Panama”, two years ago, on July 2, 2014 wrote:
(1) "The ministry, every five years becomes a department of human resources where the new people with a certain profile replaces others with almost the same profile. That is how the new one continues the same things as the old official. This system fails, it is the same every five years or every time you change the minister ".
(2) "The crux of the matter is that the new minister does not change the agricultural sector because, despite comprising the sector and its problems, cannot find the 'way' that allows you to administer".
(3) "The minister within a few months becomes an observer of the agricultural sector because it cannot guide administrative mechanisms that allows to control."
(4) "The minister 'does not work in the sector', even if is the president of all autonomous and semi-autonomous institutions. It is just a decoration who goes to meetings to solve the problems that each director wants to solve even and worst he/she is out of those meetings as if he/she had done something good and do not realize that they are using him/her to transfer responsibilities of directors. "
(5) It is almost impossible to follow a particular agricultural policy if you do not have an administrative mechanism to follow-up and edit the paths when necessary. As far as I know, no minister has achieved this control. That's why this sector maintains an organizational failure and there are never results of a good control.
(6) No one has control over what a technician is doing in his area. This means that an organized system like this is what you will find with the new minister Dr. Jorge Arango.
It's been two years and we must accept that these assumptions were true even during this period (2014-2016) the events have resulted in the addition of a new feature of the MIDA, in our opinion, be compounded if the situation described above further.
In the blog of Transparency “Veterinaria Digital”, September 30, 2015, we pointed out four troubling realities, from the point of view of performance of transparency MIDA of Panama:
1. It has become transparent management of certain economic funds by senior officials of Directorate of Animal Health MIDA
2. The use of vehicles with plate MI (International Mission) with free gasoline is revealed, by senior officials of Directorate of Animal Health MIDA, without responding to any international mission and domestic use of vehicles belonging to the international organization OIRSA.
3. A constant breach of working hours in the MIDA, committed by a senior official of that body, open from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm, and at that same time period was teaching classes at the University of Panama from 02:45 pm.
4. The requirement for application of standards not contained in the Panamanian legislation during inspections by public servants to some related industries of Animal Health, allowed the application of some objective criteria and above all people were away from the legal reality. The distortion has reached the point of no officials to incorporate such inspections and to submit reports not collected the conclusions of the procees.
Since then, except the expulsion of several officials DINASA affected by paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 have not taken steps to improve operating deficits mentioned in item 4.
Last year a group of businessmen, agricultural technicians and university professors have repeatedly contacted the Minister Arango to informing him about the need to change this situation. Offering international, European and American advice, the experts in their respective countries had developed administrative structures in Animal Health, so has offered business collaboration to jointly develop the provisions and infrastructure that allow Panama to join the developers orbit countries, producers and exporters of Animal Health technologies. Even some professors and former seniors of MIDA have exposed their views in writing to the Minister Arango.
What was the response of the Minister Arango? Well, convene a meeting at the headquarters of MIDA, the people travelled thousands of kilometers for the meeting where the minister Arango did not even attend and neither gave excuse of his failure.
If this attitude was deplorable, it has been worst in our opinion the following actions. First he said, and recognized, ignored people that had summoned, and later opted to transfer the fact to MINSA that the law of 23 of July 15, 1997 attributed to MIDA.
In this situation a Panamanian expert consulted by Transparency attempt advice and wrote a letter to Minister Arango where he remembered: "Law 23 of July 25, 1997 gives clearly to MIDA competition to establish manufacturing standards, import, distribution, sale and use of veterinary drugs and food for animal consumption. It also gives the power to establish the requirements to be met by establishments engaged in each of these activities and especially the monitoring of compliance with these standards. This function He was being exerted by the Ministry of Health until 1997, through the Department of Pharmacy and Drugs but unanimous approval of the plenary session of the H. CIRSA was recommended at the time by the President of Panama to transfer this function to MIDA, representative and spokesman of Panama as OIE (advisor on animal health) "This document cannot be ignored, nor can it be the law 23 by the Minister Arango as it has a stamp to enter in MIDA dated January 08, 2016.
In conclusion, in our opinion, the actions of the Minister Arango has only generate a deficit of legal guarantees, according to sources consulted by Transparency has begun to affect the establishment of industries in Panama, led to the filing of several lawsuits against MIDA and some of its officers, court, and can lead, against the intentions of those who have tried to collaborate with the Minister Arango in improving the situation of MIDA on issues of Animal Health in a barrage of international lawsuits against the Republic of Panama at the International Centre for Dispute Resolution USA World Bank and the International Court of Arbitration in London or other regional judicial bodies.
Now it seems a fact that the Minister Arango shall leave his government, leaves clearly worse situation that has been described in “La Estrella de Panama”. Arango's statement of reason to leave is: "the bureaucracy that exists." Statement that does not satisfy those who sought to collaborate must emphasize that during his tenure he did not seek mechanisms to be efficient in the management despite receiving proposals from both national and international collaborations.
And as usual, when analyzing cases exposed in Transparency we get some questions:
(1) What have been the true and real interests in this case for the Minister Arango?
(2) Was this act a sign of ineffectiveness or conversely a defense of business interests of the Ministry of Arango?
(3) What relationship has this act with individuals, past and future interests as an entrepreneur in the agricultural sector?
(4) Was this act a sign of weakness of Arango Minister under pressure from former officials related to Animal Health? ".