Panama Canal Expected to Coup Massive Profits, But Receives Criticism

April 14, 2014 Posted by Rachel

The 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal urged many investors and the Panamanian government to renovate it to accommodate larger ships. With billions of dollars in manpower, equipment and logistics to finally allow modern ships to pass through, Panama is expected to gain massive profits. However, Panama locals believe that the profits may not trickle down as best as expected, and it may never even reach or help the poorest citizens of the country.

Builders and contractors from Spain, Belgium, Italy and Panama itself will expand the Canal’s capacity by installing additional locks and will allow 12,000-container-capable ships to pass through the 49.7 MI waterway that will connect it from the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

Despite the advantages it brings, the renovation of the Panamanian canal faces many controversies, particularly that of Sacyr. The contractor complained about the Panamanian Canal Authority not delivering for cost overruns. The dispute had threatened to extend the canal’s renovation deadline past 2015.

According to a US Army Corps of Engineers report, the Panama Canal’s development can drive away economic trade from Arizona. Arizona has a stake in Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, where containers travel by truck or railroad in the country to other areas.

Locals who are worried the Panama government’s profits will not do any good except for a few people said that the investments of the country should be in education and the development of the country’s youth.


Ricardo Martinelli Asks Venezuela to Pay Panama $1 Billion in Debt

March 11, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli asks Venezuela to pay back $1 Billion in debt to Panamanian exporters and not to use its decision to break ties with Panama as an excuse to escape from debt. According to President Martinelli, Venezuela appears to be bankrupt when it is actually a very rich country.


Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro said that the $1 billion Venezuelan debt to Panama was a fabrication and had announced that it was breaking diplomatic relations with Panama. Maduro also accused Panama of conspiring with the United States to interfere in Venezuelan affairs through the use of the $1 billion debt.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said that Venezuela suspended future debt negotiations.

In a speech expressing strong dismay at Venezuela’s response, Panamanian Foreign Minister Alvarez De Soto said that they want to “reiterate and exress” the astonishment caused to the government of Panama by the Venezuelan government’s decision. He added that the accusations of Maduro were not based on reality.

According to Jaua, the government plans to advance a criminal charge against Panama President Martinelli. Jaua claims they have proof that Venezuela had already paid Panamanian exporters, but the goods they ordered did not arrive.


I Don’t Think Claims Management Companies Are Pests

February 17, 2014 Posted by Rachel

The UK’s compensation culture and taxpayer-backed legal system allows every national to have equal access to justice, which makes a no win no fee solicitor available to anybody who needs to make an injury claim. However, the increasing number of no win no fee solicitor agencies, claims management companies and others make them pests, especially those who advertise over the internet, chat, text messaging and even calls.

But I don’t view them as pests; not after what one did for my sister.

A speeding motorcycle hit my sister, she was a victim, but the motorcycle driver died because of severe concussions. The light vehicle hit her leg. Doctors said her leg joints were fragmented.

I approached the family of the motorcycle driver, who then refused to provide compensation simply because their son died already. However, I said it is only fair they help me save my sister. Still, they wouldn’t budge. So I went for a claims expert for help.

The claims expert understood the situation and he said the burden of responsibility lies with the next of kin, meaning, the victim’s family. Their insurance company of their son can provide them monetary compensation upon their death. However, they still have a responsibility to my sister. The claims expert stressed to claim for loss of consortium or impairment, given that her leg only had a 10% possibility of recovery.

The claims expert pestered the family for months until they finally gave in. I find the 25% I paid him for compensation as even small given the consistent pestering I also did with him for progress. But he handled the situation effectively, as their advertisement text message had promised me.

Sacyr Denies Stopping Panama Canal Work

February 6, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Spanish contractor Sacyr denies halting work at Panama Canal despite the call of Panama President Ricardo Martinelli for help regarding Sacyr’s threat of halting construction because of the government’s massive cost overruns. Sacyr President Manuel Manrique said that they had set no date to stop the work in the canal.

The official figures of the dispute regarding the cost overruns involve the Panama Canal Authority and other contractors for not paying $1.6 billion in extra costs for the construction of Panama Canal.

The new Panama Canal project, backed by the United States and other countries, will enable the shipping route to manage larger vessels, which would reduce trade costs for many overseas companies.

Sacyr said if the cost overruns were not addressed, 10,000 jobs were at risk. However, the Panama Canal Authority said that it will not “yield to blackmail”, which is their view of Sacyr’s statement.

However, Manrique admitted that work may eventually stop if funding ceases. It has not yet given a final decision regarding the matter.  According to Canal Administrator Jorge Quintano, Sacyr is being “inflexible” with its negotiations. Sacyr stressed in a statement that “without an immediate solution, we face years of disputes in national and international tribunals.”


Panama Calls on Spain for Help With Canal Issue

January 7, 2014 Posted by Rachel

Panama President Ricardo Martinelli had asked Spain for help against a Spanish contractor who had threatened to halt construction until it gets paid for massive cost overruns.

The Spanish builder Sacyr, which is the leader of Grupo Unidos por el Canal (GUPC), which includes major building companies in Europe, claimed that the Panama Canal Authority, who has authority over the waterway, has a total of $1.6 billion in cost overruns. It had given the Panama Canal Authority until January 20 to comply with their issue.

The project, which is now constructing a third set of locks that could handle bigger ships, is set on a halt from 2009.

President Martinelli had met with Spain’s Public Works Minister Ana Pastor in Panama City to discuss the dispute between the two countries. Pastor said that she aims for helping the two individual companies involved to reach agreement.

The Panama Canal project was supported by many western and South American countries because it could cut down costs. The canal, originally built in 1914, handles 5% of the world trade with the number of ships that take port in its facilities. The new locks will help the canal accommodate larger ships coming from modern ports.


Ponzi Scheme Mastermind Arrested in Panama

December 20, 2013 Posted by Rachel

Thomas F. Tarbutton fled to Brazil in 2011 after his victims have filed charges against him and a warrant for his arrest had been given. However, the $3 million dollar exile in Panama was caught and will be delivered to the Orange County to face trial.

Tarbutton flew to Panama and authorities caught up with the fraudster and was deported back to California for due processing.

He is the mastermind of the alleged Ponzi scheme in 2004 where he ran a real estate company that invited investors to provide money to have other people loan them for use to purchase other properties. Falsified documents showed that these investors held liens on properties and were even given fraud documents for the money they invested in.

To further his scheme, he also paid his investors small amounts to ensure they are not up to date with the Ponzi scheme he started. After the collapse of the real estate market and the financial crisis of 2008, he stopped paying his investors.

His Ponzi scheme, along with 29 criminal charges including grand theft and forgery, will earn him 30 years and 8 months in prison if he is convicted.

He is currently at the Men’s Central Jail in Santa Ana, California.

Investing in Panama Canals Could Be Great Move According to US Vice President

November 26, 2013 Posted by Rachel

United States Vice President Joe Biden said that the potential of developing Panamanian canals for shipping lanes could do well for western and global commerce.

Biden said that newer ships are capable of carrying entire vehicles, shipments of car machine parts and other materials that pass through other canals and passages, which become more costly for some manufacturers. However, he said that if the Panamanian canal allows these bigger ships to fit in seamlessly, a “barrier” will disappear from the economic progress.

The development of Panamanian canals, according to the Vice President, will allow American manufacturers to have a gateway to the Atlantic and Pacific.

According to him, currently, the Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli is currently working on a project that will develop the Panamanian canal to accommodate US manufacturing and shipping ships.

The canal trips begin and end in the United states, which helps the country lower the cost of exports and increase the volume of their exports, helping manufacturers grow their businesses and helping the economy. The canal will also connect manufacturers to the Asian markets.

He said that he is encouraging investors to place their confidence in the success of the Panamanian canal as it would help save the economy of the United States and enrich the global economy.


Rogue PPI Claims Management Firms Can Be Fined According to MOJ

November 15, 2013 Posted by Rachel

The Treasury and Ministry of Justice said that all claims management firms who would continue to harass UK nationals and deliver unwarranted PPI claims to banks and financial companies will be fined for their actions. The MOJ’s actions are its response to banks complaining about rogue claims management companies adding up to their administrative costs by sending in unfounded PPI complaints.

According to Lloyds, its £8 billion PPI refund allocation has £1.6 billion attributed to administrative costs alone. Every lender in the UK almost pays 30% of their PPI refund to administrative costs due to fraud or unfounded PPI complaints.

PPI or payment protection insurance helps consumers repay their loans, mortgages and credit cards when they get sick or into an accident. However, due to many consumers sold an insurance they did not need, the UK government had pushed the financial industry to refund their consumers. If you want to know the total amount of refunds you could get, you can consult a PPI calculator mostly found online.

Rogue PPI claims management firms are known for cold-calling consumers and inviting consumers to make a PPI claim through text. Most of these companies charge up-front fees to claimants and do not inform them that the Financial Ombudsman is another free service they could use for PPI claiming.

Panama Releases 32 of the 35 North Korean Ship Crew

October 30, 2013 Posted by admin

Panama had released the majority of the North Korean Ship that it intercepted to be delivering weapons to North Korea from Cuba. The crew will be released from prison and will be allowed to return to North Korea according to a Panama official. The three remaining crew, including the captain, his assistant and the political emissary will face charges.

The anonymous official accused the three of carrying illegal weapons, which amount to 12 years in prison. Another anonymous official said that the other North Koreans will be released the following week.

North Korea released a statement that it demanded Panama return the 10,000 sacks of sugar the ship was carrying and bound to deliver from July 15, 2013. The sugar was to be used to make candy for an end of the year celebration for North Korean children. The sugar was worth $5 billion according to the anonymous Panamanian official.

Panamanian officials seized the ship when it passed Panama on suspicion that it carried drugs. They discovered the ship to be carrying two Cuban fighter jets, both in good working condition.

When asked about the situation, Cuba said that the weapons they provided to North Korea were obsolete.

UN Law states that Cuba had violated the sanction against selling and supplying weapons to North Korea.


Financial Conduct Authority Reveals Results from PPI Investigation

October 9, 2013 Posted by admin

The Financial Conduct Authority said that only six out of eighteen UK banks were performing effectively in compensating customers who were mis sold PPI. The remaining 12 financial companies were unnecessarily delaying customers and they have not compensated their customers properly. The FCA said that one of the twelve were due for enforcement action and others may be fined.

The Financial Ombudsman echoes the same notion as it reports it received 266,388 PPI complaints in the first half of 2013, nearly a 26% increase in the PPI complaints from 2012. Financial Ombudsman Chief Natalie Ceeney pointed out that banks are still “dragging their feet”, having 8 out of 10 bank-rejected claims upheld for consumers.

PPI is an insurance product that goes with your loan or mortgage, but if you were already excluded from the terms and conditions, or these exclusions were not shown to you, you are mis sold the insurance. Claims management companies such as PPI ClaimBack Co could help you get back the compensation you deserve.

The FCA expressed its disappointment with the financial institutions and are studying possible improvements for PPI complaints processing. The total PPI compensation bill UK banks and financial institutions face goes around £12 billion.