• The agenda is open to suggestions from the peasants
  • The rights of the inhabitants of the region will be guaranteed
  • Mechanisms to foster a permanent dialogue will be set in place

Panama, Septembre 21, 2001 – Next Monday, September 24, 2001, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) will meet with representatives of the communities settled in the Western Region of the Canal Watershed to discuss issues related to the policies and programs of the organization for that region. The agenda for this meeting has not been predetermined; in fact, it is open to suggestions from the peasants.

The Constitution establishes that the ACP is responsible for the administration, maintenance, use, and conservation of the water resources of the Watershed and for the modernization of the Panama Canal. These responsibilities entail protecting the supply of water for the country’s most populated areas and for the efficient and competitive operation of the Canal. In line with its constitutional responsibility, the ACP carries out its duties by promoting a permanent dialogue with the inhabitants of the region.

The ACP guarantees respect and protection of residents’ rights and encourages active community participation in the design and execution of the programs for the region.

Over 50 representatives of the communities within the Watershed will participate in this meeting, which will take place in the Girl Scout’s Club of Sonadora, Penonome. These spokespersons will voice their concerns, criteria, and opinions about the work the ACP must carry out in the area. The Archbishop of Panama, the bishops of Kuna Yala and Cocle, as well as representatives of the Peasants Against Dams Coordinating Board, the Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Peasants of the Western Region, among other organizations, have also been invited to attend.

The ACP will be represented in this meeting by Canal Administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta, Deputy Administrator Ricaurte Vasquez, and the heads of the offices responsible for the Watershed.