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Culture Ministry Amid Controversy, Including Contract Irregularities

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Culture Minister denies park devastation report


Posted 07/12/2019

Panama’s Minister of Culture, Carlos Aguilar, has labeled “Fake News an item circulating on social media that the government "will destroy" 12 hectares of the Metropolitan Natural Park to build a ministry.

 On Saturday he categorically denied the report and said the area described is not protected and what the ministry seeks, together with the Ministry of Environment, is to protect it, as well as the patrimonial site of the Camino de Cruces.

"Information that is 100% false is circulating in social networks. It would be better to approach the authorities to consult about the projects carried out by the ministry, because we are an open-door institution," Aguilar said.

In the area cited through social media accounts, the City of Arts project is built, which has the full endorsement of the authorities in environmental matters, respecting both natural spaces and heritage areas.

The project, which has more than 46% progress will be an ideal center for the development of cultural and artistic expressions of our young people, in harmony with the environment said the minister



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Culture Ministry contracts questioned


The Ministry of Culture was created in 2019

Posted 04/02/2021

, the newly created Ministry of Culture,  headed by Carlos Aguilar, is facing an investigation of contracts for at least $628,000 for the 'My Culture at Home' program.

Five of the contracts including including one direct for $285,000 went to Jimmy Dawson Production, Inc. a company that was disqualified from contracting with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in 2018 for "the commission of acts that indicate a lack of honesty in the actions." Furthermore, the edict that notifies the disqualification details "the use of ACP employees as an agent or intermediary for the purpose of obtaining a contract."

Minister Aguilar defended himself against the questions claiming that his portfolio is transparent. He questioned the communicators who have brought the issue to light, and  called them "gossip."

Aguilar said "We not only gave emotional relief to people at home, we also generated income for artists in the midst of the pandemic," Aguilar said during the event.

The minister criticized journalists and communicators, calling them "Gossipers "and questioned their intentions in demanding transparency in purchases.

The Ministry of Culture was created by law on August 15, 2019.

In Panama Compra there are contracts for $628,000housand to develop these virtual artistic presentations that are broadcast on Sertv, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, among others.

The Ministry of Culture primarily hired Jimmy Dawson Productions, Inc to hire the artists. At least six contracts have been assigned to him since last September that total $382 thousand. The one with the highest amount ($285,797) was for the coordination, logistics, production, and realization of the year-end closing event, and was granted directly at the beginning of December 2020.

The document that justifies the direct allocation spoke of an urgent nature and it was alleged that time would not allow the necessary purchase process (public bidding) to be carried out. The contract, as proposed by Jimmy Dawson Productions, Inc., included the rental of a mobile truck, food, payment to the performers and entertainers, and the cost of producing the shows.

Other contracts awarded to the same company include more agreements with artists for different programs. But these purchases did  notgo through a bidding process even when it was not offering the best price

The Jimmy Dawson Production, Inc. company is chaired by Jaime Walter Dawson, according to Public Registry documents.

In the midst of the controversy, he issued a statement in which he says that "the company is charging what is fair and what corresponds for the work." He added that he has been working in the industry for more than 30 years and that he meets all the necessary requirements to participate in tenders  T-here is no mention of the direct contract that was awarded to him.

The Ministry of Culture explained to La Prensa that at first  the entity directly managed contracts with the artists, but it was decided to hire an administrator "to facilitate the processing and payment of those hired." That's when they hire Jimmy Dawsons Productions.

The  portfolio also gave another direct contract similar to that of Dawson to the company Deep Blue Circus, for the closing event. The amount: $213,786 and it was also argued lack of time to bring it to tender. Deep Blue Circus is chaired, a, by Richard Montenegro Jaén.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Culture Ministry Amid Controversy
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OPINION - Spendthrift Culture

Posted 05/02/2021

The Ministry of Culture (MiCultura) has produced a surprising management report. Although it is plausible that it has generated work for national artists in the midst of the pandemic, the truth is that it also decided to award contracts - some direct, others in competition - for unnecessary and even superfluous expenses, since everyone knows that the country needs each penny and waste is unforgivable.

The level of irresponsibility of MiCultura, in this particular case, and of the Government, in general, is worrying because officials do not seem to understand the economic situation in the country. The Minister of Culture even went so far as to offend journalists and the media, who are only doing their job of serving as a counterweight to the constituted powers, Therefore, they have the right to question the use of State resources that - be understood correctly - are not peculiar to the minister, but to all Panamanians and, consequently, the duty of this official is to render accounts on their use. Culture is part of our identity, it is the expression of who we are and the minister of the portfolio in question is very far from representing us as Panamanians concerned about the future of this country LA PRENSA, Feb. 5



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Corruption probe of culture contracts


Posted 24/03/2021

The  Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation into alleged irregularities in a  Ministry of Culture project for entertainment via social media.

At least six contracts   totaling  $382,000 were awarded to Jimmy Dawson Production Inc.

Sources linked to the investigations reported that initially it is planned to take an affidavit from 22 people of interest in the investigation. Right now, the prosecution located the first two  and is trying to do the same with the other 20.

Among the first mentioned are social communicators whose names appear in the contracts, although they allegedly did not receive the money agreed with the company Jimmy Dawson Production Inc., chaired by Jaime Walter Dawson, according to documents from the Public Registry.

According to the sources consulted by La Prensa, these are the first proceedings that have been known since Daniel Lopera and Mauricio Valenzuela personally filed a complaint with the Public Ministry on February 5 against the Minister of Culture, Carlos Aguilar, for alleged irregularities in the contract with Jimmy Dawson Productions Inc.

At the time, communicators and journalists contacted by La Prensa denied having any kind of contractual relationship with Dawson's company.

Among the communicators are Yodalis Bethancourt, Jaime Chong; Welcome Mojica, and Didia Gallardo.

In the midst of the scandal generated by these contracts, Dawson issued a statement, in which he stated: "the company is charging what is fair and what is due for the work."



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