Land dispute and water rights issue

May 8, 2010

Lito’s confrontation

One of the problems facing Panamanians is the lack of land deeds. Most plots have conveyed within families but these days more are being conveyed outside the familiy. Therefore precise plots are necessary and are often lacking. The lack of registration also applies to easements, and this factored into a confrontation just the other day.

Our village, like many, obtain drinking water from sources originating at a higher elevation to take advantage of gravity to produce water pressure. There are very few holding tanks filled with electric pumps, an excellent choice in a country where electricity supplies are too often interrupted. When visitors from the Biological Corridor, part of ANAM, the enviromental agency, came to visit the other day they wanted to see the water font. To get there they need ingress through the land of the Aguilar family.

The visitors were refused entrance. There was a document signed in the 1970’s allowing the water committee to use the land but apparently there was never an easement granted. Thus the owners have to be forced to allow any access to the property until an easment is granted. This could take some time, and if there are any broken pipes or other problems, Santa Clara’s water supply is at risk.

Apparently the conflict turned ugly. Lito is very civic minded and energetic and perhaps is not always diplomatic. He seemed very upset when he told all this to Peg.

The mayor supported the landowner, for reasons I could not understand. But ANAM apparently has lawyers who work on these sorts of problems.

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