A one-page letter, dated January 3, signed by: Panama Sports President Neven Ilic informs Colombia that it will no longer host the 2027 Pan American GamesIt sparked the first political firestorm of the year, triggering multiple lawsuits at home and abroad and the release of versions from government officials in both countries that are already underway. Announcing a debate on a censure motion against the sports minister and demanding information from controlling bodies to determine disciplinary and even financial responsibility.
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This news is like a bucket of cold water poured over the country, especially in the Atlantic Ocean, Progress has already been made on the development of where the sports competitions will be held and the infrastructure works to host the participants.
Although official notification made it clear that the contract signed on August 27, 2021 identifying Barranquilla as the host city has been annulled due to Colombia’s non-compliance, the city’s newly appointed mayor, Alex Char said President Gustavo Petro’s government is working to revive the organization of the Games.
In a brief message, The Times learned from sources within the palace, Petro asked his government team to do everything possible to resume sporting events. One of the measures was to seek out Chilean President Gabriel Boric as an intermediary with the head of Panama Sports, also a Chilean.
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Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Office has launched a preliminary investigation and asked Sports Minister Astrid Rodríguez to explain what prompted Panama Sport’s decision, what the company said was a non-compliance The reasons for the regulations and the financial consequences of non-compliance. – Comply and implement events.
In turn, Deputy Auditor General Luis Enrique Abadía, acting Auditor General, insisted that They have been convening working groups to review the issue of setting out specific commitments since October last year and have warned of resource losses since then.
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In fact, the official warned that more than $2 million that the city of Barranquilla had paid in advance could be lost. This is due to the following facts: If the agreement is breached, the contract will be in favor of Panama Sport.
The contract known to this newspaper states that if Panama Sports receives payments, they “will continue to be the assets of the company” unless Colombia
Former Council of State judge Carlos Alberto Zambrano told EL TIEMPO that in such contracts companies usually spell out clearly what will happen if they do not comply.
“The most likely sanction will be monetary damages, in which case the person to respond will be the Office of the Mayor of Barranquilla, the Atlantico Government, the Ministry of Sports or the State as agreed in the contract.” Zambrano said.
Likewise, in the event that a loss of resources is attributed to Barranquilla, Those responsible are those officials who failed to take care to ensure that this obligation was fulfilled.
“On the other hand, if the money was lost due to the fault of another person, such as the Colombian state or the Olympic Committee, it is certainly their responsibility, in my opinion In light of this happening, Barranquilla may file a lawsuit to recover the lost money.“explained former Magistrate Zambrano.
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At the same time, there are many voices in Congress calling for Astrid Rodriguez to resign. In fact, the opposition has announced that it will file a censure motion against the minister and summon the official for political control.
Cambio Radical Party Senator David Luna and Democratic Center Representative Andres Forero each announced the summons for oil government officials.
“This title for Panama Sports represents a very special recognition of a country that is unconditionally committed to the development of sports on the African continent. The organization of the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games surprised us. Then they believed in us and despite the pandemic, they put in an incredible effort and work for the first Pan American Youth Games in Cali 2021, which makes us very happy and motivatedNeven Ilic said this during the event in Barranquilla in August 2021, when Colombia officially became the host country of the Olympic Games.
The person on the stage that day was the then-President. Iván Duque, Atlantico Governor Elsa Nogueira, Barranquilla Mayor Jaime Pumarejo and Colombian Olympic Committee President Ciro Solano are in principle responsible for the organization of the first phase of the Games Work.
Since August 2022, with the change of government, as a matter of connecting topics, This became the responsibility of officials appointed by President Petro.
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On August 30 last year, the first substantive warning was issued for violations. The consequences of the warning were already expected, and a 60-day period was given to resolve the problem.In the letter, by radio broadcasting station It is said that they can unilaterally decide to withdraw from the Colombian Olympic Games headquarters. In addition, “Assume any and all damages and any other available rights and remedies.”
The letter also referred to two previous letters sent on September 16 and November 15, 2022, and mentioned that “they have seriously breached the contract.”
Specifically, the letter mentioned that the organizing committee has not yet been established, the US$4 million corresponding to the organizing rights has not yet been paid, the US$4 million used to grant media rights has not yet been paid, the introduction of the work schedule and the detailed approval of the Olympic Games The budget and insurance policy are $50 million.
On October 26 last year, Panam Sports issued a new letter warning that the breaches continued and therefore It “automatically eliminates the extension of time provided to remedy breaches of the host city’s contract,” as listed in the first letter.
Faced with the non-compliance, Minister Astrid Rodriguez responded at a press conference: “This contract was signed for 2021, with payments made that year. No payments were made in 2022. In 2023, we resumed the dialogue to indicate that we wanted to consider how we could continue to work with headquarters, and we committed to making the 2022 payments in December, but due to Cash flow issues, we couldn’t do that, that’s why we decided to do it in 2023. January ($8 million).”
He added that in a meeting with Panamanian Sport, the government reiterated its intention to move forward with the organization of the Games.
Experienced leader and Olympic Committee President Baltazar Medina is not very optimistic about the recovery of Olympic venues and talked about a series of mistakes along the way.
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“First, the failure to fulfill commitments on time. The previous government supported the realization of the headquarters but did not specify the Compes document, which is where it all started. The problem is that the headquarters is not given to a city, it is given to a country, but neither be understood“Medina said.
He added, “The government cannot neglect its commitment to the country. The Olympics belong to the country, not to a certain region or city. It is also the responsibility of the Olympic Committee because they have international relations with other countries.” The Times is not clear about having the resources. “
Ernesto Lucena, sports minister in the Duque administration, said the first payment must be made days before the new administration takes office and he understood the request for a deferral was out of courtesy.That way the new government will do so and they won’t be surprised by such high payments. “When I retired from the ministry, the creation of Kompez was specified in the connection. I don’t know what happened”.
In X: @JusticiaET
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