Following is the latest Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Report. Click on the photo for a larger image.
Potrerillos has been quiet, however there was one minor incident where an American from Potrerillos was assaulted.
On the date of Sunday 8-APR-12 a 68 year old American Man who lives in Potrerillos Arriba was the victim of assault when he had a heated exchange with his neighbor who is described as a Local National. The incident occurred when the American Resident had allowed his pet birds to venture onto the neighbors property. The neighbor became enraged and confronted the American about his animals. Information provided indicates that the Local National neighbor lost his cool and struck the American man on the side of his head and grabbed his ears. The Local Man also supposedly threatened to further harm him if he didn’t control his animals, this according to the American victim. The victim also filed a criminal complaint with the Police in Dolega. The victim received no injuries.
Several crimes to report from David;
Approximately 4 days ago an unspecified sum of money was stolen from an unsuspecting individual described as a Panamanian National when he was trying to purchase a car from another individual of Panamanian Origin. The incident occurred in the parking lot of Do-It Center when the two individuals agreed to meet to transfer ownership of a privately owned vehicle. The seller was provided the requested funds and produced what appeared to be authentic documents (title) intended to transfer the car. The victim was provided what appeared to be a key to the car and the paperwork. However the seller indicated that he needed to intercept his wife who was unable to come to their location but would supposedly be driving through the area so she could indorse the documents. The seller (suspect) requested that the buyer stand by in the parking lot while the seller drove off in the car one last time to catch his wife who was reportedly nearby.
Both the car and the victim’s money vanished leaving the victim waiting in the parking lot with a fake key and fake documents, this according to El Terronal Mall Security.
If and when you park your vehicle in the El Terronal Mall look for Sgt. Ivan (photo attached) who generally works in the front parking lot adjacent to Reys. Sgt. Ivan will be happy to watch over your auto while you shop.
In another criminal incident a Panamanian Man of retirement age was the victim of strong-arm robbery when he (the victim) was utilizing an ATM machine located at the Aztec Bank in David. The incident occurred when the victim was robbed of $300 in cash that he had retrieved from the ATM just moments prior, this according to Police Officials from David. Information provided indicates that the suspect believed to be a local thief was lying in wait for an unsuspecting customer to withdraw money from the ATM.
If you use ATM machines in Panama you should not conduct business alone, having a companion can and will often cause a potential thief to pause as he or she will now have to deal with several individuals as opposed to a lone victim. You are also advised to avoid using ATM’s in isolated locations and on paydays as this is like a dinner bell for thieves.
Now an update from the Potrerillos Water Team (American) Facilitator who represents the Expatriate Communities interests in the repair, restoration and control of the Communities Water Supply.
A request was sent out to the Ex-pat Community for assistance with the communities ageing water system. So far the response had been a little slow and insufficient to get us where we need to be in order to support the efforts to acquire much needed repair materials. The Potrerillos Water Distribution lines are approximately 30 years old and have been not only seriously neglected but have been slowly falling apart and suffers from lack of maintenance (IDAAN) including the damaging effects of mother nature.
A group of vested individuals from Potrerillos Arriba has decided to establish a Repair Team that I have named the Water Team. It consists of former IDAAN employees and long term residence who are tired of not having a reliable water supply. Initially the small group of Panamanian residence were struggling to fix and hold the water system together with little to nothing to work with and having to personally absorb all the costs. This repair activity has gained the attention of many in the Potrerillos Ex-pat community including myself. I have volunteered to be the Ex-pat point man in the struggle to help fix and maintain our Communities Water System.
A call went out for donations to help acquire repair materials including PVC pipes and pipe Unions both 4” & 6” along with PVC glue, fuel for chain saws and other support materials.
So far we have received donations from only 11 individuals out of the estimated 250 Ex-pats who reside in Potrerillos, most of whom benefit from this water source. I have received just $260 however the cost estimates for the needed materials are upwards of $650+. More cooperation is needed in order to insure that the Water Team receives the basic supplies we need to keep your water flowing. You are encouraged to participate in the repair and maintenance of our Community Water Service.
I have received 3 price quotes from local material suppliers in David for the acquisition of the needed materials, first one= $677, second= $644, third= $674. We are far short of the goal of $750+.
You are requested to contact all of your neighbors both Ex-pat and Panamanian and encourage them to support the Potrerillos Water Team. Don’t wait until the water stops flowing to mobilize, we are trying to put together a small stock pile of repair materials needed to respond to water outages caused by a variety of problems that the water system face mostly up in the mountains near the Aquifer (Toma).
There is also a renewed interest in re transferring the ownership, maintenance and control of the Water System back to the Potrerillos Community. The Water System was constructed in 1980 by unknown member of the Potrerillos Community however approximately 15 years ago one of the former Representatives of Potrerillos Arriba sold the Community’s Water System to IDAAN. 15 years later IDAAN had basically abandoned the system and the community witch it serves. While IDAAN continues to collect the fees albeit small they also continue to systematically avoid and deny us the much needed maintenance and repair of the ageing system. In short they have forgotten us.
A group of vested individuals from Potrerillos are launching an initiative to take back the Water System from IDAAN including full ownership, maintenance oversight and administrative control of our water supply and delivery system.
There are approximately 500+ users tied into the main lines coming from the Aquifer (Toma) running all the way down to the end users at the Potrerillos Gas Station plus perhaps 3 additional home past that. Also there are several customers that are tied into the main lines leading down the El Banco Road. It is estimated that the service lines run about ¾ of a mile down the El Banco road before it terminates. Homes beyond that are serviced by a different source as I understand it.
The entire water system is approximately 12 miles long and services over 500 homes. Each home holds an account with IDAAN that produces a monthly revenue stream of about $1,500. This averages out to approximately $3 and change per house hold. If and when the Community is successful in recapturing the Water System from IDAAN the plan is to establish a local Administrator whose monthly salary would be around $400 or $500, this would leave about $1000 per month to fund repair and maintenance activities and also hire a part time employee to distribute the local water bills.
This is what I know at this point as your Water Team Representative. It should be noted that all donations, donors, expenses and any acquired materials for which the donated funds are intended will be considered public information and can and will be made publicly available as this project becomes better organized and better funded. We have received a total of $260 from 11 donations with several more who have pledged donations of $20 each but have yet to deliver. It is also understood that if for any reason this plan falls apart then all the donated funds will be returned to their original donors.
Additionally several people have expressed interest in touring the Toma site that feed our Community’s Water Supply. It is my intention to put together a trip up to the natural spring Aquifer (or Toma as it is called in Spanish) that bubbles up and out of the ground high up in the mountains above Potrerillos Arriba. It is about a 10 mile 4×4 ride up to end of the road and then another 1 ½ to 2 miles hike on a foot path that leads to the Toma.
I am hoping to arrange a trip up to the Toma in about two weeks or so, so anyone interested in seeing the site will need to coordinate with me so I can put together a plan. Perhaps we can make it a trail clearing mission and clean up the foot path along the way. This will require at least 2 chain saws w/gas support and a handful of machetes and shovels with human beings to operate them. Volunteers are needed, please contact me if you want to help.
Potrerillos Neighborhood Watch Facilitator
And now Water Team Facilitator.