Yesterday, the largest turnout I have seen, for one of the U.S. Embassy meetings with American Citizens in Chiriquí, took place in Hotel Ciudad de David. A similar meeting with other U.S. citizens took place in the Boquete library on the Monday.
I was privileged to act as moderator for the David session, where Ambassador Farrar responded to a variety of questions including the upcoming Free Trade Agreement, Medicare, voter registration, and others.
One of the items that came up was the importance of U.S. Citizens registering with the U.S. Embassy when they come to Panama. A representative of the David morgue spoke about the problems that they have when U.S. Citizens die in Chiriqui without proper documents specifying what should be done.
Having been involved in several of these cases, I know that the U.S. Embassy has had to spend months on some cases tracking down the next of kin. The local morgue has a limited number of refrigerated units to take care of preserving the bodies. Help everyone out by registering with the Embassy. If you do nothing else, fill out the area in your passport for “Personal Data and Emergency Contacts”.
A member of VFW also spoke about the possibility of forming a local VFW group in Chiriquí. He said that a minimum of 25 members would be required. Based on a show of hands in the David meeting, I would say the group is well on its way to being a possibility.
I would personally like to thank Ambassador Farrar for taking the time to visit Chiriquí. I would also like to thank everyone that attended the meeting in Boquete and in David. There were far more in the meeting than had previously sent in a RSVP.
Yesterday’s meeting was solely to introduce the new Ambassador and provide an opportunity to get his viewpoint on questions that expats have. Another meeting will be held in September that will be more of a working session with representatives of the American Citizen Services area of the U.S. Embassy in Panama City.
When I have the specifics on those meeting, I will publish them.
Flicker photos take by the U.S. Embassy during the meeting may be seen in at the following locations.
UPDATE: I was requested to provide the URL for registering with the U.S. Embassy. Here is the link to follow. http://panama.usembassy.gov/smart_traveler_enrollment_program.html
It will provide you information and then you should follow its included link to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program home page.