Monthly Archives: December 2012

Laid To Rest With Honor

As the clock ticks down on 2012, I wish I had something prophetic to say. This is the best I can come up with.

Years are sort of like lives. They have a beginning and an end. In the beginning there are great expectations. In the end, if most of those expectations have been met, then lives and years can be laid to rest with honor.

One of the last people I met, through the U.S. Embassy Warden duties, was Ronald Gometz. He was one that received blood in for an operation in November. He was 84 years old, a retired veteran and still had more life he wanted to live.

Unfortunately for Ronald, his time had been used up and his frail condition made recovery an unfulfilled wish.

It had been Ronald’s wish for his final resting place to be in Panama. The family asked if I could help make that wish come true.

I had heard that there was a burial location in Panama City for U.S. Veterans and asked the Embassy what the requirements were and if Ronald could be buried there. After checking, the Embassy found that there were still a few available locations left and Ronald met the requirements.

I contacted the Panama VFW and they said they would lay their fellow comrade to rest with honor. The funeral ceremony took place December 21.

At the end of this post I am going to include a photo album of Ronald Gometz’s closing chapter.

Ronald’s closing ceremony was on December 21. 2012’s closing ceremonies will occur tonight.

My hope is that you had the majority of your expectations for 2012 met. Those of us that are lucky enough to welcome in 2013 have more time to finish some of the things we have left to accomplish.

I wish all of the reader’s of Chiriqui Chatter a Happy New Year.

  • One that is filled with enjoyment each day.
  • One that is filled with love and companionship of good friends and family.
  • One that is filled with tolerance.
  • One that is filled with forgiveness.
  • One that is filled with hope.
  • One that is filled with charity for those less fortunate.
  • One that is filled with …

With this I lay to rest Chiriquí Chatter’s 2012. I hope it has been laid to rest with honor as was Ronald Gometz. RIP

Ronald Gometz (1928 – 2012)

The system will be down for 10 days for preventative maintenance.

I never, ever want to see you on TV telling me that you have diarrhea or constipation. That’s what Twitter’s for.

A+ or O+ Blood Donation Needed for Ross Brewington

UPDATED Dec 29 based on THIS COMMENT.

Mary Lynah has been contacted. If you are not on Mary’s Blood Donor list and can donate, please register. My post related to Blood Donations, can be found HERE. The information for the current blood need follows:

Ross Wesley Brewington (they have it in their system as Ross Wesley
Brewngston-I will try to get corrected today.)

Patient Number #C0050557

Date of Birth 3-25-1955

Hospital Chiriqui

Doctors: Surgeon Dr. Chi Shing Man
Internest Dr. Gomez

Needed 4 pints urgently – surgery today 12-24-12


Mary Ann White

Age has its advantages. Too bad I can’t remember what they are.

What To Expect If Incarcerated In Panama

I was scheduled to go to the women’s prison in Chiriquí yesterday and things went amiss. My task was to deliver some needed hygiene articles, some informational documents explaining what to expect, a document to be collected when the Embassy Consul makes his first visit, a list of Panama attorneys, and obtain a Privacy Act Waiver to allow the Embassy to communicate with designated people on behalf of the detained.

I will do that today, God willing and the creeks don’t rise. However, in reviewing some of the information that is to be delivered, I felt that it may be worthwhile to share it with you.

There are many reasons a person might be arrested and all might not make sense to those arrested. It could be as simple as being stopped at one of the typical traffic stops and you find that you are a couple days past your VISA expiration date.

It could be that your description fits one of a person seen at a crime site. It could be that your were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

As in the U.S., just because you are arrested, doesn’t make you guilty. However, if you are arrested, you should not expect that the legal system in Panama works the same as it does in the U.S. You should also not assume that the facilities you will be placed in will be the same as those in the U.S. either.

I have been told that if an American citizen is arrested in Panama, that the U.S. Embassy is supposed to be notified within 48 hours. I also understand that sometimes that doesn’t happen as it should.

The U.S. Embassy sends its Consuls to visit incarcerated American Citizens that are being held in Panama prisons. I think the frequency is once every three months. I think the next Chiriquí visitation is set for around the middle of January and that was the reason, I was asked to pick up a few personal items.

Going two more weeks without toilet paper is not a good thing, and this person was just arrested.

The three documents I am putting on my server are 1) Sending Money to U.S. Citizens Overseas, 2) GENERAL INFORMATION FOR AMERICAN PRISONERS IN PANAMA and 3) A SUMMARY OF THE PANAMANIAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

I have previously posted the Privacy Act Waiver.  You should also be familiar with the STEP (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program)

When you read the three documents I listed above, remember that the U.S. Embassy has no legal authority in Panama. You will see, in the information provided, that the U.S. Embassy cannot give legal advice or recommend lawyers. You will see that the list of lawyers that the Embassy has a large disclaimer at the beginning.

Hopefully, you will never be given any of these documents by an Embassy representative. Reading them may energize you to at minimum have a PAW and a friend that knows where it is kept if you haven’t already sent one to the Embassy.

Consider this. If you were living here and were arrested (rightly or wrongly) and were alone at the time of the arrest, and the system didn’t work and the U.S. Embassy was not notified of your arrest, who would know you were missing?

That is another reason, I think everyone needs a buddy if they are living in Panama. Someone, that if you are not where you ought to be at a certain time, cares enough to start asking questions and begin a search.

These are my thoughts, in my words, and should not be construed as opinion of the U.S. Embassy.

Last Seen

I guess I can’t keep all the balls in the air anymore. I was supposed to buy some personal items and take them to an American Citizen that was recently arrested and placed in the Women’s facility near David.

No big deal, I can do that. I bought all the items and called the Embassy to say I could make the trip. Since I have never been there and didn’t know how to get there, I decided to use the taxi that the Embassy uses for all of their work here.

I was supposed to meet him at El Rey. I only met him once and that was over a year ago and I didn’t remember what he looked like. Cabs pulled up and most didn’t stop. A couple did and when I asked if they were the name of the driver I needed, they said no.

However one said ¨yes¨. When he started off, he said ¨where to¨ in English. I said, you don’t work for the Embassy do you. He said no. I said, I was on Embassy business and waiting for a certain driver. We had not left the El Rey parking lot, so he made a circle and dropped me off at the front.

I got out, another couple got in and he left again. I went to call my driver again and guess what, no cell phone. It must have slipped out in his cab. I called all the cab companies, but was told that there are more independents now and no way to track it down.

I used the Lost Phone app to list it as missing. It was turned on once after I lost it. Being in a cab, it will never return. Today was a costly day. For $26 worth of personal items that I was to deliver, I lost a costly iPhone.

I am really bummed out. At 3:00PM it was last seen here.

Lost Phone

Next I decided to go to the local CLARO office and notify them of it being missing. While parking in the ARROCHA parking garage, I got too close to one of their pillars and gouged my right rear bumper. OUCH!

I am ready for 2013. 2012 is starting to stink. The way things are going I may get locked up in the women’s prison tomorrow when I go to deliver the things I was going to deliver today..

You know what? I think it does get better than this.

“Measure once, cut twice.” I don’t think this dyslexic carpenter is going to work out.