By Roberto López-Dubois / Diálogo April 06, 2020 About 5,000 service members of the Panamanian National Border Service (SENAFRONT, in Spanish) and National Air and Naval Service (SENAN, in Spanish) have joined the national action plan to confront the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and enforce executive orders related to the state of emergency declaration.Both forces have assigned human resources and land and sea mobility equipment to minimize the spread of the spread throughout the national territory.Among their new tasks, security forces enforce the curfew with patrols in the streets and on maritime routes, carry out disinfection and health check operations, communicate public health measures in the country’s remote areas, and conduct border controls. To fight the coronavirus, SENAFRONT says it has assigned 100 motorcycles, 56 patrol cars, eight buses to mobilize units, eight ambulances, and six boats in hard-to-reach areas, such as the Darién and Bocas del Toro provinces, as well as indigenous communities.SENAFRONT elements assist with epidemiological blockades in several parts of the country to restrict movement and stop the virus spread. (Photo: Panamanian National Border Service)“Our institutional capabilities are 100 percent active, because we continue to conduct daily operations against organized crime, common crime, immigration, and citizen services, as well as the special attention we provide to deal with the COVID-19 crisis,” SENAFRONT told Diálogo in a statement.On January 22, Panama activated the Emergency Health Operations Center, an interagency body, to monitor the coronavirus situation and to begin response readiness. On March 5, the government launched the COVID-19 Health Security Joint Task Force, which aims to stop the virus spread and includes SENAFRONT and SENAN.To fulfill their new role, the security forces participated in a series of training sessions about COVID-19 organized by Panama’s Ministry of Health with advisers from the World Health Organization.The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) praised the Panamanian government’s rapid response. PAHO’s representative in the country, Gerardo Alfaro, said in an interview with the United Nations that Panama “has always been one step ahead.”SENAFRONT elements have tightened the borders to halt the movement of illegal goods (such as drugs) or undocumented immigrants that may try to cross through porous regions, such as the Darién jungle, near the Colombian border. Security agents are leading health and migration checks for Panamanian indigenous people that harvest coffee in Costa Rica.Agents are also assisting with epidemiological blockades, set up to restrict movement from one area to another in the provinces of Panamá, Chiriquí, Bocas del Toro, and Darién, taking people’s temperature and checking documentation. For its part, SENAN focuses its actions on the country’s coasts and islands.
Former track federation president, Lamine Diack, has been sentenced to two years in prison for corruption during his nearly 16-year tenure at the IAAF, most notably a scheme that allowed Russian athletes who paid millions in hush money to keep competing when they should have been suspended for doping.The guilty verdict in a Paris court represented a spectacular fall from grace for the 87-year-old Diack, who was the powerful head of the IAAF from 1999-2015 and mixed with world leaders and was influential in the world of Olympic sports. The court also sentenced Diack to another two years of suspended jail time and fined him €500,000 ($590,000).His lawyers said they will appeal, keeping Diack out of jail for now.Diack did not comment as he walked out of court.One of Diack’s lawyers, Simon Ndiaye, called the verdict “unjust and inhuman” and said the court made his client a “scapegoat.”Diack was found guilty of multiple corruption charges and of breach of trust, but acquitted of a money laundering charge. Among those in court, and thrilled by the verdict, was French marathon runner, Christelle Daunay.She competed against one of the Russian athletes, runner Liliya Shobukhova, who later testified to investigators about illicit payments to hush up doping.Beaten by Shobukhova at the 2011 Chicago Marathon, Daunay was a civil party to the case.Speaking after the court awarded her damages totaling €45,000 ($53,000), Daunay described the verdict as a victory for all athletes who were robbed of prizes and results by having to race against competitors who should have sanctioned, but instead paid to benefit from the doping cover-up.“Behind my mask, you can’t see it, but I’m smiling,” she said. “I’m pleased, too, for all the athletes. We have to keep up the fight against doping.” At the trial in June, prosecutors requested a four-year jail term and a fine of €500,000 ($590,000) for Diack, who oversaw an era when Usain Bolt made track and field wildly popular, but whose legacy was trashed after his arrest in France in 2015, and the subsequent revelations of widespread malfeasance.Diack, wearing a white robe, sat impassive in front of the chief judge as she read out the guilty verdict and sentence.The judge, Rose-Marie Hunault, detailed his role in the payoff scheme, dubbed: “Full protection,” that squeezed Russian athletes suspected of doping of about 3.2 million euros ($3.74 million) in hush money.“The money was paid in exchange for a program of ‘full protection,’” she said, adding the scheme allowed athletes who should have been suspended “purely and simply to escape sanctions.”RelatedPosts Ex-IAAF boss, Diack faces four-year jail term Ex-IAAF boss Diack admits to delaying doping cases Ex-IAAF boss Diack’s trial to start June 8 “You violated the rules of the game,” the judge said.Tags: IAAFLamine Diack