As predicted the construction restarted in January. Label me a cynic but I think the forces layoff of hundreds of employees was to avoid paying salaries for the holidays of November and December. Now they are back at work.
Union Fenosa is removing power posts near Los Algarrobos now and both CabelOnda and Cable and Wireless are moving cables closer to Boquete. The road is once again a daily reassignment of lanes and changes abound basde upon construction needs of the moment. This makes the drive more dangerous and down right hazardous at night.
Progress is being made and once again my unanswered question is why are they spending over one hundred million dollars on a new well constructed four lane highway from David to Boquete?
The current government does nothing unless there is an economic gain for members of the government, call that Panamanian politics. It is rumored that the massive new five star hotel and housing project in Jaramillo Abajo being constructed by TransCaribe, David Ochy, has a partner who is the current President of the Republic of Panama. If that is the truth, it could explain the use of massive amounts of borrowed government money to make Boquete more accessible. We will all need to wait and see if that rabbit pops out of the hat or if there are other more populist reasons for the expenditure. The benefit of bearer shares of corporations in Panama allows for great secrecy for everyone, you may never know who really owns anything here.
Regardless, when completed David and Boquete will be about twenty minutes apart. The construction of what appears to be a new government hospital in Clamito along the new highway, will make emergency medical assistance far closer to Boquete than before. It will take about fifteen minutes to drive there in an emergency instead of the current forty minutes to Regional or hospital Chiriqui.
Basically Boquete is becoming less of a sky island. Boquete will become more attractive to tourists flying into the expanded David airport. We are entering a time where tourism will become even more important to the local economy and I suspect we will see an increase in the numbers of what are called residential tourists, those who move here, like me.
The new “friends of Panama Visa” makes it easier than ever to obtain permanent residency with a $5,000 bank deposit and and either a job or opening a business. Under this visa you can open your own business and work in it, no need to hire employees unless you want them. This coupled with the enhanced access is going increase the growth both in Boquete and all of the “interior” of Panama as people worldwide smell opportunity.