We had a very interesting Tuesday talk from two of Boquete’s Corregidores. I had asked them to explain the role and importance of the Corregidor in Panama and they did. I am going to attempt a partial summary here. A complete text was promised and when I have it and it is translated I will post it.
The Corregidor is an appointed position. The Alcalde of each District appoints the Corregidores for the District. Each Corregidor has responsibility within a Corregimento. In Boquete there are six Corregimentos, Bajo Boquete, Alto Boquete, Caldera, Los Naranjos, Jaramillo and Palmira. There is a seventh Corregidor, Sr Nodier Atencio, who covers the entire District after 3:30 PM until the offices open in the morning.
Each District selects Corregidores by their own criteria, it is a political appointment, but each Corregidor must live in their Corregimento and have at least five years living in the Corregimento. They need roots in the community they serve. It is a law enforcement position so some are lawyers but it is also a civil position, none are police.
The role of the Corregidor is expansive, the word they used to describe themselves is that they are the local Sheriff, after listening to their job description I think that is too narrow a definition. Here is a list of the responsibilities that I can recall from the meeting.
They are the person to resolve minor disputes with neighbors, noise problems, animal problems, problems with rentals, civil and criminal, etc.
They can be arbitrators in domestic disputes.
If you hire a person you can send them to the Corregidor for an official reference of good character and they need to investigate the person for you.
If you are victim of a petty crime, under $250 in loss you go to them
If plan to move from Boquete and are taking household goods with you should go to them for a permit so that if you are stopped there is no question that the goods are yours, not stolen.
The police are accountable to them and to the Alcalde so they can bring to police into a situation if necessary.
The Corregidores are responsible for enforcement of the new animal cruelty laws. If you have a complaint you go to them.
They are accountable to the Alcalde and the Junta Comunal and are present at Junta meetings. Their job is to try and resolve minor issues locally so the issues do not need to escalate.
When I have more details in writing I will post them.