“The balance sheet is positive… We’re leaving satisfied. This is only the beginning,” commented Wilmar Matarrita, member of the Guanacaste Struggle Front (Frente de Lucha Guanacasteco) who traveled with other members of the negotiating commission to look for urgent solutions for the province.
Thus finally a dialogue began between Guanacastecans and the government to look for agreements to the 15 petitions, demanding real solutions to various problems faced in Guanacaste.
The meeting that took place in the Presidential House on March 20 also served to set up how they will continue working in the following sessions as well as to establish the timeframes in which the agreements will be delivered.
Those present in the meeting were community leaders Wilmar Matarrita, Marcos Avila, syndic of Nosara, Ronald Vargas, representative of La Cruz and Liberia, Enoc Rizo, leader of the Development Association of Abangares, Sulay Carrillo, coordinator of the committee to defend the La Anexion Hospital of Nicoya, and Mario Fonseca, community leader of San Antonio of Nicoya, in representation of sectors of Guanacaste. The legislative branch was represented by Luis Antonio Aiza, Guanacaste legislator for the National Liberation Party (PLN), while the executive branch was represented by Gustavo Alvarado, third vice minister of the presidency, who works as an advisor to the ministry.
Wilmar Matarrita, member of the Guanacaste Struggle Front, mentioned that the measures of pressure exercised toward the government have worked since it has made them “run.” He cited as an example the arrival of work crews from the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) to Nosara to pave the centers of various communities from Nosara to Samara, including Garza and Barco Quebrado.
The theme of roads was selected as a priority, and in the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 2, a complete report will be provided by the government about the designs for the roads that will be paved and if an assigned budget exists or not.
Another route that could receive pavement is the six kilometers from Nicoya to the cemetery of San Antonio. Another demand is the old highway that connects Nicoya with Mansion where, according to Matarrita, the government hopes to cover about 50% of the stretch that connects the community of Casitas, among others.
Matarrita cited other advances communicated by the vice minister of the presidency, Gustavo Alvarado, who is the liaison for the government when establishing contact with organizations and resolving conflicts.
Regarding the medical tower for the La Anexion Hospital, Alvarado mentioned that they are going to request that the person in charge of logistics for the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) appear at the dialogue table, since she has the information about the now open bidding contest for companies that are going to participate in the process of awarding the work.
“We are asking that they give us a copy of the bidding sheet and in addition that the representative (of the CCSS) be present to ask related questions,” indicated Matarrita.
According to information from the government, the work schedule for the medical tower is already in progress and on July 25 they will be awarding the company that will do the construction work. In October, they will be starting the construction of the medical tower. “This is the schedule that they have and we need this document to guarantee that this is so,” indicated Matarrita.
With regards to the approval of the Coastal Territories Law (TECOCOS), Matarrita said that it is not negotiable and that it should be approved by the legislators of the assembly. “There is a group of at least 24 legislators that have manifested that they are in favor of TECOCOS and defend the coastal territories law project. We have a group of members of the coastal communities that go every week to the assembly. We are very organized and we are prepared to take to the street in case it isn’t approved,” he said.
The legislator Aiza confirmed that there is indeed a lot of goodwill on behalf of the legislators for the approval of the TECOCOS law.
With regards to police security at the Guanacaste level, the roundtable agreed to meet working by themes, for example the roadway theme, the coastal theme, the security theme, the theme of the package of laws for the legislative assembly, the theme of decentralization of funds for Guanacaste, and the theme of health.
Among the themes that remain to be “seen” is the non-use of transgenic seeds regarding which the government is doing a performance analysis on the theme of municipal autonomy, to thereby determine corresponding criteria.
In addition, a theme that wasn’t addressed was the creation of a canton of the territories that form part of the peninsula since the vice minister of the presidency, Gustavo Alvarado, seemed to have a bias since he was born in Puntarenas, so they expect the government to appoint an impartial person to discuss this particular issue.