On the beach of Coclé, where the Anton river comes meets the ocean, the waters of the river mouth have created a long lagoon and a peninsula that throws itself on the west ,parallel to the coast. They call it Las Uvas. It is possible to access it ,during low tide, via the beach from Juan Hombrón, but otherwise, it is not accessible by land.
Since it has neither drinking water nor irrigation and agricultural potential, it had no value until the fever of the tourist development came to the area of Farallón. In the summer of 2007, a person called Sonia Álvarez offered to buy possessory rights in Las Uvas for $ 3.00 per square meter. Immediately, she found local fishermen caliming that they had Rights Of Possession over the land.
In June, 2007 Álvarez, Alberto Sudarsky, Roberto Homsany, and Henry Lebowitz, requested to buy 31.6 hectares of the peninsula to the State making a formal, written request (as per protocol) at the Department of Economy and Finance . Their request mentioned as motive a project of " country-style villa ecotourism project and it was accompanied by 32 contracts of sale of the Rights of Possession of the resident inhabitants of the area and an agreement signed by the holders of these property Rights of Possession, who have been inhabiting them for 39 years.
When La Estrella visited the peninsula, on November 13, it was desert. Seagulls were patrolling the smooth sea. The only human element was a rancho of four posts with tin roof bent from the breeze. To imagine 32 supposed inhabitants needed a poet's imagination.
Having road access to the property is a requisite so that Cadaster grants title by means of Rights of Possession. Be that as it may, the purchase request included a letter of the mayor of Anton, Roger Ríos, who was requesting from Hacienda Santa Mónica a road servitude (right of pass) to lead to the peninsula of Las Uvas.
Hacienda Santa Mónica is one of the most beautiful properties of Central America - approximately 3,000 hectares that spread from the Inter-American highway down to the ocean. It was created by combining land from five farms by president Harmodio Arias Madrid. In it he developed rice and bred cattle . He then turned it over to his son Gilberto Arias Guardia, and then to his grandchildren. They sold it to the second mother's second husband , Wilson Lucom. Lucom paid the mortgages and set the farm to produce, but in 2005 he sold it so that it was the site of the first Signature City of Latin America.Wilson C. Lucom
"Signature Cities" are communities designed to serve simultaneously as esidential, commercial and recreational. The most out-standing example is Isla Palma of the United Arab Emirates.
The project, which will be called Grand Panama and which will cost $3 billions, will feature a five -star hotel, a marina, four golf courses, 9,700 residences, and a 400,000 square meters of shopping center.
It will generate 10,000 jobs during the phase of construction and 5,000 permanent jobs. It will give incalculable profits to the region and the country.
Lucom accepted a first payment of half a million dollars, but he died in June, 2006 before finishing the buying and selling. In his testament he left an apartment of $ 1 million and a million dollar anuity to his widow, but he directed the buldge of his assets to a foundation dedicated to to feeding children in need in Panama. The widow has urged to annul the testament, and Santa Monica, the principal part of the executrix, has remained tangled in the succession dispute, under the administration of lawyer Marta Cañola, named by the Judge of the Fifth Circuit.
Hilda Lucom (left)
When Grand Panama International paid half a million to buy Santa Monica, they hired Meneren Corporation of Denver USA, to develop and administer the project. Meneren must wait for the conclusion of the judgment of succession to complete the buying and selling with the winner,of the case and has remained alert to the real property swaying in Panama. On May 11 of the present year Meneren inspector, Steve Guthrie, received an e-mail of a broker in Panama offering him area in the beach close to Juan Hombrón. On having investigated, Guthrie discovered that Las Uvas were being marketed even though they and the peninsula were part of the "Signature City" property.
Children demanding that the Lucom endowment be used against malnutrition
They were trying to sell to us land that our bosses already were ready to buy!, he said to La Estrella. With the down payment of half a million dollars, he lagoon is where we think to put the marina, and without these kilometers of beach the property does not serve for the project.
Aurelio Andrión, until March of this year regional Cadaster chief in Coclé, confirmed what Guthrie said. There is no case of "purchasing from the State in that place, he said to La Estrella. The peninsula of Las Uvas belongs to finca number 7022, which is part of Hacienda Santa Mónica .The Public Register confirms Andrión . It establishes that the south boundary of finca 7022 is the Pacific Ocean.
Mayor Ríos said to La Estrella that Sonia Álvarez had asked for the letter in which Hacienda Santa Mónica requested servitude from the Treasury Department. He wrote it to help the fishermen, who are his constituents. He delivered it to Álvarez and not to lawyer Cañola.
According to the said lawyer, the grounds in the peninsula of Las Uvas are not state but a private property that finca 7022 is part of and Rights of Possession do not exist on private property.
Sonia Álvarez, Roberto Homsany ,Alberto Sudarsky and Henry Lebowitz have not come on record as of yet. On November 8 there was a meeting of the fishermen who had sold their "Rights of Possession to Sonia Álvarez. They were angry. They were selling in $ 3.00 per square meter, but they received only 8 %. The rest would come when the investors were receive title of the area which, from the looks of it, is far,far away.