|Dr. Porter in custody in Panama|
While the Republic of Panama is drowning in a number of major corruption and white-collar scandals, a major human rights violation, which proved fatal, is not receiving the attention it deserves. A Canadian, Dr. Arthur Thomas Porter IV, a hospital administrator accused by anti-corruption prosecutors in Quebec of accepting $22.5m bribe, to facilitate a billion dollar hospital construction contract, died of lung cancer in a small, dirty Panamanian prison cell, when the Government of Panama deliberately denied him life-saving medication and treatment, after which a large portion of his $11m in criminal assets disappeared from his Panamanian corporation bank accounts. Porter had been arrested, due to a pending Canadian extradition request.
The Government of Canada also has its share of the blame, in the Porter case, after it reportedly backed off its extradition efforts, thereby failing to have him transferred to Canada, where he could have received adequate medical treatment, but might have blown the whistle on a number of Canada's dark and dirty secrets.
Dr. Porter died in 2015, after two years of confinement in Panama's notorious La Joya Prison. His wife, Pamela, entered a guilty plea in a Proceeds of Crime case in 2014.for her role in the bribery scandal. Some Panama observers have stated that their government deliberately slowed the process of the extradition case, to a halt, by failing to hold hearings, for sole the purpose of stealing the millions in his accounts.
Canadian commentators have asserted that, since Dr. Porter, between 2008 and 2011, the chairman of a government agency that was charged with oversight of Canadian intelligence, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, his personal knowledge of some of his country's most embarrassing intelligence failures made him a liability, should he decide to expose those secrets at his trial. Porter did drop hints on that subject, during a jailhouse interview that he gave to a journalist.
They also believe that the negative publicity from any Canadian trial, on the corruption charges, would send the wrong message to foreign investors, and therefore not be in Canada's best interests, and for that reason, the senior government leaders were not anxious to see Dr. Porter in the dock.
Therefore, we have Panama's government denying him the medical treatment that he needed to stay alive, and officials from his own country, and Canada, delaying his extradition, allegedly to keep him from making disclosures of classified information damaging to the government. Both governments appear to be at fault in Doctor Porter's unnecessary death, with Panama bearing the greater amount of guilt. I doubt that he was concerned, when changing planes in Panama, about dying in a dingy prison cell, but both countries grossly violated his human rights.I wonder which Panamanians got all of Porter's dirty money ?