CORRECTION:  As editor had the Turrialba volcano on my mind, ahead of my trip to Cartago today, when adding the blog title. My apologoies.

QCOSTARICA BLOGS – Yesterday, President Solis very indignantly stated in the news media that he found the comments of some persons of Costa Rica being compared to the lawless ”Wild West” and existing in a general state of administrative chaos, as barbaric in nature and totally inaccurate.

The President’s comments included such statements as Costa Rica is a Country of laws, with the State having within its power, the security of all Costa Rican citizens, and it is not in a chaotic state of general lawlessness and dysfunction.

The very fact that the President had to defend against such comments should have been enough to indicate the problems which are at hand in the Country.

Even former President Oscar Arias, has been quoted as stating that Costa Rica is a “Dysfunctional Democracy” and recently, social networking sites have described Costa Rica as an “Ineptocracy” (don’t look for it in the dictionary).

It is a correct statement to say that Costa Rica is a Country of laws.

Without a doubt, there is the written Constitution and the varies laws and regulations that emanate from that, which in number and complexity of subject matters covered, rival that of any First World country, such as the U.S., or Canada.

The issue is the administration of this body of law by the various institutions of Government charged with the task.

This is the very reason that there are two marches scheduled for this Sunday, November 8th, one by ordinary citizens who are fed-up with the corrupt practices of RECOPE, the National petroleum monopoly, with the excessive wage and benefits payments to employees, right down to special assessments on the cost of a liter of gasoline to pay for the RECOPE employees’ Christmas Party, and the second march by a group of anonymous individuals seeking the resignation of the President, on the basis that he is inept to hold the position of President.

Clearly, the President has led a sheltered life as an academic, a History Professor in the hallowed halls of the University of Costa Rica.

He does not personally draw upon any business experience, or any other experience related to the administration and management of a country, other than his academic background.

His “inner-circle” of advisors are largely people who have a similar academic background. In my opinion, this creates a significant shortcoming in the expertise required at this moment in Costa Rica to solve the problems at hand, particularly those of the economy and of public security.

The current Fiscal Reform Proposal before the Legislature for debate is doomed to failure for lack of the President’s addressing of the problems from a practical and business-like standpoint. Abolishing the Sales Tax of 13% and replacing it with a VAT Tax of 15% implemented over a two year period will never be approved by the Legislature in the face of the outrageous Public Sector spending, particularly in the area of wages and benefits, by the Government.

The decisions that must be taken to solve the Country’s economic problems do not involve tax increases and have been stated several times over in my previous blogs on this subject.

Public security is also lapsing into a state of chaos as a result of administrative, not legal shortcomings of the Government. Essentially, the police are “out-gunned” by the crooks, who are largely involved in drug trafficking and money laundering activities.

This increase in criminal activity turns on “gang warfare”, requiring a more highly trained and equipped police force to combat it.

I would urge the President that given his personal shortcomings as previously stated, he should at least seek-out advisors for his “inner circle” in the Executive Branch, who do have the correct business and practical background to “get the administrative job done” and try and solve some of these very pressing issues of the Country in a successful manner.

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Richard Philps
Attorney Richard (Rick) Philps is a Canadian citizen, naturalized as a citizen of Costa Rica. Rick practiced law in Victoria, B.C., Canada as a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, for fourteen years, prior to moving to Costa Rica in 1998. Rick then earned his Bachelor of Laws and Licensing Degrees (Civil Law), with Honours, and a Post-Graduate Degree in Notary and Registry Law, from the Metropolitana Castro Carazo and Escuela Libre de Derecho Universities, in San Jose. Rick is a member of the Costa Rica College of Lawyers, and practices law in Costa Rica in the areas of real estate and development, corporate, commercial, contract, immigration, and banking with the Law Firm of Petersen & Philps, located in Escazu, a western suburb of San Jose. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney, please use the following information: Lic. Rick Philps - Attorney at Law, Petersen & Philps, San Jose, Costa Rica Tel: 506-2288-4381, Ext. 102; Email: rick@costaricacanadalaw.com Website: www.costaricacanadalaw.com