Before becoming an attorney in Canada at age thirty, I had obtained a Private Pilot’s License at age seventeen and an Air Traffic Controller’s License from Transport Canada at age twenty. I worked as an Air Traffic Controller in the Control Tower at Victoria International Airport for approximately eight years.

At the time, I was the youngest licensed Air Traffic Controller in Canada. The training that I received for these two related endeavours has proved be an invaluable experience in my approach to problem solving utilized throughout my life, that being proactive and not reactive problem solving.

Obviously, if that were not the case in these aviation related matters, the only task left in many instances would be to count the dead bodies on the ground. Proactive problem solving makes a lot of sense and is largely the method employed in Canadian and U.S. Societies, to prevent accidents and the serious injuries and deaths that result from problems not being solved in advance.

Proactive problem solving also leads to the avoidance of negative consequences related to the economic hardship of citizenry and the general disruption of a smoothly operating and harmonious society in general.

In Costa Rican society and Latin American societies in general, I find the reverse to be true.

It would seem the Latinos are not able to imagine a problem until it happens and the negative consequences have been felt. Some good examples would be the failure to install warning lights at level crossings where the San Jose commuter train is in use and the general lack of preventative maintenance of the family car, or any vehicle for that matter.

Since the commuter train went into service several years ago, there have been countless accidents between trains and vehicles at level crossings. Many of these accidents have resulted in serious injuries and even death in some cases. Apparently, the installation of warning lights is now being contemplated for level crossings.

Likewise, with respect to vehicle maintenance, many accidents and inconveniences occur in that regard as well. One of the more common inconveniences that frequently occurs at major holiday times, is the over-heating of vehicles on the climb back to San Jose from a beach vacation, due to lack of maintenance of the vehicle’s cooling system. Although this particular example relates to an inconvenience, as opposed to an accident circumstance, there are many instances of the latter occurring as a result of a lack of vehicle maintenance as well.

General planning with a view to proactive problem solving would be a laudable endeavour for the Costa Rican society to undertake, to minimize, or eliminate many of the negative consequences that its citizens now have to endure. Of course, the lead in this regard has to come from the Government to be effective. Let’s hope that don Guillermo has this item on his “to-do” list in his pledge to govern “in the best interests of the Country”.

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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: Website: