Thursday 29 July 2021

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF COSTA RICA, GUILLERMO SOLIS

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Dear Mr. President,

Mr. President, please allow me to introduce myself. I am a Canadian, Naturalized as a Costa Rican in 2006, by virtue of marriage, and incorporated as a lawyer in Costa Rica with the College of Lawyers (#16907) and registered as a Notary Public with the National Direction of Notaries Public. I have lived in Costa Rica for sixteen years, since the month of August, 1998, and previously practiced law in my home town of Victoria, British Columbia, prior to. Without a doubt, I love Costa Rica as much as my birth Country of Canada and would want to see Costa Rica develop both as a Nation and a Society, as a true First World Country, something which I believe is a goal of your Administration.

As you might imagine, this is a very emotional letter for me to write. I know that very little attention is paid to the opinions of foreigners like myself, as a none-born, Naturalized Costa Rican. However, I would hope that you might take a moment to consider what I have to say.

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I come from humble roots in Canada, the son of school teachers. Yes, I know the value of education and how it is an important factor in raising a country like Costa Rica’s standards from a Developing to a First World status. Good quality, accessible, and affordable education for all in Costa Rica, must continue to be a priority with your Administration, as this is an essential ingredient in attaining this goal.

Mr. President, without a doubt, you have a very difficult job. In my observations to-date, I see that you are personally much more of a “Centrist”, than the traditional “Leftist” ideology of the PAC Party, who you represent. I can see in your governance to date, that you have difficulty in dealing with this difference politically speaking. My suggestion is that you allow your heart and your mind to govern your decision making and not necessarily what the electorate might have believed the mandate to be when they cast their vote for you, to be your guide. To be President is much more than winning a popularity contest. It encompasses accepting a responsibility to do what is in the best interests of the Country, as the circumstances present them self after attaining Office. This includes, protecting the electorate from them self and what they may believe may be possible, when it is not, given the resources available.

I understand that many promises of social well-being are made by many a political candidate during an election campaign, which can’t be adhered to afterwards for various legitimate reasons. A country can only offer salary and benefits packages to Public Sector employees and Social Programs for the poor that can be realistically supported by the country’s internal production and its economy generally. This is common to any jurisdiction, and is best exemplified in Countries such as Nicaragua and Venezuela, where such promises of social well-being are routinely made and believed by the poor and uneducated members of their Societies, to their detriment thereafter for the inability to implement. In Costa Rica, this need not be the case, with correct economic and financial management. The 2015 Budget deficit crisis can be avoided with prudent planning and implementation of realistic measures based on the resources available.

Costa Rica has all the attributes environmentally speaking, to be the paradise that it is reputed to be. However, and in your own words Mr. President, politically and governmentally, Costa Rica is in a state of chaos and plagued by corruption. Essentially, nothing works. It is impossible for business to flourish because of never ending Government processes to obtain the most simple of permissions to proceed with any business endeavour, or property development project. Basically, Public Sector employees are being paid exorbitant salaries and benefits to hinder the progress of Costa Rica. In many cases, Costa Rican Public Sector salaries, pensions, and benefits far exceed those of First World countries such as the U.S. and Canada for similar positions and work performed and also of those salaries of similar Costa Rican Private Sector positions as well, when the reverse should be true. In my opinion, this is not a condition that can be allowed to continue, as being an unhealthy position for any country’s economy to be in.

The Private Sector must be the “engine” for the economy in any country, for the country’s economy to be healthy, not the Public Sector. I am aware, that the Comptroller General (Controlaria) has also weighed-in with similar sentiments about Public Sector salaries, pensions, and benefits being exaggerated and an unrealistic burden to the Country. Payment cuts in this area must be implemented as part of the over-all 2015 Budget deficit reduction. Congressman Otton Solis, has also proposed many Budget cuts in Government spending that would alleviate the current 2015 Budget deficit crisis.

In most cases, in my opinion, and in this instance, his proposals would be best adopted, especially the termination of DIS, at least in its investigative capacity. However, there should definitely be no movement toward Global Income Taxation, as opposed to the Territorial Income Taxation Scheme that now exists, as this would certainly terminate any interest in Costa Rica as a retirement destination, a current significant generator of income in the Costa Rican Economy. Likewise, borrowing funds from any world institution who would consider loaning money to support Social Programs and Public Sector salaries, pensions, or benefits, should also be avoided, with the experience of the Country of Greece being the best example of the negative consequences of having done such.

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As you have noted Mr. President, the separation of the powers of Church and State is also a laudable goal to pursue. Of course, a change to the Political Constitution of the Country will be necessary to reflect this division of authority, which division exists in most, if not all, Constitutions of First World Nations. Religious dogma based on centuries-old ideas can’t be left to affect current day decision making based on more recently acquired scientific knowledge.

Mr. President, in closing, I would only add that I believe that you personally have the best interests of Costa Rica at heart. I hold the belief that you can advance Costa Rica toward the goal of being a First World Nation. I’m not sure that the same can be said for many of your political colleagues. Obviously, the correct management of the Costa Rican Economy and the 2015 Budget is crucial in reaching this goal. This will certainly involve some unpopular decision making with respect to Budget cuts in certain Government Sectors. If this means ruling by Presidential Decree where necessary and possible, so be it. However, I would implore you to make these difficult decisions which will allow Costa Rica to progress towards its rightful destiny as a First World Nation.

With all due respect.

Sincerely,

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Richard Philps Moore
Ced. #8-0084-0906

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Richard Philpshttp://costaricacanadalaw.com/
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. To contact Attorney Rick Philps about hiring him as your Costa Rican Attorney; Email: rick@costaricacanadalaw.com, Website: www.costaricacanadalaw.com

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