The US Ambassador John Feeley came to our beloved islands to hit the pavement and to get to know the US citizens living in Bocas. He also got the opportunity to hit the sand and the water to experience the natural beauty of the islands. The Ambassador’s appearance in Bocas was the first part of a 5 length tour of Panama where he made himself available to become acquainted with some of the 59,000 US Citizens living in Panama while making himself available to all their ideas, questions and concerns.
“When I got here about a year ago, my original goal was to get out into the country as soon as I could, but as you say in Spanish gajes del oficio- homework and responsibilities in the city kept me there,” Ambassador Feeley commented. He went onto explain that when he took the position, he and his leadership team decided that the main reason that the US Embassy is in Panama, is to protect American citizens, “and that’s a very broad statement, but a big part of that is getting out to meet the Americans, getting out to know who they are and listening to them. And so that’s why I’m here in Bocas del Toro…There’s an awful lot that I can learn from my fellow citizens,” explained the Ambassador.
While here, Ambassador Feeley enjoyed a nice stay in the Red Frog villas, a tour of the Smithsonian Institute of Research and concluded his trip with an important Town Hall meeting with US Citizens on March 12th in the ATP (Panamanian Tourism Authority) Building in the heart of Bocas Town, on Isla Colon.
New immigration policies and residency requirements were a hot topic during the town hall meeting. At the time of the interview, Ambassador Feeley was able to confirm that new legislation had been made and there had been conflicting reports of the exact policy changes and how it was being enforced and urged American citizens to stay tuned for official statements being made by the Embassy. See page 3 for the latest on changing immigration and residency status policies and be sure to follow the US Embassy on-line as well (information below).
Another part of the presentation was dedicated to informing US citizens about the STEP program (Secured Traveler Enrollment Program). In the STEP program, you can register on-line with basic biographical and contact information and the US Embassy will automatically alert you about potential emergencies (inclimate weather, pandemic medical issues, road closings, etc.) along with any information that might be useful to a US citizen living overseas. You can register today at this website: step.state.gov
After the town hall, the Ambassador continued hitting the pavement, mountain trails and sand with his trip onward to Boquete, David, Santiago and Chitré before returning to the urban metropolis that is Panama City. As a US citizen and resident of Panama, I am truly honored for the interview. Thank you you Ambassador Feeley and to the US Embassy for all your consular services, for being so attentive and personable with your fellow citizens and for awarding time in your busy schedule to the Bocas Breeze.
If you are US Citizen, you are urged to follow Ambasssador John Feeley and the US Embassy on line: