Contraloría report is critical of Golfito anti-poverty agency

The nation’s budgetary watchdog issued a blistering report Thursday critical of the Junta Desarrollo Regional de la Zona Sur. Among the criticism was that the Depósito Comercial de Golfito lacks maintenance and lacks a plan to develop the arrivals of visitors.

The Depósito is the place in Golfito where Costa Ricans and others go to get up to $2,000 a year in tax-free merchandise. The commercial operation was set up to cushion the area against the effects of the end to the banana trade. The Depósito also provides income to the Junta.

The watchdog, the Contraloría de la República, said that the agency, known informally as JUDESUR, maintained 9 trillion colons in securities and was not using this money for the benefit of the persons living in the area. The amount is about $18 million.

The Contraloría also said that the Junta Desarrollo Regional did not have a clear view of what it is supposed to do. The Junta was set up as an anti-poverty agency. Some 35 percent of the residents in the area are listed as poverty statistics, said the Contraloría citing other government figures.

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