Photo by Arianna McKinney
The fiestas held from December 27th to January 1st raised about 5 million colones ($10,000) to support community projects, but the figure could be almost 3 million colones ($6000) more if a contractor from Liberia would pay up, estimated Emilse Steller Ramirez, Treasurer of the Samara Progressive Association.
She explained that the contractor, whose last names are Quiros Jimenez, was hired to build the structures such as the stage and bull ring, and he subcontracted the work but didn’t pay the workers their full wages, so when the workers threatened to tear down what they had built, endangering the ability to hold the fiestas, the Progressive Association paid the workers what the contractor from Liberia owed them.
The contract, dated October 27, 2012, and signed by Quiros Jimenez and Freddy Mendoza Elizondo, president of the Fiestas Commission, outlines that Quiros Jimenez would be paid a total of 6 million colones ($12,000), half of which was to be paid upon signing the contract and the other half by December 30, with a clause stating that periodic payments could be made as esteemed convenient by the parties.
Receipts show that payments were made of 2 million colones ($4000) on November 20; 1 million colones ($2000) on November 30; 600,000 colones ($1200) on December 6th and 400,000 colones ($800) on December 12, for a total of 4 million colones ($8000), more than half of the contract amount.
In addition, receipts show that payments were made to the sub-contractors between December 30 and January 2 for 2,200,000 colones ($4400) for the bull ring bleachers as well as 381,000 ($762) in the purchase of wood, another 1,900,000 colones ($3800) for the bull ring railing and 250,000 ($500) for the walls around the bull ring. These receipts total 4,731,000 colones ($9,462).
Overall, then, Quiros should repay 2,731,000 colones ($5,462). VON tried to contact Quiros to hear his version but was informed that he recently changed his phone number and the new number could not be obtained.
Steller said that if the contractor doesn’t resolve the situation soon, the Fiestas Commission is preparing to file a suit against him.
Mendoza said this is the first time the Fiestas Commission has faced a problem like this, and in future years they will formalize work contracts with a lawyer. He explained that although there are laws in place, they may not be able to recover the money because of the way agreements were made based on trust.
In spite of the financial headache, and although less people came to the location in Cangrejal in comparison to when the fiestas were held in the center of Samara, Mendoza said the festivities met expectations.
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