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NPP Asks Comptroller To Probe Urban Train Deficiencies…PDP Seeks SJ Mayor Candidate By 2003…Governor Praised, Criticized…Leaders Favor Legislator Law Revision…PIP To Calderon: Tell Bush Navy Vieques Permanence Is Unacceptable, Get Commitment In Writing…Ruberte Condemns New Vieques Policy

NPP Asks Comptroller To Probe Urban Train Deficiencies

September 19th, 2002.  

SAN JUAN (AP) – New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera referred to the comptroller several alleged irregularities regarding the Urban Train project.

Pesquera mentioned the Siemens Transit Team statements about the recently inaugurated station in Rio Bayamon and the 283 deficiencies in the project.

The NPP leader said in his letter to the comptroller that if the construction process "is not done as it should be, it could result in further problems for the Urban Train."

Pesquera said the situation places the security of the transportation system’s eventual users at risk.

The party president alleged that the speedy approval of the project despite knowledge of the deficiencies, reflects the current administration’s political agenda.

PPD Could Have San Juan Mayor Candidate By 2003

September 18th, 2002.  

SAN JUAN (AP) – Popular Democratic Party Eudaldo Baez Galib, current president of the San Juan PDP Committee was said on Wednesday to be confident that the party should have a candidate for the San Juan mayoral post by the summer of 2003.

Baez Galib announced that next Oct. 17 will be the end of the period to file the candidacy for president and vice president, after which the committee directives would be chosen.

The veteran legislator also said the president would most probably be the person that the party will choose as the candidate mayor of San Juan.

"We all know that the person elected as president of the central committee is the candidate for mayor," Baez Galib said in a press conference in which he, along with party Secretary General Fernando Torres, offered details regarding the PDP reorganization in San Juan.

The PPD scheduled elections for the president and vice presidential posts of the San Juan precincts on Nov. 3.

Baez Galib said the requirements for candidates are stricter and that they should get information regarding child support, Treasury Department, and Police information.

Several PDP leaders have expressed their interest in running for the post of mayor of San Juan

Governor Is Both Praised And Criticized

September 18th, 2002.  

SAN JUAN (AP) – Majority and minority legislators said they were satisfied with Gov. Sila Calderon’s decision to ask U.S. President George W. Bush to put in writing his promise to withdraw the U.S. Navy from Vieques by May 2003.

That was the case of Popular Democratic Party and Puerto Rican Independence Party Sens. Eudaldo Baez Galib and Fernando Martin, respectively.

On the other hand, New Progressive Party Rep. Anibal Vega Borges said he believes the governor won’t meet her objective.

"She knows there won’t be a positive response to the letter. She is requesting something that the president won’t put in writing. It is clear that the only thing she wanted from Vieques was the resident’s votes," Vega Borges said.

Legislators reacted to the letters sent by the governor to President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, in which she asks the President to put his verbal promise in writing.

In Rumsfeld’s letter the governor reminds him of the president’s promise and says that his comments regarding the military maneuvers in Vieques had been "misunderstood".

Political Leaders Favor Revision Of Full Time Legislator Law

September 17th, 2002.  

SAN JUAN (AP) – Two political leaders, one from the New Progressive Party (NPP) and the other from the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), support the reevaluation of the Full Time Legislator Law to determine if the law achieved a better Legislature.

Critics of the legislation when Gov. Pedro Rossello filed it during his first four-year term (1993-1996) argued that its approval would remove many people from the political process because they would have to disassociate themselves from their professions to be able to occupy a legislative seat. As a result, those distinguished in various trades and professions would refuse to run in their respective parties.

"The law should be looked at to see if it complied with its mission," former NPP Senate President Charlie Rodriguez said.

PDP Sen. Eudaldo Baez Galib said he has always opposed the legislation because "the elected person stops being a citizen legislator," among other reasons.

While insisting that we need to return to the "citizen legislator" concept, where there is a relationship between the active professional experience of the elected official and his or her legislative function, Baez Galib championed the law’s appeal.

According to the legislator, "prohibiting that person from coexisting in his discipline substantially amputates his experience and daily living that is fundamental for his performance, and we have gone from citizen legislator to professional legislator."

The Full Time Legislator Law, according to many legislators and former legislators, depriving these professionals from opting for posts has brought to the Legislative Assembly many people without talent, which is reflected in the quality of legislative works, especially in the investigation phase, and the legislation that is produced.

PIP Demands Calderon Tell Bush Navy Permanence In Vieques Is Unacceptable

September 16th, 2002.  

SAN JUAN (AP) – Puerto Rican Independence Party Executive Director summoned Gov. Sila M. Calderon to tell President George W. Bush that it is unacceptable to her administration for the U.S. Navy to stay in Vieques after may 2003.

President Bush accepted the date established by former Gov. Pedro Rossello and former President Bill Clinton for the U.S. navy ousting from the Vieques target zone that has been in use for the past 60 years.

"We require a clear, solemn and formal statement from the Governor telling, not through spokespersons, that any effort to use the war as a pretext to postpone the Navy ousting, would be unacceptable for the Puerto Rico government," said Fernando Martin in a press conference.

Immediately, La Fortaleza was described as partisan by the government’s Public Affairs Secretary Jorge Colberg Toro.

"The U.S. Government knows the Puerto Rico government position. We are not going to issue any statements whose content is obviously political. It is time to stop using the Vieques issue as a political one," Colberg Toro said.

The official made very clear that the government public policy is unaltered.

While Martin said that if the governor failed to issue the statement she would be "confirming that the new government position could be described as the well-known saying "pide que hay", [just ask, there’s plenty].

Martin complaint that the Calderon administration has shown ambiguity in its position regarding the Vieques public policy.

The established public policy asks for an immediate and permanent cease of the U.S. Navy military maneuvers in Vieques and the ousting of the military corps from the municipality.

PIP Insists On Written Presidential Commitment On Vieques

September 14th, 2002.  

PONCE (AP) – The Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) accused Gov. Sila Calderon of assuming an attitude of powerlessness and fallen arms in the controversy related to the military practices in Vieques and urged her to ask President George W. Bush to formally promise in writing that the Navy will leave the island municipality in May 2003.

"It seems that the Puerto Rico government has assumed a position of fallen arms, of crossed arms, of powerlessness, and that projects powerlessness, resignation in the Vieques matter," PIP Executive President Fernando Martin said Saturday in a radio interview.

Calderon has said her government maintains her public policy of calling for the immediate cease of bombings in Vieques and the exit of the U.S. Navy on or before 2003.

Martin said "this is the moment" to request a written commitment from Bush that the Navy will leave Vieques in May.

He said this action allows "the president to feel the pressure of the Puerto Rican people and their government that we will not tolerate them messing with us."

However, Martin mentioned that "it has to be said that it should be embarrassing that the governor has not requested this message."

Ruberte Condemns New Public Policy Over Vieques

SEPTEMBER 13, 2002

PONCE (AP) – Outgoing Bar Association President Jaime Ruberte said Gov. Sila Calderon’s administration would be committing "treason" if it allows the U.S. Navy to stay in Vieques in May 2003.

Ruberte reacted to Secretary of State Ferdinand Mercado’s statements that the government might reconsider its decision to demand the ousting of the Navy if the United States declares war on Iraq.

"I repeat with sorrow, but responsibly, that the governor and her government would be committing treason against their country if they fail to insist on the Navy leaving next year," Ruberte said while participating in the 111th commemorative ceremonies of the birth of pro-independence leader Pedro Albizu Campos on Thursday night in Ponce.

According to the former candidate for the mayoral post of Peñuelas for the Puerto Rican Independence Party, there are other 16 military facilities in Puerto Rico that could serve as supporting facilities in the case of a U.S. military intervention anywhere in the world, for which reason it is not necessary to continue the exercises in Vieques.

"It is irresponsible, even to anticipate a position such as the one expressed by Mercado," Ruberte said.

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