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Rossello Barred From Holding Airport Press Conference, Gov. Backs Political Decision… Pesquera: P.R.’s Development Stopped The Day Calderon Took Office…Acevedo Demands Greater Commonwealth Powers, Barrales Says White House Must AddressStatus…Environmentalists, Developers Hold 1st Mtg.

Rossello Is Forbidden To Hold Press Conference At LMM

March 6, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) – New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Melinda Romero Donnelly recommended prohibiting all types of welcoming and press conferences at the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport.

The NPP legislator reacted to the comments of Ports Authority Jose Baquero, who denied permission to former Gov. Pedro Rossello to use one of the airport halls to hold a press conference upon his arrival on March 15.

"In view of the evident discrimination of Gov. Sila Calderon’s government, we believe that everyone should be forbidden to hold welcoming events and press conferences [at the airport]," Romero Donnelly said in a prepared statement.

Baquero justified his decision by saying that the press conference would be a political event that could affect the normal operations of the airport.

Rossello is expected to arrive on the island to start his campaign for the NPP gubernatorial candidacy. NPP President Carlos Pesquera is also bidding for the post.

Governor Endorses Ports Decision

By Proviana Colon Diaz of WOW News

March 6, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW News. All rights reserved.

BARCELONETA – Gov. Sila Calderon on Thursday endorsed the Ports Authority’s decision to deny former Gov. Pedro Rossello the right to use the governor’s room at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.

"That is a decision of the Board of Directors and I endorse it," Calderon said.

Calderon argued that public facilities can’t be used for political activities, unless they are rented for such purpose. Therefore, since Rossello’s arrival on March 15 is to be used as the launching of his campaign for governor, he should not be allowed to use the room.

"No public facilities are used for political activities unless they are rented for such a purpose. Any political activity should be held outside the public premises," Calderon said.

The room was requested not for a political activity but for a press conference.

Pesquera: Calderon’s Inaction Has Cost More Than 36,000 Jobs

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

March 6, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW News. All rights reserved.

6 de marzo 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. Todos los derechos reservados.

The delays of several infrastructure projects started by the past administration has cost 36,249 jobs that would have been created by now if it weren’t for Gov. Sila Calderon’s inability to boost the economic development of the island, said Carlos Pesquera, president of the New Progressive Party (NPP.) Pesquera based his calculations on data from the local Planning Board.

"The economic rut we’re seeing here today is not…the fault of the past administration, which handed her these projects in a silver platter. That’s enough. It is time to activate the economy by finishing these projects," Pesquera said.

Pesquera noted that each million dollars invested in the island’s infrastructure generates 17 jobs. He said that if this number is multiplied by the $2.1 billion that it would cost to finish projects like the Condado Trio, the Convention Center, the Music Conservatory, Route 66, and the transshipment port, it would means that 36,249 jobs have been lost.

He accused the governor of making up excuses that range from alleged errors in the planning process to the economic recession outside Puerto Rico to not give way to healthy projects started by the last administration. Pesquera said that Calderon’s spite toward the NPP has cost the Puerto Rican people thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of income.

The party president added that the delay in the development of the transshipment port—now known as the Port of the Americas—represents the biggest loss of all, as it represents a potential investment of $970 million.

He said the two-year delay in the construction of Route 66, now known as the Eastern Corridor—has cost 2,125 jobs for nothing, because in the end, he said the project has stayed exactly the same as it was originally presented by the last administration. Pesquera said a similar situation has happened with all the other aforementioned projects.

"Calderon has used a thousand excuses to justify her lack of capability. We are clear in the fact that Puerto Rico’s development stopped the day Calderon took office," he concluded.

Acevedo Vila Demands Greater Powers For Commonwealth, Barrales Says Status Must Be Addressed

By José A. Delgado

March 5, 2003
Copyright © 2003 El Nuevo Dia. All rights reserved.

WASHINGTON - Puerto Rico's Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vilá, based in WDC, declared last night that the Commonwealth government should end the "colonial regime" in Puerto Rico, but expressed interest that Puerto Rico obtain greater power and reduce its dependency on federal funds.

Hours earlier, director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Ruben Barrales, told statehood supporters that the White House recognizes that the debate over Puerto Rico's political future "is a problem which must be addressed".

Nevertheless, these statements were made just as Governor Sila Maria Calderon cancelled her efforts to continue discussions regarding Puerto Rico's political future.

Speaking to students at George Washington University, Acevedo Vila indicated that at the proper time, he hopes to work toward the culmination of the "incomplete agenda of the generation which created and implemented the Commonwealth".

In his judgment, the great task of commonwealth legislators will be to establish "a mechanism" which will prevent Congress from having "generic" power to legislate in Puerto Rico, to obtain more political power for the island to manage foreign affairs, and "to expolore new and effective mechanisms to reduce the level of dependence on federal funds. This is the only way to be truly autonomous and to obtain true interdependence," he said.

Acevedo Blames The NPP

On the fifth anniversary of Congress's approval of the controversial Young project, Acevedo Vila accused the NPP of preventing the Governor from promoting a new "consensual" process to study the future political status of Puerto Rico. The "annex-ists", he said, "are not willing to respect the democratic process unless they can manipulate or control it."

Meanwhile, former Senate Chairman Charlie Rodriguez said that Barrales recognized that the issue of Puerto Rico political status must be addressed; however, he once again made no promises with the statehooders who met with him at the White House.

Senator Miriam Ramirez de Ferrer and attorney Mario Porrata, who will today deliver more than 50,000 signatures in favor of statehood to Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, participated in the meeting.

Environmentalists, Developers Hold First Meeting Together

March 5, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - In a meeting described by the government as "historical" and by the environmentalists as an "experiment," Gov. Sila Calderon’s Environmental and Construction advisory councils came together Wednesday in the first of a series of meetings aimed at jointly establishing the Commonwealth’s environmentalist policy.

"We had never done this before; this is an experiment. Let’s see how it works," said Environmentalist Council Chairwoman Marian Gonzalez.

The two sectors, who normally don’t agree on how things should be done, did agree on starting a joint effort to see how both sides can be pleased.

Both sides have already agreed that there is a need for more employees in the government agencies authorizing projects and issuing permits, Construction Council Chairman Joel Katz said.

Although the governor headed the meeting, as claimed in a press release, she failed to attend the press and instead delegated the decision to inform the results of the meeting to La Fortaleza Chief of Staff Cesar Miranda.

Miranda agreed to comply with the request for more employees for the agencies dealing with the area of a responsible development.

Initially, the environmentalists delivered a letter stating which areas they will not give in on, such as refusing the unlimited expedition of permits.

Miranda and Katz agreed to take them into consideration.

The environmentalists are seeking to halt the spread of rural developments and bring construction back to the urban centers.

Developers have argued that rebuilding the urban centers is much more expensive.

Following the meeting, which ended around 3:30 p.m., some participants from the environmentalist side expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the first meeting.

The council will be meeting as soon as next Wednesday at the Engineers College in Hato Rey, where the agenda to be discussed will be water and the development of the island’s urban center.

Wanda Colon, a lifelong advocate for justice, peace, and the conservation of the island’s natural resources, said the group of environmentalists informed the constructors that their interest is strictly non-profit as unlike the developers, they don’t make any money out of their efforts.

"We do this out of love for the environment. We will continue to meet with them on a very professional level and in an atmosphere of respect," Colon said.

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