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Rossello To Pursue Different RR Plan… Hispanic TV Adds Top P.R. Channel…LMM Improvements Announced… 5 Judges Face Custody Case Investigation … Berrios Denounces Alleged RR Contamination…Nautical Tourism Development Urged…Hietel, PRT Reach Pact… Funds Assigned To Vieques Wasteland… Better Quality Of Life Plan Offered

Rossello To Pursue Different Plan For Roosevelt Roads

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

March 30, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Despite Gov. Sila Calderon’s administration’s efforts to draft a plan for the development of Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello said that should he become governor in 2005, he would implement a different plan.

"In terms of the use of that land, we have our differences. We obviously aren’t going to accept solutions that we believe aren’t the best," Rossello said during a press conference at the NPP headquarters in Hato Rey on Tuesday.

Rossello’s plan includes the development of the transshipment port that the Calderon administration intends to build in Ponce. Rossello has said he believes Roosevelt Roads as a strategic location is superior to the site in Ponce, which is in the south.

"We must take advantage of it," Rossello added.

Economic Development & Commerce Secretary Milton Segarra has said Puerto Rico’s plan to develop the base will be ready by August.

Some of the proposals in the draft include preserving more than 3,000 acres of wetlands and developing 1,250 acres for ecotourism. The local government is also interested in obtaining the rights to use water and power facilities inside the base for the benefit of Puerto Rico residents.

The local Health Department has also requested that authorities transfer a naval base hospital so it can develop a rehabilitation center for stroke patients.

Rossello, on the other hand, believes that the hospital facility could be used for a Veterans Hospital. He also mentioned the possibility of using Roosevelt Roads’ runways to develop a new international airport in Puerto Rico.

Roosevelt Roads will shut down on March 31. However, the U.S. Navy will retain ownership of the land, and certain civil facilities, such as the schools, will continue to operate, but only for a short time.

Hispanic TV Adds Top Puerto Rico Channel To Market


New York Daily News

March 31, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved. 

Television programming aimed specifically at the Hispanic market got a major boost yesterday in a deal inked in downtown Brooklyn.

In a effort to broaden its content, officials from the Hispanic Information Telecommunications Network, HITN, signed an agreement to share content and programming with Puerto Rico's premier public television network, TUTV.

Jose Luis Rodriguez, president of HITN, and TUTV President Linda Hernandez Rosado signed the deal before a morning news conference at the Brooklyn Marriott.

"The HITN-TV/TUTV partnership embodies our commitment to providing television programs that educate, enrich and empower Hispanics everywhere, and in this particular case, the Puerto Rican population," Rodriguez said.

Rosado noted that the agreement will bring "an intelligent and creative television alternative for all Hispanics."

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, more than 2.1 million New Yorkers - 27% of the city's population - are Hispanic.

Locally, HITN is carried by Time Warner Cable and the Dish Network. Company officials said they are in negotiations with other carriers, including Cablevision.

Improvements To LMM Airport Announced

By Ricardo Zuñiga of Associated Press

March 30, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The Luis Muñoz Marin International airport will undergo major renovations to its hotel and one of its passenger terminals.

Gov. Sila Calderon announced on Tuesday a $33.6 million investment to renovate terminal B. The renovations will increase the number of ticket windows from 57 to 100, and should be ready by May of this year.

These renovations are being carried out at the same time as those in terminal A, which should be finished in March 2005 at a cost of $35 million. This will increase the airport’s capacity to 15 million passengers annually and some 15 thousand monthly flights, indicated Port Authority director, Miguel Soto Lacourt.

The installation now handles some 10 million passengers per year and 13,500 monthly flights from 30 different airlines, indicated Soto Lacourt.

The official indicated that terminal B will mainly serve cruise lines that utilize San Juan as their home port.

"Since October, we have received 1.4 million passengers connecting to their cruise ships", said Soto Lacourt.

Calderon indicated that 40 new stores will be opening as well. This will allow passengers to buy food and other products, generating an expected $3 million in revenue 300 permanent jobs.

In the meantime, the hotel will be renovated with an investment of $5.6 million and will have 125 rooms. The project began in March of 2003 and is slated for completion in June of this year, said the Governor in a press conference.

"These projects will benefit the 10 million passengers that use our airport annually as well as the economic development of Puerto Rico", assured the Governor.

Meanwhile, Soto Lacourt affirmed that the Ports Authority is currently in negotiations with Santana Enterprises to clarify the commercial agreements between both entities.

Soto Lacourt reiterated that those who believe Santana Enterprises had a monopoly on airport shops are mistaken, although now there will be a greater diversity of products and services with the opening of new stores.

"We are nearing reformulation of all airport operations handled by Santana Enterprises", he stated. "There were many legal suits, issues regarding debt, and jurisdictional situations", added Soto Lacourt, without going into details.

Five Judges Under Investigation Concerning Custody Case

March 30, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – At least five judges are being investigated for their participation in the custody dispute over the Russian child Arnas Guarilcikas. Nilsa Garcia Cabrera, who is in charge of the investigation, said that they are interested in scrutinizing the time period from when the boy was first separated from his biological mother until the local courts attempted to keep him on the island.

The Courts Administration, which commissioned the investigation, will try to determine whether the judges violated the code of ethics, engaged in improper conduct, or committed a felony.

"I urge the people of Puerto Rico to trust the judicial branch. They can be sure that we will do whatever is necessary to investigate the case and preserve its credibility," said Garcia Cabrera in published reports.

According to Garcia Cabrera, the report should be completed by July 20.

PIP Denounces Alleged Contamination At Roosevelt Roads

March 30, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), concerned about the alleged contamination of least 45 sites at the U.S. Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, called for immediate cleanup prior to its transfer to local authorities.

PIP’s president, Ruben Berrios, urged the U.S. government to return all base areas to Puerto Rico, as was planned. This would include areas reserved for federal agencies.

He also called on his political opponents in the race for governor, Popular Democratic Party’s Anibal Acevedo Vila and New Progressive Party’s Pedro Rossello, to state their position on the issues of contamination and land transfer.

"We have firsthand information that verifies that these areas are contaminated by highly dangerous substances," stated Berrios at a press conference.

Meanwhile, PIP Vicepresident Maria de Lourdes Santiago maintains that one of the contaminants found was dioxin, which is extremely hazardous.

Puerto Rico To Develop Nautical Tourism - Bill Proposal

Latin America News Digest

March 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004 AII Data Processing. All rights reserved. 

The president of the Tourism Commission of Puerto Rican House of Representatives, Sylvia Rodriguez de Corujo, has proposed a bill to develop the nautical tourism on the island, it was reported on March 27, 2004.

The objective of the bill is to make Puerto Rico competitive to other Caribbean destinations, including St. Martin, the Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands.

Although the nautical tourism is a potential market for Puerto Rico, it still lacks a public policy framework providing the necessary incentives for development and promotion of this activity.

Currently, nautical tourism is being developed in Puerto Rico by only 15 small companies, Corujo said on March 26, 2004.

The development of nautical tourism in Puerto Rico will help diversify the tourism offer and will also produce a positive impact on fishing for sports and recreation, the executive vice-president of Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association, Erin Benitez, said.

Hietel And PRT Reach An Agreement

March 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Labor Department Secretary Frank Zorrilla announced on Monday that the Puerto Rico Telephone and the Independent Brotherhood of Telephone Employees (Hietel by its Spanish acronym) have reached an economic agreement.

Zorrilla said the new contract includes an increase of 60 cents an hour during the first and second years, an additional increase of 65 cents in the third year, a 70 cent increase in the fourth year, and a 75 cent increase in the fifth year.

"We want to congratulate Arbitration Bureau Director Francisco Ferrer for his extraordinary contribution to creating peace at an important labor center such as the Puerto Rico Telephone Co.," Zorrilla said in a prepared statement.

According to Zorrilla, union leaders must now present the agreement to the 1,567 workers for its ratification.

Funds Assigned To Vieques Wasteland

March 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The Solid Waste Authority said on Monday that it has assigned $350,000 for improvements to the Vieques municipal wasteland.

SWA Executive Director, Guillermo M. Riera, said the assignment is part of the administration effort to get all wastelands to comply with the requirements in order to continue operating.

"The wastelands have to comply with the rules and regulations to guarantee the well being of the public health," Rieira said in a written statement.

Riera said the assignment of funds will be used for improvements to the system that monitors gases and underground water wells.

Proposal To Better The Quality Of Life Presented

March 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The Puerto Ricans for Puerto Rico party presented the proposal "Reconstruction of Puerto Rico" on Monday, which contains several urban, social, and economic measures to improve the citizen’s quality of life through the restoration of the island’s urban areas.

The plan presented by the environmental party, which is not inscribed in the Commonwealth Election Commission, wishes to give a series of bonuses and incentives to facilitate the reconstruction, restoration and reforestation of existing urban areas.

"Our plan is to give back to the citizens the public spaces, the structures and cultural activities, the time lost in traffic jams and a better life at a lower cost", the environmental advisor of the party, said in a press release Lorna Perez.

The organization proposed that tax cuts be available both for developers who work on the restoration of urban areas, and for individuals and families who live in urban centers who plan to invest in the restoration of houses or businesses.

Also the environmental party suggested limiting the changes in zoning that could affect green urban and rural areas.

"With real planning we will be able to preserve the beauty that is left, while we restore what is damaged, creating a better environment for tourism, and social, and community life" added the party’s president, Rogelio Figueroa.

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