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Congress Asked To Celebrate Commonwealth Constitution’s 50th Anniversary

England: No Live Ammunition Will Be Used On Vieques

Santini Rules Out Pesquera Primary Challenge

Gov’t Criticized For Copying Rossello Projects

Calderon: Deficit Prevented Retaking Prasa

NPP Wants Prasa Selection Probe

Congress Asked To Join Commonwealth Celebration

By WOW News staff

May 2, 2002
Copyright © 2002
WOW News. All rights reserved.  

With bipartisan support, Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila filed Thursday a joint resolution for the U.S. Congress to join the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth.

The resolution was submitted with the support of Republican James Hansen, House Resources Committee chairman, and Nick Rahall, highest ranking Democrat of this committee, which has jurisdiction over Puerto Rico matters in Congress.

The document says "the cultural diversity of the United States has been enriched by the people of Puerto Rico, which has preserved and promoted their culture, language, and identity."

"American citizens in Puerto Rico have complied with their duties toward this great nation with pride and some have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of democracy, liberty, and the U.S. Constitution since World War II," the resolution adds.

The resolution affirms that "Congress celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Constitution."

England: No Live Ammunition Will Be Used On Vieques

May 2, 2002
Copyright © 2002
The Associated Press. All rights reserved.  

SAN JUAN (AP) — U.S. Navy Secretary Gordon England ruled out the possibility of resuming the use of live ammunition during the military practices on Vieques, as he declared the debate on that subject as a closed issue.

"For me there is no debate," England told the U.S. Senate Defense Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee while discussing the Navy’s budget for fiscal year 2003.

England said he had no knowledge of a new round of military maneuvers on Vieques for June or July as part of the training of the U.S.S. Enterprise battleship, according to published reports.

The report of the Center for Naval Analysis, which evaluates alternate training sites, is expected to be finished this month and will reveal how soon the Navy would be able to close its firing range on Vieques.

Santini: Pesquera Can Rest Assured He Won’t Challenge Him

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin

May 2, 2002
Copyright © 2002
WOW News. All rights reserved.  

San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini said Thursday that he met with New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera whom he reassured that he won’t take part in any primary election for governor.

"We had an excellent meeting last night [Wednesday] with the electoral leadership of the party. I don’t even foresee an electoral competition with Pesquera, as I am not competing with Pesquera; I am running for San Juan mayor," Santini said.

Santini added that for him, the possibility of running for governor is just as improbable as the possibility of Pesquera running for mayor of San Juan.

"Those who try to run for San Juan mayor will have to challenge Jorge Santini in primary elections or in general elections. But for governor, Pesquera is the NPP candidate," Santini said.

The San Juan mayor issued his statements following a Thursday press conference to discuss the nutritional plan for the 80 delegates of the Miss Universe Pageant to be held in San Juan on May 29.

While commenting on a survey published in a local daily on Wednesday that showed Santini had slightly more support than Pesquera, the NPP president had said he didn’t rule out the possibility of going on a primary election with Santini.

Pesquera Doesn’t Rule Out A Primary Election With Santini

May 1, 2002
Copyright © 2002
The Associated Press. All rights reserved.  

SAN JUAN (AP) — New Progressive Party (NPP) President Carlos Pesquera said in a press conference Wednesday that he doesn’t rule out competing for the governor’s post in a primary election with San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini.

"When you go into politics, you know that anything can happen. But those are matters for 2003 and 2004," Pesquera said.

He added that what’s more important at the moment is to strengthen the NPP so that it becomes the public’s choice for the upcoming general elections.

"I welcome our leaders as I tell them that our followers are paying attention to what their messages are. There are many out there who are false prophets. I ask them to join our party," the NPP leader said.

Pesquera reacted to the results of a survey published in a local daily that revealed that Santini would be a stronger candidate to run against Gov. Sila Calderon.

The poll placed Santini with 36% votes in favor and Pesquera with 30%.

Although Pesquera refused to acknowledge that the sample showed an advantage for Santini, the NPP president said corruption scandals linked to the party will reflect on its president.

Calderon Scorned For Copying Former Incumbent's Projects

May 1, 2002
Copyright © 2002
The Associated Press. All rights reserved.  

MAYAGUEZ (AP) — Former Roads Authority Executive Director Sergio Gonzalez criticized Gov. Sila Calderon on Wednesday, saying she copied projects presented during the past administration.

Gonzalez specifically referred to the package of projects renamed Economic Pole of the Mountain region, for which the governor announced an investment of more than $1 billion for 18 municipalities.

According to the former official, 90% of the projects included in this package were already programmed.

And although he said the projects are good, Gonzalez noted that it is incorrect to not acknowledge that many of those projects originated during the past administration.

He added that only three of Calderon’s 10 road projects are new: the construction of three lanes for the Panoramic Route, the works at Baxter Street, and the improvements to PR-1 from Km. 52 to Km. 35.

Gonzalez also said he doubts the Calderon administration will be able meet its campaign promise to begin construction in October of the PR-10 that goes from Utuado to Adjuntas, since it requires an environmental impact statement that may take more than two years.

Governor: Deficit Prevented Government From Retaking Prasa

By Proviana Colon Diaz of WOW News

APRIL 30, 2002
Copyright © 2002 WOW News. All rights reserved.

CAMUY– Gov. Sila Calderon said Tuesday that the existing deficit at the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (Prasa) prevented the government from retaking its administration, and thus the best option for the people of Puerto Rico was granting a 10-year administration contract.

"The financial situation and the deficit is of such magnitude that we have to stabilize that company before thinking of retaking it," Calderon said.

Ondeo Services received the $400 million annual contract to operate Prasa for the next 10 years after months of negotiations.

Some of the goals included in the new contract are reducing and eliminating Prasa’s operational deficit within the next 10 years, securing the jobs of Prasa employees, increasing Prasa’s revenue without raising service rates, complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrative orders, and improving service to Prasa clients.

Calderon added that one of the key elements in granting the administration contract to Ondeo Services was the company’s commitment to not increase service rates.

NPP Files Resolution To Probe United Water Selection

April 30th, 2002
Copyright © 2002
The Associated Press. All rights reserved.  

SAN JUAN (AP) — The House New Progressive Party (NPP) delegation filed Tuesday a resolution for the Legislature to investigate the selection process of United Water of Ondeo to manage the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (Prasa) for the next 10 years.

House Minority Leader Anibal Vega Borges said the company’s history of contract incompliance and allegations of bribery through political campaign donations in at least five countries is reason enough for the Legislature to study the contract’s supervision mechanisms.

Vega Borges also questioned where the funds needed to comply with the contract, which amount to $400 million annually, will come from. He predicted that the cost of the balance will further unbalance the government budget.

The representative urged members of the Popular Democratic Party majority to vote against ratifying the contract, adding that there are serious doubts regarding the guarantees that irregularities will not occur with the company.

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