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Garcia Confirms U.S. Atty Designation

Anti-Crime Plan Defended

$4.5M Set For U.S. Voter Registration Drive

Trinidad Wants Hopkins Next

Priest’s Suspension Will Continue

Cuomo's Call For Novello's Resignation Criticized

England Questions Actions Of Anti-Navy Protesters

Humberto Garcia Confirms Designation As U.S. DA

May 14, 2002
Copyright © 2002
The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) – Texas District Attorney Humberto Garcia confirmed that he will replace interim U.S. District Attorney Guillermo Gil Bonar on June 3.

Although the White House has not made any official announcement regarding Garcia’s designation, the U.S. Justice Department ordered Gil Bonar’s interim replacement until the confirmation process starts, according to published reports.

Garcia will be on the island Thursday and Friday to visit his new office, get to know his working group, and initiate procedures to establish residence.

The Texas native said he has not had any sessions with Gil Bonar regarding pending cases.

The designated district attorney declined to react to criticism regarding his appointment, including from Popular Democratic Party Sen. Eudaldo Baez Galib, leader of the Democratic Party in Puerto Rico, and U.S. Appellate Court in Boston Judge Juan Torruella, who said the position should be occupied by a Puerto Rican, who would have better knowledge of the jurisdiction.

Police Superintendent Says Anti-Crime Plan Has To Work

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin

May 13, 2002
Copyright © 2002 WOW News. All rights reserved.

Waving away criticism regarding the new anti-crime plan on Monday, Police Superintendent Miguel Pereira said the goals of the plan are based on realistic projections.

"Obviously, it will be difficult. That’s why it hasn’t been done before. We are committed to the plan. We believe the plan will work and that it will provide the safety that Puerto Rico needs," said Pereira.

The police chief added that the decentralization of the Police Department and the empowerment of the 12 area commanders in Puerto Rico, as stated in the proposed anti-crime plan, are aspects that should be completed within five months without problems.

Pereira said the plan has already been implemented in San Juan, Bayamon, Carolina, and Caguas, which are the areas with the highest crime rates on the island.

"The plan was submitted to the governor’s consideration on Feb. 27. Following several conversations with the governor, we began implementing it. It was made public recently, but the plan has already been working since March," Pereira stated.

The police chief also denied that increasing from 34% to 45% the rate for the solving of Type I crime cases in Puerto Rico by December is an unrealistic goal. He said the idea didn’t come out of thin air but was studied and agreed upon by the auxiliary superintendent of criminal investigations and the 12 area chiefs of criminal investigations, and as such there should be no excuse not to reach that goal.

"This wasn’t something that Miguel Pereira invented at some point. This was something that we agreed could be done," Pereira said.

Although admitting there could be exceptions, he insisted that each case would have to be evaluated to determine what went wrong. Still, he said reaching the 45% goal will be used to decide who stays and goes at the Police Department at the end of the year.

Pereira added that the plan contemplates increasing the rate by 5% each of the following years, thus reaching 55% by 2004.

Government To Invest $4.5M In Registration Campaign

May 13, 2002
Copyright © 2002
The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) – Gov. Sila Calderon’s administration will invest $4.5 million in a massive campaign to motivate Puerto Rican voters on the U.S. mainland to register.

The investment represents an almost 50% budget increase for the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (Prfaa).

Despite the budget deficit in Puerto Rico, Prfaaa spokeswoman in Washington Celeste Diaz Ferraro justified the decision noting the interdependence of the Puerto Rican communities on the island and the U.S. mainland.

"We are a single family, one people, and the governor is committed to empowering Puerto Ricans," Diaz Ferraro said in published reports.

For her part, Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Sara Vega said she still doesn’t know how much the project—to go on until 2004—will cost, but she didn’t rule out an allocation increase.

There are close to 650,000 Puerto Ricans eligible to vote on the U.S. mainland.

Trinidad Wants Hopkins Next

May 12, 2002
Copyright © 2002
The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN -- Felix Trinidad was talking about his next opponent shortly after knocking out French journeyman Hacine Cherifi.

``If my next fight is with (Bernard) Hopkins, I assure you that I'm going to make him pay for everything he did and said,'' Trinidad said, after stopping Cherifi in the fourth round Saturday night of a non-title fight in his hometown.

Hopkins handed the 29-year-old Trinidad his first loss in a middleweight title unification fight on Sept. 29.

Adding to Trinidad's ire, Hopkins twice threw the Puerto Rican flag to the floor during the promotion for that bout. He said that he is willing to give Trinidad a rematch.

``I want Hopkins,'' the former middleweight champion said Saturday. ``I will chop his neck. Tito Trinidad is back.''

Trinidad (41-1) backed his words with an impressive performance in front of thousands of his fans.

He dominated Cherifi from the first round, knocking him down in the third, and finally dispatching him in the fourth with a right and a powerful left hook to the jaw.

Priest’s Suspension Will Continue

May 11, 2002
Copyright © 2002
The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) – A priest who has been accused of alleged lascivious acts by a parishioner will continue to be suspended from his duties and will have to be evaluated by health professionals outside the island, San Juan Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves said Friday.

The archbishop revealed his decision on the case in writing after receiving the report of the consultative team he named to evaluate the complaint.

"If the incident had happened, it does not constitute child abuse nor sexual abuse according to the law," according to the written declaration by the archbishop, who, however, clarified that if some crime had been committed, it had already prescribed, since the act allegedly occurred between 1984 and 1985 when the complainant was 19 years old.

The priest, whose identity was not revealed by the archbishop, will be referred to a specialized treatment center that provides psychological, emotional, and spiritual help to priests, the archbishop’s statement indicated.

That concludes the investigation, Gonzalez Nieves said.

"No other incident occurred between the complainant and the priest nor with any other member of the clergy. Having examined the priest’s record, there are no other complaints of this nature against him," the archbishop said.

Cuomo's Call For Novello's Resignation Criticized


May 11, 2002
Copyright © 2002 THE NEW YORK TIMES. All rights reserved.

Hispanic lawmakers, both Democratic and Republican, had strong words yesterday for Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democratic candidate for governor, after he called for the resignation of Dr. Antonia C. Novello, the state health commissioner, on Thursday.

Mr. Cuomo criticized Dr. Novello for the health department's oversight of adult homes for the mentally ill. His criticism came in response to a recent investigation by The New York Times on abuse and deaths at the homes.

United States Representative Nydia M. Velasquez demanded an apology. "It is very disappointing to me that Mr. Cuomo would seize on such an opportunity — the ultimate future and necessary improvement to our state's mental health system — to needlessly attack one of the most accomplished women of color," she said.

Dr. Novello was born in Puerto Rico and is a former United States surgeon general.

Assemblywoman Carmen Arroyo and State Senators Efrain Gonzalez Jr. and Pedro Espada Jr. also defended Dr. Novello.

"It is really disappointing for Andrew Cuomo to attack Dr. Novello," Mr. Gonzalez said in a written statement. "Clearly he has no idea of her importance to the Hispanic community and New York State as a whole."

The dust-up was yet another twist in the state's politics of race.

Ms. Velasquez, Ms. Arroyo and Mr. Gonzalez have endorsed Mr. Cuomo's opponent in the Democratic primary, H. Carl McCall, who is black. Mr. Espada is a Republican.

Governor Pataki has courted black and Hispanic votes, and has won the endorsement of Dennis Rivera, the head of the hospital workers' union, who touted the governor's record on health.

England Questions Actions Of Anti-Navy Protesters

May 10, 2002
Copyright © 2002
The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) – U.S. Navy Secretary Gordon England questioned the actions of anti-Navy protesters who oppose military practices continuing until May 2003, the date in which the Navy is committed to leave the island municipality.

"I think that while we are working to abandon Vieques, it is lamentable that in times of war, there are activists not supporting our Navy and our nation," England said in an exclusive interview to a local newspaper.

According to the Navy chief, in a democracy, citizens are entitled to their right to protest, but not to use violent measures to impede essential training.

"God bless their right to protest. We will protect and defend that right, but that’s far from violating the law. It will be very positive to get to May 2003 without law violations and aggressions that endanger the lives of our people participating in the naval exercises, especially when we want to be responsible," England said.

The secretary added that the Navy will not use live ammunition in Vieques, despite Sept. 11’s tragic events, and will comply with their commitment to leave Vieques in May 2003 because "the people don’t want us there."

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