McClintock: Governor Lacks Moral Strength… AAV To Challenge Pont’s House Defeat, PDP Petitions The Supreme Court… Aponte: Pont's Continuance In Post Is Illegal… No Rest For Delgado… Beautiful Lowell… Don’t Honk… Banks Have Capacity To Pay Tax Hike… Girl, 5, Killed At Drug Point Fight… Tourism Sets Record… People Smugglers Try To Ram Police… McClintock Asked To Be Consistent

McClintock: Governor Lacks Moral Strength

May 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

PONCE (EFE) — Senate President Kenneth McClintock on Tuesday said Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila lacks the moral strength to demand that the Legislature confirm his cabinet members to their posts.

McClintock’s statements followed Acevedo Vila’s decision to request that the Puerto Rico Supreme Court certify Marisara Pont as Secretary of State, even though the House voted against it.

"I think the governor lacks the moral strength to talk about what the Legislature does and doesn’t do, especially after he broke his promise to the people that he would sign the status bill if the NPP amended it. We did our part, but he failed to do his," McClintock said during a press conference in Santa Isabel.

McClintock declined to comment on the House decision. He did, however, remind everyone that the Senate did vote for her.

Pont: Acevedo Will Challenge Decision In Court

May 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

San Juan (EFE).- Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá will file in court today to seek a mandamus petition to "clear this situation up" after the House of Representatives failed to confirmed yesterday Marisara Pont Marchese for Secretary of State.

"She was confirmed", said the governor in a press conference offered at La Fortaleza before starting Popular Democratic Party’s Legislative Conference.

Acevedo Vilá added, for "us this is clear, for the country it is also clear".

The House of Representaives voted against the nomination of Marisara Pont Marchese for Secretary of State.

House Speaker Jose Aponte Hernandez said Pont Marchese had failed to obtain an absolute majority at the House.

In order to be confirmed to the post, Pont Marchese needed at least 26 votes of the 51 members of the House. She obtained 24 votes. Another 16 representatives voted against her nomination.

Popular Democratic Party House Minority Leader Hector Ferrer objected the decision to apply the absolute majority rule.

The House decided not to confirm Pont Marchese’s nomination despite favorable recommendations of the House Government Committee–which is chaired by New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez.

According to published reports, the House–which is dominated by the NPP–was planning to vote against the confirmation of several nominees to Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila’s cabinet in retaliation for the governor’s veto on a bill to resolve the political status of the island.

PDP Files Petition At The Supreme Court

May 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) — The House Popular Democratic Party (PDP) delegation filed a legal petition at the Puerto Rico Supreme Court on Tuesday to request that Marisara Pont be certified as Secretary of State.

The delegation also asked the court to issue a provisional order that would allow Pont’s continuance in the post until the case is resolved.

On Monday, the House voted twice on whether to confirm Pont’s appointment to the post of Secretary of State. The first time, Pont received 24 votes and another 16 representatives voted against her. However, House Speaker Jose Aponte said she needed to be confirmed by an absolute majority, which is 26 votes.

Popular Democratic Party House Minority Leader Hector Ferrer disagreed by saying that Pont didn’t have to be confirmed by an absolute majority.

However, in the second vote, 22 House members voted against her and 20 voted for her.

Aponte: Pont's Continuance In The Post Is Illegal

May 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (EFE) - House Speaker Jose Aponte on Tuesday said that if Marisara Pont Marchese continues to work as Secretary of State, she would be acting "illegally," because her appointment to the post was not confirmed by the House on Monday.

"She has to stop", Aponte said after he stated that Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila had already been informed of the decision, in a letter written on May 9 by House Secretary Jose Enrique Melendez.

Aponte said he would discuss with his attorneys the legal action he will take if Pont insists on continuing her work as Secretary of State.

Gov. Acevedo Vila has argued that Pont had apparently been confirmed at first, only to be rejected later, after the New Progressive Party delegation had held a meeting.

No Rest For Delgado… But He Doesn't Mind

By Juan C. Rodriguez, Staff Writer

May 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 SO FL SUN SENTINEL. All rights reserved. 

MIAMI GARDENS · Manager Jack McKeon would just as soon have the bulk of his team's off days in August and September. Having so much time off early has enabled him to keep Carlos Delgado in the lineup.

Delgado is the only regular that has started every game. Sunday was the closest McKeon has come to resting Delgado, pulling him in the sixth inning with the Marlins down seven runs to the Rockies.

Not that Delgado is complaining. As recently as 2003, Delgado appeared in 161 games. He played the full slate in 2000 and 2001.

A stint on the disabled list last year limited him to 128 games.

"Sometimes days off, more than anything they help you mentally more than physically," Delgado said. "Since I don't run or steal bases, you don't mistreat your body. You get tired, but you don't feel exhausted. It relaxes your mind, especially when they tell you take the day off and don't take BP or anything. You can think about other things.

"[McKeon] is the boss. If he asks me, I'll tell him I'm ready. If he tells me I'm not going to play, I'm not heading into his office."

Delgado will likely keep seeing his name in the lineup. The Marlins have a day off before a six-game road trip, which starts Friday in San Diego. Starting May 20, they play 26 games in 25 days, including 17 in a row.

Beautiful Lowell

May 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 SO FL SUN SENTINEL. All rights reserved. 

Mike Lowell may be struggling at the plate, but he can take solace in being a beautiful person. People En Espanol named Lowell to its 50 Most Beautiful list. Raised in Miami and of Cuban decent, Lowell was born in Puerto Rico.

The magazine hit newsstands last week, but Lowell got a sneak preview. "The editor sent a couple of copies to the house," he said. "It was kind of funny, cool."

Lowell and Argentine tennis player David Nalbandian are the only pro athletes on the list. Among the others: Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, John Leguizamo and Gloria Estefan.

Our Man In New York: Don’t Honk


May 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 Independent Newspapers (UK) Limited. All rights reserved. 

The Independent

If New York were in the tropics, things might be different. I knew I was a very long way from home during a recent trip to Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, when I read a list of helpful hints on local culture posted in my hotel room. It included admonitions not to walk in town in beachwear and to obey the seat-belts laws.

Finally, it added this: "Don"t honk if the driver in front stops for a conversation." That sure wouldn"t work on the FDR.

Banks Have Capacity To Pay Tax Hike

May 10, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

Ponce (EFE) - Economist Edwin Irizarry Mora today said the Puerto Rico banking industry has the economic capacity to pay a 4% increase in taxes on net interest.

According to Irizarry Mora, banks on the island operate with a wide revenue margin that allows them to cover the expense of this tax, which the government wants to impose for two years.

This way, the economist assured there is no excuse for banks to transfer this tax responsibility to their clients.

The threat of passing this responsibility onto customers isn’t justified. When you publish the banking institutions’ financial statements, all are fundamentally operating with a big profit margin," he added.

"I believe the banking industry has the capacity to pay such tax increase. It isn’t an imposition on a sector that is dying from hunger," the economist said.

5 Year Old Girl Killed At Drug Point Fight

May 9, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

San Juan (EFE).- Five year old girl Paola Nicole Ortega Santiago was killed Saturday at a revenge killing over the control of a drug point, at La Ribiera public housing project in Las Piedras.

The Police said the incident occurred at 8:30 p.m., when several unidentified individuals, traveling in a white car and in a small car, stopped in front of building A-6 and using machine guns, started firing into the apartment.

The girl was killed after being shot nine times. Also wounded during the killing was Isais Morales, 1, Alexis Gonzalez Santiago, 3, and Danny Soto Agosto, 16, Hector Nieve Martinez, 18 and Denisse Santiago Vargas, 29, mother of Paola Nicole.

Police Inspector Juan Torres, informed the men who shot into the apartment apparently belong to a San Juan drug gang who had been carrying a feud with an Humacao drug gang.

Tourism Sets A Record For The Caribbean

by Doreen Hemlock
Business Writer

May 9, 2005
Copyright © 2005 SO FL SUN SENTINEL. All rights reserved. 

The Caribbean region reported record tourism last year, and prospects look sunny for 2005 thanks to a robust U.S. economy and strong European currencies that cuts costs for visitors from the Old World.

But funding for new hotels remains a serious challenge, said the Puerto Rico-based Caribbean Hotel Association.

"Banks will typically lend only up to 50 percent to 60 percent of the value of the property and for a short period of time -- usually no longer than 10 years," said Alex Titcombe, who leads advocacy and research for the hotel group.

To address the problem, the association has asked British consultancy Capital Representatives to look into the feasibility of a Regional Tourism Investment Fund to be made up of banks and other financiers.

Results of the report are to be presented at a regional tourism conference slated for Barbados next week.

People Smugglers Try To Ram Police

May 9, 2005
Copyright © 2005. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN -- A makeshift boat carrying 34 Dominican migrants -- some brandishing machetes -- led authorities on an hour-and-a-half-long chase in choppy waters near Puerto Rico, attempting to ram police boats to get away, an official said Sunday.

During the pursuit, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 12 migrants from the water, said Lt. j.g Eric Willis, a spokesman.

It was not clear whether they jumped or were thrown overboard by smugglers in an attempt to slow down authorities. No injuries were reported.

''This is organized crime, smuggling people into the country,'' Willis said. ``They put the lives of the migrants and authorities in danger.''

Dalmau Asks McClintock To Be Consistent With Appointments

May 9, 2005
Copyright © 2005 EFE. All rights reserved. 

San Juan (EFE) - José Luis Dalmau, Senate spokesperson for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), asked Kenneth McClintock, president of that body, to be consistent with his position regarding confirmation of officials designated by the governor.

Dalmau remembered when McClintock was the New Progressive Party (NPP) spokesperson during the past four years, when that delegation was the Senate’s minority, that the legislator asked the PDP senators to vote their conscience regarding Ferdinand Mercado’s confirmation as Puerto Rico Supreme Court judge.

Nevertheless, "the NPP wants to use the ‘caucus’ to impose a political evaluation of nominated Roberto Sánchez Ramos and not permit NPP senators to vote in favor the designated Justice secretary, even though they recognize the designated Justice secretary’s professional capacity."

"Now, at his convenience, McClintock says the contrary, because before he was in the Senate’s minority and now he belongs to the majority. We have to be consistence with our positions and maintain our moral integrity in all our decisions," Dalmau explained.

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