Mayor alleges Puerto Rico Treasury ‘discrimination’ against minority party municipalities
SAN JUAN – The mayor of Cayey and president the Puerto Rico Mayors Association, Rolando Ortiz, denounced Friday alleged actions by the local Treasury Department that “confirm obvious discrimination by the Rosselló administration against municipalities run by Popular Democratic Party [PDP] mayors” in the distribution of recovery funds after the passage of the hurricanes in September.
“The Treasury Secretary reported yesterday [Thursday] that the department disbursed [a total of] $4 million to several municipalities on Dec. 18. Of the 23 municipalities that benefited, 21 are run by New Progressive mayors. If anyone had doubts about Rosselló’s pattern of discrimination against most municipalities, here is another proof. It is an abuse of the broad powers that the figure of the Governor has–to discriminate against those who are not from his party,” Ortiz said in written statements.
The president of the Mayors Association added that “the Secretary of Housing admits municipalities are the first line of response in any emergency, and they are aware of what they need to get [their municipalities] going after hurricanes Irma and Maria. However, the administration turns the distribution of funds into a piñata for New Progressive Party municipalities.”
“Yesterday, the Secretary of Treasury, Raúl Maldonado Gautier, indicated the $4,047,083.33 allocated last December was disbursed as ordered by Joint Resolution No. 17 of Aug. 13, 2017, to be assigned to municipalities, agencies and public instrumentalities in the amount of $11.5 million. In December 2017, the process began by delivering a portion of the money allocated,” he said.
The beneficiary municipalities were Aguada, Aguadilla, Aguas Buenas, Arecibo, Barranquitas, Bayamón, Camuy, Cataño, Ceiba, Cidra, Florida, Juncos, Lares, Las Marías, Manatí, Mayagüez, Moca, Naguabo, Naranjito, Orocovis, Ponce, San Sebastián and Toa Baja.
Only Juncos and Mayagüez are run by PDP mayors, Alfredo ‘Papo’ Alejandro and José Guillermo Rodríguez, respectively. It should be noted that in the last elections, most of the 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico were in the hands of PDP mayors.
“Of that $11.5 million total to be distributed, we hope justice will be done with all the municipalities, because here we have worked for all communities. In our municipalities, nobody asked for the streets and neighborhoods or the affiliations of those in need to give them aid. The Rosselló administration must learn from that,” Ortiz concluded.