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Bernier Calls for PDP Senate Minority Caucus

By on November 11, 2016

SAN JUAN—The president of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), David Bernier, called on all the party’s elected senators to a caucus meeting Monday, November 14, at the PDP headquarters in San Juan’s Puerta de Tierra district.

Sen. Miguel Pereira

Sen. Miguel Pereira

As revealed by PDP Sen. Miguel Pereira, possible topics under discussion at the meeting include who would take over the roles of leader and alternate leader of the new PDP minority in the Senate.

Pereira, who was able to secure a seat in the next Legislative Assembly after the Minority Act was applied, said he did not know if the current Senate President, Eduardo Bhatia, is vying for the minority leader spot. He also did not discard if fellow PDP Sen. Rossana López is also interested in the position.

“In can ensure that I have no interest in that [being minority leader]. Truly, [Bhatia] would be a good candidate and there are other who would be good candidates as well. If he’s the only candidate, I’d have to support him. I would imagine so [that López would be interested], but I don’t know. I cannot say that I’m in favor of someone when I’m in a vacuum,” the legislator said during an aside with reporters after an activity in honor of Veteran’s Day at the Capitolio’s Memorial Monument.

Pereira indicated that as a legislative minority, the PDP was committed “to the Puerto Rican people, to work with the majority if possible and oppose the majority if we are against something, and that would be our task.”

On the other hand, the senator added that he will continue to push his bill to reduce penalties for the possession of 14 ounces or less of marijuana, which has currently been put on hold in the Senate.

“During the last four or five days, five states in the U.S. have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. What are we waiting for? I really don’t know what we’re waiting for. Canada legalized the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana [as well]. I am without words,” he said.

The PDP senator noted that there are an estimated 17,000 residents on the island who could benefit from the medicinal use of cannabis to treat conditions such as sclerosis, rheumatism and epilepsy.

“The cannabis plant has more fibers per ounce than cotton. What are we waiting for to develop this potential textile market?” questioned the legislator, who is pushing to transform the war against drugs with the decriminalization of marijuana.

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