Cidre: Statehood to win status referendum ‘by a landslide’
SAN JUAN – Although he affirmed he hadn’t decided which status formula he would vote for in the June 11 status plebiscite, former independent gubernatorial candidate Manuel Cidre declared Thursday that the statehood option would garner the most votes.
“In a country with $68 billion in debt, with a $42 billion retirement plan deficit, with a fiscal control board breathing down our necks, I think that at this time, if I had been governor, I would have designed a separate commission, but I wouldn’t have [involved] the central government in a plebiscitary process that, once again, if there is no doubt that the options are statehood and independence, statehood will win by a landslide. There is no doubt about that,” the also owner of Los Cidrines bakery chain told Caribbean Business during the 2017 Government Caucus organized by the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA).
Cidre added that in order to decide which status formula he will vote for, he must first consider each of their benefits and disadvantages. Therefore, he requested the government properly educate the people about the possible alternatives so they can vote conscientiously.
“As soon as I know both latitudes in depth, I won’t hesitate to tell you [which status formula he favors]. Right now, telling you I am pro-independence or pro-statehood would be neglecting my intellect,” he added.
Requests negotiation between unions and private sector
The businessman also told Caribbean Business that it is the first time he has seen so many security measures and police officers in a Government Caucus, which he believes is due to the presence of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and Fiscal Oversight & Management Board Chairman José Carrión III.
“The message this demonstration sends is there needs to be dialogue with that sector to prevent these divisions that have characterized the country for years and have caused our current inertia… When an event has the need to use maximum security, I think that is sending a message that needs to be seriously looked into,” he said.
Although Cidre believes that Rosselló’s approved laws “may contribute to the change Puerto Rico needs if they are used properly,” he encouraged the government to establish dialogue with different sectors, including the union sector, which was protesting outside the conference, to reach agreements for the island’s well-being.
“If I get on a helicopter and I see this from the sky, I will see two different countries: I see a country talking about the future, and at the same time a country protesting down there. Something is wrong,” he declared.