Gov. Vázquez Does not Want to Resort to Martial Law
Gov. Wanda Vázquez—who warned last Monday that she does not want to resort to martial law to get businesses and the private sector to respond to her order to temporarily shut down most commerce—imposed in an executive order to try to curb the contagion of the coronavirus from spreading across the island.
“We have to have citizen awareness,” Vázquez said in a radio interview with WKAQ. “I don’t want to resort to martial law. I don’t want to have to reach some determinations in which no businesses will be allowed to open. We have to be cautious. We must respect the order and all those people…we could see on the street, that the police will intervene with, and I don’t want arguments afterward.”
According to usconstitution.net, “martial law is the suspension of civil authority and the imposition of military authority.”
The governor’s expressions come amid reports that businesses and private companies were operating on Monday, even though she had issued an executive order the previous Sunday requiring establishments to close for two weeks.
“The private company that thinks first about money, about the economic benefits, [rather] than about the security of our people, will have [to face the] consequences, because I will not risk the health of the people because a person is thinking about the [financial] losses. We’re all going to have losses, but what do we prefer, economic losses that we can recover later or lose lives?” Vázquez said.
The governor warned “we can be much stricter.”
“We can take businesses ‘out of the order.’ and then they will have to close regardless of the services they offer,” she assured. “How is it possible that we have people who deliver newspapers on the streets, how is it possible that there are restaurants allowing people inside, how is possible that companies might tell employees: ‘You come [to work] or there will be retaliations?’ These people have not understood the urgency, the danger we are facing.”
“We’re going to be much stricter if people don’t respect…. We will take all the steps, whether by strengthening the executive order, patent cancellation, internal revenue license [cancellations] for those businesses that are violating the executive order,” Vázquez reiterated.
Regarding a movie being filmed in Puerto Rico, the governor said that if there are permits that allow the movie to be filmed, they will be canceled.
She said that if employers are threatening their staff by saying that retaliation measures will be imposed if they do not go to work, those workers should send an email explaining the situation to email@example.com.