Mayor Criticizes Failure to Respond to Possible HP Plant Closure
Roldán says some 150 of his town’s workers will need assistance
SAN JUAN — The mayor of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Julio Roldán Concepción, criticized the island’s government for not informing him of the closing of the Hewlett-Packard plant in his municipality, although the company has not officially confirmed the closure.
Roldán said the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC by its Spanish initials) should have known beforehand of the closing to coordinate efforts with the municipal government to assist around 150 employees, mostly Aguadilla residents who work in the plant.
“What we want as mayors is to have direct communication with the government without being concerned with political ideology,” the mayor said during an interview with Caribbean Business.
Roldán pointed out that the municipality received more than $1 million in municipal patents during the last fiscal year from HP, one of the leading employers in Aguadilla.
The mayor presides over the Board of Mayors of the Northwest Consortium, a regional entity that promotes investment for the region. He said all the mayors of the group are coordinating efforts to help the employees.
The company will start a phaseout program that will begin in November and extend through May next year, Roldán said.
Meanwhile, Economic Development Secretary Manuel Cidre Miranda said his agency activated the support and guidance services of the State Unit for Displaced Workers and Employers of the Labor Development Program to provide services to the employees impacted by HP’s departure. He made the announcement after reports of the phaseout were posted on social media.
“We are very sorry that HP decided to relocate its operations,” Cidre said in a press release.