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NPP Challenges PDP’s Proposed Status Referendum, Sets Date

By on June 18, 2016

NPP President and gubernatorial candidate Ricardo Rosselló and resident commissioner candidate Rep. Jenniffer González

NPP President and gubernatorial candidate Ricardo Rosselló and resident commissioner candidate Rep. Jenniffer González

SAN JUAN – Wasting no time, the New Progressive Party (NPP) on Saturday picked up the “Statehood Yes or No” referendum proposal made Friday night by the leadership of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), modified it and set a date for a potential plebiscite.

NPP gubernatorial candidate Ricardo Rosselló, accompanied by the party’s legislative leadership, proposed a “statehood and independence” referendum and recommended it be held the same day as the general election, Nov. 8.

“The PDP and [gubernatorial candidate and PDP President David Bernier] have the opportunity to prove to the people that their proposed referendum does not have anything to do with other agendas and is not an excuse. They can join their votes to those of our delegation and approve the referendum bill we will be filing as soon as next Monday so the vote is held same day as the elections,” Rosselló, who is also president of the NPP, said at a press conference at party headquarters in Hato Rey.

He added that if the PDP and Bernier reject the NPP’s referendum bill, it would confirm once again that the party resorts to “confusion and deception to prolong its road toward independence.”

Rosselló reiterated his commitment to filing a bill in January in the U.S. Congress for Puerto Rico’s admission as the 51st state, along with the implementation of the Tennessee Plan, a course of actions to speed up the statehood process that includes establishing and ratifying a constitution, and selecting delegates and representatives.

He argued that a “no” vote in Bernier’s referendum must be considered as seeking independence and should therefore be legislated so.

“We won’t allow any more deceptions such as the ELA [Spanish initials for Free Associated State] that brought us here. Bernier demonstrated the representation of a PDP leadership that has no definition, is ambiguous in facing the crisis and has nothing to offer,” he said, adding that the PDP has many people who do not want to lose the relationship with the United States, thus prefer statehood to independence, “and our doors are open,” he added.

Questioning Bernier and his team’s leadership, Rosselló said the crisis Puerto Rico is going through requires leaders who take positions in time to resolve it and who unite the people.

He said the U.S. Supreme Court has just destroyed what PDP leaders have for years led the people to believe.

“Because of our colonial status, we now face a colonial board. We are at risk of losing more federal funds and not achieving parity in healthcare funds we need now. The time to act is now. Tough roads should be travelled through quickly and addressed at the root,” he said, adding that the NPP leadership is ready to pull the island out of its crisis and won’t continue to postpone the definition of the United States and Puerto Rico’s political relationship.

Regarding the PDP governing board’s proposal approval in a 19-to-nine vote, Rosselló said that party’s leadership is ideologically divided.

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