Senator Demands Dismissal of Puerto Rico Public Safety Secretary
SAN JUAN — Amid a crime wave that has swept across Puerto Rico since the beginning of the year, Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Juan Dalmau demanded Thursday, via a resolution, the dismissal of Public Safety Secretary Héctor Pesquera.
Dalmau claims the secretary of the recently created department has made public “conveniently selected statistics,” in reference to data Pesquera presented Wednesday during a press conference at which he assured criminality in Puerto Rico has decreased.
“Mr. Pesquera has recently made public expressions that disdain the great concern that the island’s people feel and some colleagues of this body have expressed regarding the issue of the absence of public safety and protection amid increased crime in Puerto Rico,” the pro-independence senator said.
With Senate Resolution 648, Dalmau aims for the upper chamber to revoke its trust in Pesquera, and requests Gov. Ricardo Rosselló relieve Pesquera from his position, to which he was confirmed by the Senate in May.
To this statement, Dalmau added that Pesquera’s remarks, in which he claimed to feel safe, “is easy [to say] when one has a police escort 24 hours [a day], seven days a week,” and criticized the secretary for justifying that his salary of more than $258,000 is the amount “he needs to survive.”
The PIP’s spokesman reiterated his opposition to Pesquera’s designation as the head of the department that groups all security-related agencies, and the creation of the Public Safety Department itself. He also mentioned his intention to question Pesquera to clarify the statistics on deaths caused by Hurricane Maria.
“The time now is not for voting in favor or against the nomination, nor to favor or not the Public Safety Office, nor to question or not. It is time to demand,” the minority senator stressed. “The same pattern of protecting officials who are failing the country and do not comply with their most fundamental of obligationscontinues.”
Pesquera on Wednesday defended results of the “anticrime plan” and said that in its first 31 days, 209 arrests were made. This year, there have been 135 reported homicides–27 more than the same date last year. Reports of sexual assault, car theft and burglary have also increased.