The uncertain future of the Department of Public Security (DSP) as an umbrella agency that houses six security and emergency negotiations raises doubts about the confirmation in the Senate of the designated secretary Alexis Torres, who for more than a week has begun to visit some senators to make yourself known.
Legislative sources of THE SPOKESMAN They indicated, separately, that in the Senate there are objections with the position that Torres is preparing to occupy, which has nothing to do with his person or his credentials. They affirmed that the doubts are due to the fact that the future of the agency, which was created in 2017, has not been defined and more changes are expected, as anticipated by Governor Pedro Pierluisi.
The chief executive has said that he is inclined to remove the Special Investigations Bureau (NIE) from the DSP and would also consider restoring independence to the Emergency Management and Disaster Administration Bureau (Nmead).
In the Chamber, the popular legislator Ramón Luis Cruz presented Bill 295 to repeal the law that created the DSP.
In written statements to this medium, Torres confirmed that in the last two weeks he has managed to meet with the president of the Senate, José Luis Dalmau and the vice president of that body, Marially González. Also with the spokesmen of the New Progressive Party (PNP) in the Senate, Thomas Rivera Schatz and Carmelo Ríos, as well as with Senator Gregorio Matías.
“We have asked all of us for the opportunity to meet this server, and to be able to work on a transformation plan for the DSP. We are all working as a team to be able to provide security and well-being to citizens, and that is our end, ”said the designated secretary of the DSP.
It is an open secret in the Senate that Torres may not be confirmed due to dissatisfaction with the role of the umbrella agency he will lead. In fact, the president of the Public Safety Commission, the new progressive Henry Neumann, stated that his greatest concern is that Torres would occupy a position whose days “may be numbered.”
“I see little future for the DSP and I am of the opinion that if all the safety components are not included in the umbrella, the umbrella is ineffective because the reason for a safety umbrella is that there is common communication between them”, he pointed.
“Not only do they have the threat that components will continue to be removed from the umbrella, but you also have the real and overwhelming threat of a project presented and supported by the majorities to eliminate it altogether. So when we talk about the appointment of Alexis Torres, we have before us a highly capable person, but my concern is that he will be in a position that his days may be numbered, “he added.
Neumann said he would meet with Torres on Capitol Hill today. He argued that very few people in the Legislature endorse the DSP umbrella because the people who have run it never understood the department’s purpose.
“There is a question mark related to the appointment (of Torres) because there is a question mark with the security umbrella. There are some doubts and they are not because of him, because I have seen his credentials. My concern is not with the figure, it is that perhaps he is a trained person, but that at the end of the road he does not have something to direct, “he added.
The PNP caucus of senators has not yet discussed Torres’ appointment or the DSP umbrella issue, Neumann said. “I know that there are colleagues (from the PNP) who do not believe in the umbrella and others who have not given it thought. Of those who support the permanence of the umbrella there are not many … “, added the legislator.
Meets with the Vice President of the Senate
For her part, the vice president of the Senate received Torres’ visit yesterday, but did not advance her criteria on the appointment and permanence of the DSP umbrella, although she explained that she will evaluate all groups that seek to continue separating agencies.
“I just started to attend to the different nominees and exactly about this person I did not have much knowledge,” said González.
He expressed that they had “a very pleasant conversation in the sense that (Torres) was willing to listen to the recommendations and in the same way I was able to listen to his entire work background.”
He noted that his message to the nominee was to prevent the processes from becoming more bureaucratic and not to absorb the functions of the municipal emergency management offices.
“We know that there are groups that want to get out of the DSP because of the bureaucracy and because it takes away their function a little, but we know that there are agencies that must work in an integrated manner,” said the popular senator.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the majority of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) in the Senate, Javier Aponte Dalmau, expressed that the nominee would be given the corresponding procedure in the Appointments Commission and that at this time there is no position in La Pava regarding to “dismantle the DSP.”
“At this time we are not in a position to start the evaluation of the nominees because, first, we are in a week in which the commissions are establishing their regulations to begin on Thursday (tomorrow) with a calendar in a more organized manner,” he said.
Aponte Dalmau opined, however, that DSP’s umbrella is “disproportionate” in emergencies. “Here people have been managing emergencies who do not have the capacity and training to deal with the emergency. I understand that the Nmead must be removed from that umbrella, as happened with the Institute of Forensic Sciences (ICF), because it is inoperative, but I cannot speak in collective terms. As a senator I am in favor of this umbrella being limited to police and firefighters because you have some entities there that absorb more budget than others, “he said.
Is it feasible for the Senate to confirm the secretary’s appointment amid the uncertainty about the DSP? He was asked.
“That will have to be recommended by the chairman of the Senate Public Safety Commission (Neumann) because he can make recommendations. I do not want to anticipate things that have not happened, but there is no established policy of the PDP delegation towards those effects. One thing is what I propose as a senator and another is what is discussed at the level of the body, “he replied.
According to Aponte Dalmau, the PPD delegation has not yet discussed the appointment of Torres, who was appointed as secretary of the DSP on December 17. “Going into details of what is going to be done in relation to the evaluations of the nominees, at this moment it is something that we are not contemplating for at least the next two weeks,” he said.
THE SPOKESMAN Yesterday, he requested an expression from the president of the Senate on Torres’ evaluation and if there are any objections to the figure of the secretary of the DSP, but at the end of this edition no response was received.
Dalmau is expected to meet with Governor Pierluisi in La Fortaleza soon.