The rescue of the Port of Las Américas, an ambitious incentive plan to repopulate urban centers and greater oversight to stop the waste of public funds in the municipalities are among the strategies drawn up by Juan Dalmau Ramírez to boost the economic development of Ponce and the region south.
One month before the general elections, the candidate for governor for the Puerto Rican Independence Party traveled to the city to participate in the Ponce Forum, the first of a series of meetings with the candidates for office to learn about their regional proposals.
It was presented last Friday by WPAB 550 AM and La Perla del Sur, and held at MedCentro facilities in Ponce.
“This is not about an aspirational sketch or a press release. I don’t think Puerto Rico is in moments for improvisation or leaps into the void. What we need is a road map ”, Dalmau Ramírez pointed out from the start on his“ Patria Nueva ”platform.
In his presentation, Dalmau Ramírez emphasized the need to regionalize the economic development of the country. In the case of Ponce, it was vital to rescue Rafael Cordero Santiago Port of Las Américas from oblivion, as well as to maximize the use of the Mercedita Airport.
“The Transshipment Port is fundamental for the economic development of the area and neither the private interests of the shipping companies (in the Port of San Juan) nor those of the lobby can prevail over that. The lobbying that has been carried out has prevented the establishment of a common front for the elimination of cabotage laws, ”he said.
Meanwhile, the senator proposed the construction of solar farms and solar energy panel production factories on land adjacent to the Port of Las Américas and at the facilities of the defunct CORCO.
Dalmau Ramírez also emphasized the need to offer specific subsidies for the acquisition of housing in urban centers, in conjunction with subsidies for businesses, as a mechanism to repopulate the historic centers of cities.
“In the past, Ponce aspired to have housing projects, but they were high-cost. There are young people who, although they work and have an income, the cost of these houses was not accessible and they have been moving to neighboring areas, ”he said.
Regrets loss of another pharmacist
On the other hand, he mentioned the announced closure of the Roche pharmaceutical company in Ponce – and the eventual loss of over 200 jobs – as an example of the recent neglect to promote and retain industries in the area.
“It cries before the eyes of these families and of all of us as a society, that both the Central Government and the mayor of Ponce raised their hands alleging ignorance of that corporate determination. That is unacceptable ”, he sentenced.
“If there is not continuous communication with the companies that are operating in Puerto Rico and create jobs, and we are not competitive to retain them, then we are not operating within a framework of economic development,” he continued.
Eye to spending and municipal finances
On the other hand, Dalmau Ramírez highlighted the importance of resuming the task of supervising the use of public funds in the municipalities, as a measure to stop the collapse of their finances and the regional economy.
“Ponce has been in deficit for 14 years and has an extraordinary debt, but what is most striking is how the levels of expenses and hiring continue, resulting in the reduction of working hours for the employees of the municipality of Ponce. Those are not healthy administrative practices ”, he criticized.
Given this, he proposed submitting municipal contracting and budgets to the evaluation of external entities, outside the governmental and political structure, to tackle the practice of over-estimating income and budgets with deficits.
“As long as regulatory entities such as Government Ethics and the Comptroller’s Office do not have their own authority to go to court, this will continue to pass through the politicized filter of the Department of Justice and the result is impunity,” he argued.
Likewise, he denounced the waste of millions of dollars in propaganda, image campaigns and advertising, as another factor that has contributed to the deflection of finances in municipalities like Ponce.
“We have to talk about the leakage of public funds with respect to the projections, the promises and the advertising policy of the models. Here they are crazy teaching project models ”, he said. “It is necessary to prohibit such advertising paid for with public funds for private campaign purposes.”
“I am terrified by the announcements that are being made about FEMA funds and about Hurricane Maria that is coming now. The amount of corporations that are being created, because they anticipate that the times of fat cows are coming, is scandalous ”, he concluded.
The second Ponce Forum will be held this Friday, October 9, with the participation of the candidate for the Popular Democratic Party, Carlos Delgado Altieri. It will be broadcast live on LaPerlaPR’s Facebook Live, starting at 10:00 in the morning and will be broadcast on Saturday, starting at 9:00 in the morning, on WPAB 550 Radio Analysis.