By John McPhaul
Luis Roberto Clemente, son of the late Puerto Rican baseball star Roberto Clemente Walker, reiterated on Tuesday that the Clemente Foundation has nothing to do with the inspection sticker, or ‘marbete,’ and the commemorative license plate marking the Hall of Fame slugger’s 3,000th hit, which will cost $5 and $30 per donation, respectively.
According to House Joint Resolutions 83 and 84, the collections for the obligatory donation are for the Roberto Clemente Sports District, a planned entity that is intended to take ownership of the land in Carolina from the Foundation. The law creating the District has not been approved at this time.
“There had always been talk of the so-called District, and yesterday I heard the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Public Works say that the funds are for the Foundation,” Clemente said in a radio interview (Radio Isla 1320). “I say, wow, what happened here? Because now the whole world is going to jump all over us. I started receiving emails yesterday that this was unfair, and we have nothing to do with it.”
The author of the bill enabling the commemorative marbete and license plate, the spokesman for the Popular Democratic Party majority in the House, Ángel Matos García, said he made clear from the beginning that the funds to be collected for the Roberto Clemente “Hit 3000” commemorative license plate will not pass into the hands of the Sports City (Ciudad Deportiva) or the Clemente family.
“When in March 2021 I filed the bill for the Clemente commemorative marbete, it was clearly reported through a communication, with a copy of the bill and in all radio, press and television interviews, that it would cost $5 only for the year 2022,” Matos García said in a written statement. “When in August 2022 the resolution became law, through a press release and with a copy of the law when it was signed, it was again communicated that there was a charge of $5. When the final art to be used was announced in December 2021, the press gave clear coverage of the cost related to it, so the controversy that arises from this matter takes us by surprise.”
Matos García said the vote in the lower chamber was unanimous on the part all the parties represented, and the goal is clear: to rescue Ciudad Deportiva Roberto Clemente, and for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the “Hit 3000,” Ciudad Deportiva will be in the hands of the island Recreation and Sports Department.
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia weighed in on the controversy later on Tuesday, saying the money will go to the Recreation and Sports Department for the renovation of Roberto Clemente Sports City, to be administered by the department.