Governor didn’t anticipate controversy over Clemente inspection sticker
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia admitted Thursday that he did not think that signing the bill that created an obligatory donation of $5 for the Roberto Clemente inspection sticker (marbete) would end up becoming a controversial issue.
“I really didn’t think this was a controversial measure, [because] it had passed unanimously in the Senate and with a substantial majority in the House,” the governor said in response to questions from the press. “And obviously, we all want to honor Roberto Clemente. And those sports facilities there in Carolina leave a lot to be desired. So, if it’s not like this, we have to look for another way to restore those facilities, because it’s the least we can do.”
The issue became a controversy this week when one of Clemente’s sons, Luis Roberto Clemente, said the family had not been consulted on the measure and that the funds were not going to the Roberto Clemente Foundation.
Proceeds front the sticker are to go to the refurbishment of the rundown Roberto Clemente Sports City in Carolina, in an effort administered by the island Department of Sport and Recreation.
Pierluisi added that he also did not take into consideration the funds that the Medical Sciences Campus of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) would no longer receive from the donation in the purchase of marbetes. Upon approval of the measure that allowed the obligatory donation in acquiring the Roberto Clemente commemorative inspection sticker, the sequence of stickers featuring UPR campuses was discontinued.
“I saw that reviewed in the media,” he said. “I didn’t take that into consideration when I signed the bill.”
The governor has no objection to changing the measure to make it clear that the $5 payment will be a donation.
“I have no objection to it being voluntary or discretionary,” Pierluisi said. “Actually, the bill that I signed passed unanimously in the Senate and with a large majority in its favor in the House. But if the Legislative Assembly wants to amend the law to make it optional or voluntary, I have no objection to that being the case. Of course, it will have an impact on the amount of funds that are going to be raised to make the improvements and what repairs can be done. But if that is the feeling of the legislators, they will have my support.”
Regarding the implementation of the electronic inspection sticker, which according to the plans will begin in July, the governor rejected that a fee of $15 be charged for it, as proposed by Rep. Ángel Matos García in his bill.
Next pandemic EO will reinforce existing measures
Also on Thursday, the governor said that the next Executive Order on COVID-19 will be issued next Thursday, and will reinforce measures already taken.
“Something positive is that we are already seeing a consistent decrease in the number of positive cases, we are seeing a consistent decrease in hospitalizations and we are also seeing a consistent decrease in the positivity rate,” Pierluisi told the press. “That’s what I wanted. We anticipated that this was what was going to happen as a result of the measures we had taken and we will continue to take measures.”
“I am going to continue issuing orders that are going to add mandates for the reinforcement, but I will be doing it gradually as I have done in the past,” he added.
Regarding changes in restrictions, Pierluisi reiterated that everything will depend on the statistics.
“But that I am going to be promoting reinforcement, take it for granted,” he said.