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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker arrested in protest says Guayanilla residents will sue to stop tower construction

Popular Democratic Party Rep. José Rivera Madera

By The Star Staff

Popular Democratic Party Rep. José “Cheíto” Rivera Madera said Wednesday that residents of the Indios neighborhood in Guayanilla will insist in the courts on obtaining a cease and desist order against telecommunications company Elite Towers.

The lawmaker was arrested early Wednesday as part of a protest to prevent the construction of the telecommunication tower. Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael Hernández Montañez issued a statement supporting the lawmaker.

As indicated by Rivera Madera, for two weeks the community has been trying to stop the construction undertaken by Elite Towers after the argument was raised, based on documents from the Permit Management Office, that the structure violates certain parameters such as the granting of a categorical exclusion on protected rural land.

Rivera Madera said the Guayanilla municipal government has already requested the cease and desist order and he has requested to be an intervener in the case.

The lawmaker said he was called at 3 a.m. and told that there were cement trucks on site ready to start construction.

“I go there and ask Lieutenant Irizarry, I think his name was, if they had special permits to work at that time,” Rivera Madera said minutes after being released from police headquarters in Peñuelas. “From what is clear from the construction permit that I have, it does not say that they are going to work outside of normal business hours.”

Reportedly the officer told him that the company did not have such a permit.

“They kept working and I stood behind one of the trucks,” Rivera Madera said. “He told me that he had to arrest me if I stopped there and he ended up arresting me.”

Rivera Madera maintained that he is waiting to be summoned given the possibility that he is charged with a crime.

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