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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Meeting called to deal with careless use of fireworks during holidays

José Taboada de Jesús, president of the Puerto Rico Police Members Association

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico Police Members Association President José J. Taboada de Jesús will convene island officials along with civic and business leaders to discuss the indiscriminate use of fireworks during the holiday season.

Taboada de Jesús said such use is dangerous and harmful to the elderly population.

“In recent years, Puerto Ricans have experienced intense and dangerous actions with the indiscriminate use of pyrotechnics or, as it is commonly known, the explosion of firecrackers and quarter sticks of dynamite,” he said.

“The island has practically become a battlefield on Christmas Day, and especially on New Year’s Eve, when millions of explosive devices are launched into the air that afflict the hearing abilities of the population,” the law enforcement leader continued. “At the Puerto Rico Police Members Association, we have worked for a whole year guiding people who have presented their intention to help resolve the use of fireworks. We hope that the members of the Puerto Rico Legislature join forces with the executive branch and the judicial branch to create a community alliance with the mayors and heads of government so that they can work on an effective plan that allows eliminating the majority of pyrotechnics that are used during the Christmas season.”

Taboada de Jesús noted that the illegal entry of fireworks into the island is a serious problem of “criminal logistics.”

“It is estimated that last year Puerto Ricans invested close to $20 million in explosive devices that were burned in less than 15 days, mostly in the minutes before the end of the year,” he said. “This illegal merchandise enters through the docks managed by the Ports Authority in containers that come from places as far away as Singapore, China, Japan and Taiwan, although explosives manufactured in India have also been identified. Very little merchandise comes on commercial flights, but contrary to other years, merchandise has been detected in sea transportation from the Dominican Republic, which enters without any inspection.”

“The use of fireworks at Christmas time, especially at the end of the year, is abusive, dangerous and, above all, it causes irreparable damage to our pets,” the police leader said. “Last year, people showed no compassion toward neighborhoods where there were elderly people, children with health problems and pets, especially dogs that lost control due to a type of indiscriminate exploding that seemed to have no end. This is the best time to start a civic-governmental alliance project that allows the government, the Legislature, the courts, federal agencies and civic entities to work together to prevent this from happening again or at least try to minimize the effect.”

Taboada de Jesús said a work meeting-workshop has been scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. at the Police Members Association Convention Center in Guaynabo’s La Muda sector, where officials from the state and federal government, mostly from the security area, have been invited, as well as leaders of commercial entities or associations.

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