NPP secretary general chides Senate president for State of the Commonwealth outburst

By John McPhaul

New Progressive Party (NPP) Secretary General Carmelo Ríos criticized Senate President José Luis Dalmau on Thursday for “disrespecting the people of Puerto Rico” by using the chamber of the House of Representatives, during Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia’s State of the Commonwealth speech Wednesday night, to make “partisan political pronouncements.”

“What we saw yesterday [Wednesday] in the chamber of the House of Representatives was a real shame. The President of the Senate, who is also the president of the Popular Democratic Party [PDP], committed an embarrassing act last night, raising his voice and shouting totally partisan political statements,” Ríos said in a written statement. “We know that my friend Dalmau is trying to consolidate his leadership within that fractured party, but that is not his style. We expected that from the Speaker of the House, not from him.”

Ríos made his statements after Dalmau, at the end of Pierluisi’s message, shouted that the commonwealth was the solution and that his delegation, “which does not have a majority in the Senate, is the one in command.”

“The Governor is to be respected. Above all, the People of Puerto Rico are to be respected and what Dalmau did yesterday was disrespect our people,” said Ríos, who is the alternate spokesman for the NPP in the Senate. “Saying that the majority rules and not acknowledging that the majority sent [a message] on November 3 to seek statehood is an unreal act that, once again, we could expect from the Speaker of the [lower] Chamber, but not from Dalmau. Our conclusion is that the PDP has split, that its leadership is in question and he had to do this to please some sectors within that party, because, again, that is not the Dalmau that we all know.”

PDP Secretary General Ramón Luis Cruz Burgos responded in a written statement of his own.

“I acknowledge the annoyance of fellow NPP legislators, because they know that in 49 seconds José Luis Dalmau dismantled a message that took three weeks to rehearse and an hour and a half to read. Last night the president of the Senate, José Luis Dalmau, made sure the Legislative Assembly would be respected using the same statements as the Governor, reminding him that according to himself he said ‘majorities are respected and in democracies, majorities rule,’” Cruz Burgos said. “In the Legislative Assembly, where the largest representation of the country is, the majority belongs to the Popular Democratic Party and must be respected, because that was the will of the people. In the same way, he [Dalmau] reminded him [Pierluisi] that 100% of federal funds for recovery come to Puerto Rico by virtue of the Commonwealth. Instead of trying to obtain funds, the NPP government should manage the [efficient distribution] of the disbursement.”

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