By John McPhaul
Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Secretary General Juan Dalmau Ramírez said Monday that the public has misinterpreted his silence in the wake of complaints of alleged harassment and sexual harassment in the party.
“The recent determination of the PIP to delegate to compañera María de Lourdes Santiago, vice president of the PIP, to inform the country of the actions taken so far by the party and the new actions that would be taken to address the accusations of harassment that had arrived before us and of others that we became aware of in the last few days through social networks, has been taken as silence on my part,” Dalmau Ramírez said in a written statement through his social networks. “By not commenting, some people have thought that I was avoiding expressing myself. That was not the intention, but I apologize to those who have interpreted it that way. The intention has nothing to do with what could be interpreted and I will learn from it.”
“It is critical that the PIP focus on not only continuing to respond quickly to the claims of these colleagues through an impartial investigation, but also effectively integrating the processes and protocols that the workplace and sexual harassment laws stipulate to guarantee safety for all women within the party,” he added. “I have absolute confidence in the professionalism and capacity for justice of Jessica Martínez Birriel, Yahaira Velázquez Correa and Dr. Nellie Zambrana Ortiz, members of the Special Commission that has been created. This commission now needs the space and independence to do the very delicate and important work that has been assigned to them.”
“The situation opens the space to establish a necessary dialogue and help us to learn and unlearn attitudes that help us to be fairer, more equitable and better personally, as a party and as a country,” Dalmau Ramírez said.
Last Wednesday, Santiago announced the creation of an investigative commission for allegations of workplace harassment and harassment within the ranks of the PIP.
“This commission will have the task of evaluating the facts of each case and issuing recommendations on actions to be taken in each instance,” she said. “In addition, it will be responsible for establishing guidelines and protocols that help ensure that militancy spaces are safe spaces for all.”