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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Present, former gov’t officials, private sector react to arrest of ex-governor

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi

By John McPhaul

Present and former government officials, along with members of the private sector, expressed indignation at the arrest Thursday morning of former Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced on corruption charges.

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia reacted by saying that “once again we see that no one is above the law.”

“Faced with this news that certainly affects and ravages the trust of our people, I reiterate that in my administration we will continue to have a common front with the federal authorities against anyone who commits an improper act, wherever it comes from and whoever it implicates, as well as promoting initiatives and following up on the bills that I have presented to combat corruption,” the governor said. “We all have to be united against this social evil and under my administration, there is zero tolerance for corruption.”

In a written statement, former Gov. Luis Fortuño described the arrest of the former governor for bribery as “shameful.”

“It is shameful that two former governors have already been charged with corruption by federal authorities,” he said. “Corruption has no party or ideology and must be eradicated from our blessed island. We Puerto Ricans deserve no less.”

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón stated meanwhile that: “The accusation of any public official is a despicable event that damages the people’s trust in its institutions and surprises and hurts even more if the accused held the highest government position on the island.”

“It is frustrating and disappointing that ‘public servants’ abuse their positions to favor people who are willing to pay,” she added. “That is exactly the definition of political investment, using fraud schemes in campaign financing. As the director of the public integrity division of the federal Department of Justice said, the alleged corporate corruption and corruption of elected officials is not foreign to Puerto Rico and is a trend in the states; however, this act of bribery and corruption in which public officials left morality and good judgment behind does not cease to create anger and indignation.”

The Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (CCPR by its Spanish initials) expressed dismay at the most recent accusation.

“This type of news should dismay us all because of the impact it has on the image of our country before the eyes of the world and at the federal level. Corruption, be it governmental, or of another nature is an obstacle that harms economic development and harms the investment climate in Puerto Rico,” CCPR President Cameron McKenzie said. “As a country, we must restore confidence in our institutions and clean up public service. As the oldest guild representing the commercial and business sector of the country, in the Chamber of Commerce we urge companies to operate with the highest standards of ethics and professionalism at all times, to facilitate our economic growth with transparency and integrity.”

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