Toa Baja mayor says he’s considered quitting the NPP
By John McPhaul
Toa Baja Mayor Bernardo “Betito” Márquez García said on Monday that he is frustrated with the New Progressive Party (NPP) and that he has considered quitting the party.
Márquez García said his annoyance has to do with the way in which the party has handled the search for statehood for Puerto Rico, the cases of corruption in which several mayors have been arrested by federal authorities, and the general situation that the island faces.
“I can’t blame the whole thing on the institution, but I have to be honest with you and say I’ve considered disaffiliating,” the mayor said in a radio interview (NotiUno).
“I have considered running independently and let the people decide, period,” he added. “I joined the New Progressive Party as an instrument that allows us to achieve what statehood is, which is what I believe is the best for Puerto Rico, but over time it is one thing and another. I was in the Legislature for eight years; I’m going for eight years in the mayor’s office.”
However, the mayor insisted that he has not made a final decision on the matter.
“With well articulated planning, with the country’s agenda, with an agenda to eliminate the colony, well, we have to agree on how we are going to do it,” he said. “And there is extraordinary talent in the New Progressive Party. What happens is that, again, the element of power is also blinding and that is where we have to work.”
In the mayor’s opinion, the model of representative democracy should be changed to one of participatory democracy, in which citizens intervene directly in the approval of public policy, in order to achieve points of convergence.
“And people are going to say: ‘I don’t get involved in politics,’ because if you don’t get involved in politics, politics gets into your house, because that’s what it has been throughout time every day,” Márquez García said.
NPP Secretary General Carmelo Ríos Santiago said Monday that he will try to persuade the Toa Baja mayor to remain in the party.
“I’m going to call him today,” he said in a separate radio interview. “I will call him as a friend, as the secretary general and the district senator. If there is something more that we can do …”