On the allegations related to the protest on May 1, Héctor Pesquera said “the one who is getting involved here, in specific areas that do not belong to him, is the advisor of technical compliance”, Arnaldo Claudio
The government of Puerto Rico is preparing to reject the last report of the federal monitor and everything points to it could do so by attaching documentary evidence to demonstrate to Judge Gustavo Gelpí that technical advisor Arnaldo Claudio has maintained a presumed pattern of undue interference with officials, legislators and agents, in violation of the provisions of the Federal Court as part of the agreement for the Reform of the Police.
Although he did not want to go into details about the responses to the accusations made in that last report, which covers the period from June 10 to December 9, 2017, the secretary of the Department of Public Security (DSP), Héctor Pesquera , He defended himself against the allegations and made clear his disagreement with Claudio.
“Here there has been an undue interference (by Claudio) in the operations of the Police, violating the agreement … He has even threatened and has given instructions to police officers. That is documented, it is not invented. When the time comes, the evidence will be presented … All this is unacceptable, it is outside the agreement and it is a complete aberration to its functions, “Pesquera said.
In an in-depth interview with El Nuevo Día , the head of the DSP not only spoke about the report and launched serious accusations against Claudio , butcalled for a drop in the overall statistics of the crime, although the number of murders has skyrocketed. He said he was satisfied with his performance and played down the vision of the society that sees him radiating arrogance. He did not admit that he failed to compile the deaths as a result of the hurricane and acknowledged that his plan to integrate the seven agencies under his umbrella is behind schedule, but as part of the sequels of Maria’s passage.
The federal monitor’s report concludes that Pesquera violated the law by allegedly giving orders during the May 1, 2017 demonstration against theFiscal Oversight Board without having been formally endorsed by the Senate , which the DSP conflides with the reform of the Police and that there are problems with the chain of command, among others.
Pesquera denied everything, although he said he could not go deeply into each of the findings. The governor’s advisor, Alfonso Orona, will present the riposte before Gelpi.
What of the agreements to implement the reform are already at least halfway?
-There are many, there are several …
Does it say that progress has been made, at a slow, steady or fast pace?
-That is actively running with some metrics and some times of validity … I am sure, based on the comments made by the technical adviser, that if that had been the case I would have been in the press.
I feel a bit of cynicism in their expressions …
-None. It is a truth.
How is your communication with the federal monitor?
-I have had very little communication with him.
Do you think that is healthy?
-Before answering whether it is healthy or not, there is a person in charge of the Police …
But you are in the lead …
– Yes, but the agreement is very clear and specific, and I participated in that. I am not intervening in the daily operations of the Police … when it is necessary to take something that has to do with public policy, yes … I communicated with the Orona counselor and with the Department of Justice, and they they communicate at the court level with the parties.
Is not your direct communication with the monitor crucial, because we are talking about a reform of the Police, which is the head of the commissioner, who was involved in the negotiations to reach an agreement and that the administration has extolled the ties with the federal government?
-The agreement is valid, where there is a discrepancy in the participation of the technical advisor who has an interference in things that do not concern him.
Is it enough for the monitor to communicate directly with the Commissioner of the Police?
-No, if you need to communicate with me he has my personal telephone number … I am 100% accessible.
Claudio alleges that he is regularly excluded from discussions on the implementation of Law 20, is that true?
-The agreement says that the technical compliance advisor can not make any kind of unilateral action with public officials … There are documented facts where he (Claudio), directly, in violation of the instructions of the Court, put himself in communication with the legislators (who worked with Law 20). It was a violation of the agreement and the judge’s instructions.
Are you revealing that Claudio violated the provisions of the Court and the original agreement?
-Undoubtedly. Documented, with evidence.
Did you give the evidence to Gelpi?
-In a given moment, so that you see the interference of the technical compliance advisor in activities that do not concern you, both parties, government and Justice (federal) brought the concern to the Court, that this person was doing things that do not they competed or had interference.
When did they do it?
-In 2015, it is also documented … The honorable judge Gelpí gave specific instructions so that he would not do it. We have documents that clearly indicate that it violated the agreement by going to representatives and legislators, to expose their position on Law 20. It is unacceptable, a violation of the agreement.
Claudio has maintained a pattern of undue interference?
-Absolutely, from the beginning and it has been maintained.
How is he still in office?
-I can not answer it. In due time, the government of Puerto Rico will present the situation before the honorable court … It is documented, I have the evidence.
Will you ask for a monitor change?
-That area I do not want to touch it. It’s up to the governor’s advisor and the Justice Department.
But would you recommend it?
-I do not want to go into the detail.
They are very serious complaints …
-Well, serious, that’s how we understand it.
I see him indignant …
-It is that here it is being made to see that one is the one that is in an undue meddling and it is the other way around, I can document it. Even in the situations in which he alleges that I gave specific instructions at the May 1 event, I have documentation, not gossip, where the officers say otherwise. In due time, they will be presented in the corresponding forum.
Does the DSP affect the agreement, as the report claims?
-It’s a bit ridiculous position.
The monitor says that the chain of command affects the reform …
-What is the crisis? That is the perception of the crisis …
It creates an environment of distrust and demoralization, it is not clear who is in charge there …
-That is clear in the law. The one who does not follow the law or the agreement is he, who gives instructions to the police, who can not give them.
The report says that he gave orders without having the endorsement of the Senate, why did he do it?
-We are starting from the wrong premise. The compliance advisor says that I gave orders … those cops who claim that I gave orders to document it. That is one of the areas that I do not want to go into details because you have to present it to the court.
What did you do that day?
-I was not there at the beginning, but in Guaynabo. They called me, as an advisor to the governor, that it was a function I had, and they told me to come back, that there was a problem. I went and saw what was going on, I asked, I made comments. There was the legal advisor (Orona) with me. There were certain things that happened, but no orders.
Did he give orders to remove the protesters from the airport?
-How am I going to say that? Protesters are not removed unless there is a violation of law. They have rights for the Constitution … I did not give instructions.
-No, but I can give suggestions.
Did your suggestions go directly to the police?
– In none of the activities where I made any kind of comment was outside the superintendent at that time. He was always with me.
In syn- thesis did you not intervene or give instructions that day?
-But I made comments … I was not giving orders
When Pesquera takes the baton of his defense he does it with strength and security.There is a sector of the country that applauds it, but there are others who believe that its projection is of colossal arrogance. If he is sure of something, he does not think to change. That is him, period.
There is a sector of the country that thinks that you radiate arrogance, are you arrogant?
-I did not come here to earn popularity, I came to do a job. If people do not like the way I communicate, I’m sorry. I will not change for any kind of pressure and less for political pressures.
And do you think they are purely political comments, not ordinary citizens?
-No, there must be citizens who consider it. But you know what? I’m sorry … That’s how I operate and if you do not like it, I’m very sorry.
The accumulation of murders in just two months keeps Pesquera on the public wall, but he insists that when you look at the whole scenario, the reality is that crime has dropped by 19.8%. The number of violent deaths has risen to 130, 27 more than in 2017.
It’s not one or two, it’s 27 murders more than last year, what do those figures tell you?
– Worried and we are taking care of it, but when we see the global statistics, crimes on the person are 21% less and crimes on the property, 19% less. We have 19.8% less in the totality of crimes, but the murders are more 27. I am aware, I am not justifying it.
What has been failed?
-These are individual issues of the people who commit the murders, there is no direct correlation … when there were less 21 last year there was no: “Oh, that’s good!” He ignored … This goes up and down. You can not say how we failed.
What is your plan? The rise in murders is a fact.
-It is a fact…
And people see it, it feels insecure. I imagine he has done an analysis of those murders. What is that plan?
-We have areas in which we know that they have shot more than in previous years, but the correlation between events to say that we fail does not exist. In a case like Comerío’s, who fails? It is impossible to predict that.
I understand that, but tell me, what is the analysis and the plan?
-The majority are for drugs, firearms, on the roads, on weekends. What are we doing? We are collecting criminal intelligence islandwide, target areas and go against individuals who understand that are possibly responsible … there is no place in the world where one type of crime is fired, that the next day the problem is corrected.
What happens is that not two days have passed, we are talking about the accumulation of cases in two months. What is your plan? Which regions should they reinforce?
-San Juan, Carolina and Ponce are the three regions where we have seen that has risen compared to last year. But we go back: there are more 27 and everyone claims that there is a crisis, but when there was less 21 nobody said: “That’s good”. There, is the difference.
But there is no crisis?
– I do not see that there is crisis … there is a concern.
Five months after the hurricane, can you admit that you were wrong in collecting data on the deaths from the hurricane?
Pesquera insisted that without evidence you could not add cases to the list of deaths and welcomed him to the study that will make the University of George Washington, which will cost the government about $ 1.4 million. The official figure remains at 64 deaths.
In the eight months at the head of the DSP, his greatest achievement, he said, has been to “explain” to the commissioners of the seven agencies that make up the umbrella that governs the public policy of Governor Ricardo Rosselló, the approach to the best use of resources and the efficiencies.
The consolidation is delayed and the great stumbling block in that calendar was María. It is a complex and difficult process, he stressed, and he hopes to have it oiled before the end of 2018. The projected savings will be more than $ 28 million.
What is the most complex?
-The complexity of joining the agencies, of mixing the bank accounts, of the personnel, which are different scales, that have different functions, of the contracts, of looking for the way to make the efficiencies … how to standardize the procedures of the contracts, where to take the headquarters … everything was paralyzed by the hurricanes.
At what stage is the process of merging the seven agencies?
-Not finished, no, we need the headquarters … The first agencies should be the smallest, to go little by little adding the others.
When does the complete merger plan to be ready?
-You have to be ready this year, at some point, without fail.
Once you have that complete administrative process, would there be staff movement?
-We can not take someone from another staff and suddenly turn them into policemen. What we can do, and we are already working, is to remove all the police who are doing administrative work and replace them based on the Single Employer.
How many are the policemen who are in administrative areas?
-Almost 900, very many.
Was the problem of absenteeism already controlled?
-That was resolved. What is there is 20 or 30 island level, normal.
How many barracks are still not working?
-It is not so much those that are not working, but those that are working in conditions that are not correct … I anticipate that in the study of needs, are the barracks, which can be eliminated and, say, regionalized. Have a barracks that serves an area where three or four are not necessary because the staff does not justify.
What should be improved?
– I need the headquarters to integrate the first agency. We are working hard.
Do you think that people are satisfied with their performance?
-From what I see on the street, yes.
Why should we continue to pay him a salary of $ 248,500?
-It is the salary that I need to survive … they invested in a person with knowledge, credibility, skills to work with the state, federal and municipal system. That is the reason.
Are the results you have so far worth that investment?
-I work 16, 18 hours … I understand that yes.