From today, thousands of truckers have closed their vehicles as a pressure mechanism for the Supervisory and Financial Management Board (FOMB) to authorize the regulations of the Bureau of Transport and Other Public Services (NTSP, Spanish initials) , which include tariff adjustments for freight transportation in Puerto Rico.
However, last night, the main legal adviser of the FOMB, Jaime A. El Koury, sent a letter in which they announced that after an analysis, they had come to the conclusion that the examination carried out by the NTSP did not does not comply with “legal parameters” and the certified tax plan.
In this way, the transport of essential goods around the island has been halted, and according to the announcement, the only transport that truckers will allow will be to access hospitals and health services. Truckers have been fighting for months to get the fares approved by the NTSP.
Víctor Rodríguez, coordinator of the Broad Front of Truckers, said the strike continues and that they will stop transporting food, gasoline and other essential items until the Supervisory Board gives in to their demands. “Well, tomorrow (today) the permanent assembly will begin. Everyone is calling us and the services are going to stop all over the island, ”he said in a phone call with THE WEEKLY NEWSPAPER.
Truckers are expected to hold a press conference today at 10:00 a.m. on Kennedy Avenue in San Juan to explain the next steps.
“There we are going to set up tents and things there, but we told people to leave the trucks at their homes and in the workshops so that there is no possibility of heavy traffic and so that there is no possibility of heavy traffic. not disturb people. We have already agreed with the police and asked them to call the secretary of the Ministry of Justice (Domingo Emanuelli) to coordinate the transport of drugs and diesel to hospitals and whatever hospitals need ”Said Rodríguez.
The proposal represents an additional $ 45 million per year for households and businesses
“The rest will unfortunately not come out. The gasoline transport will also apparently stop to avoid problems. They also have a fee claim that we got for them. Things are looking very good and advice from administration is worried, ”he added.
Rodríguez said they were not considering postponing the strike and would give way to the standing assembly that was announced by truckers on July 14. The new pricing system would protect over 40,000 NTSP licensees. “The board needs to be truthful and has no jurisdiction over trucker rates because the rates are approved and the government stands up for them,” he said.
He asserted that “everything that happens in Puerto Rico from tomorrow is the fault of the Council”.
Tariffs ‘Non-compliant’ With the Tax Plan
El Koury sent a letter to NTSP chairman Jaime La Fuente in which he said the tariff revision is not in line with the approved tax plan. “The Supervisory Board considers that the adoption of the proposed regulation is not in line with the budgetary plan. Specifically, it appears that the process used by the NTSP did not comply with the requirements of the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act (LPAU), ”the letter said.
Counsel has listed a series of instances in which the regulations, in his opinion, are inconsistent with the LPAU and tax-wise. “Because the proposed regulation is not tax-compliant, the council cannot approve its implementation at this time, especially with regard to private contracts,” he said.
In addition, he indicated that work could be done on the next tax plan which allows to comply with the proposed regulation, including the appropriate increase in tariffs which excludes private contracts.
Carlos Rodríguez, another spokesperson for the truck drivers’ front, reiterated that the Council has no influence on the pricing system. “We are private entities that provide a service that works with a pricing system that is there to ensure a fair balance,” he said.
For his part, the NTSP chairman was taken aback by the letter from the FOMB’s legal adviser and said he learned of the decision on a TV show he attended last night.
“At the moment, all I can say is that I haven’t seen the letter. I don’t know what our position will be until we see the letter and analyze it. Likewise, we need to see the options we have and take a direction, ”he said, adding that he would request a meeting with the FOMB.