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Puerto Rico: Turnover of Roosevelt Roads would be boon for island, investor says
The San Juan Star | Wednesday, July 31, 2002 | JOSE ALVARADO VEGA

Posted on 07/31/2002 6:04:38 AM PDT by 4Freedom

The conversion of Roosevelt Roads Naval Base into a super seaport for excursion boats and cruise ships of every size could transform Puerto Rico into the hub of nautical tourism in the Caribbean, a local investor said Tuesday.

"A way to guarantee that Puerto Rico will play a leading role in the future of tourism in the Caribbean is to...[have] the facilities at Roosevelt Roads Base turned over to us, along with Vieques," said Luis M. Corujo, president of Grupo Financiero Corujo investment company and a yacht aficionado.

Corujo testified during a hearing held Tuesday by the House Tourism Committee, chaired by Rep. Sylvia Corujo.

He noted that Navy officials have said that if the bombing range in Vieques is closed, the Navy's presence in Roosevelt Roads would be pointless.

Addressing fears concerning economic losses resulting from the base's closing, Corujo said that the Navy base at Subic Bay in the Philippines was successfully turned into a technological center and free trade port employing some 200,000 people after it was turned over to the Philippine government in 1991.

"Roosevelt Roads employs 2,500 people and only 500 of these are Puerto Ricans," he said. "Turning the base into a tourism and technological center has the potential of creating 100,000 jobs."

However, Rep. Jose Aponte Hernandez said after Ramey Air Base and Navy lands in Culebra were turned over to the Puerto Rico government, there were no great benefits to nearby residents. On the contrary, he said, developers have bought lands in Culebra, leaving its residents isolated.

Corujo said the base has the capacity to receive the latest in air nd sea transportation, including 600-passenger Airbus A-300XX planes and 140,000-ton Eagle ships, opening Puerto Rico to markets in Europe and Asia.

The base, he said, has three of the longest airstrips in the Caribbean, which may handle future growth in passenger traffic that may surpass capacity at Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.

A Navy spokesman said that the base has only one airstrip that is 11,000 feet long, but would not say how it compares to other airstrips in the Caribbean. He said the base's harbor can hold some 20 ships at a time.

"With access to these lands, there would be a tourism belt running from Coco Beach's Hotel Melia in Rio Grande to Palmas Del Mar in Humacao," Corujo said.

The House Tourism Committee is studying alternatives for boosting Puerto Rico's nautical tourism sector, which involves excursions by sailboats, yachts and motorboats to neighboring islands, keys and reefs, where visitors practice fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling.

Nautical Tourism is the leading tourism sector in the Eastern Caribbean, particularly in the British Islands.

Corujo's proposal would incorporate Roosevelt Roads into plans to turn the island's east coast, including Vieques and Culebra, into a center of nautical tourism in the Caribbean.

This will enable the island to compete with destinations such as the Bahamas, which is visited by more than 100,000 excursion vessels annually, Corujo said. The visits represent the same number of room nights for local hotels, he noted.

Corujo also proposed tax incentives to local and offshore companies that operate and lease boats for group outings. He suggested eliminating the 6.6 percent excise tax on vessels dedicated to nautical tourism.

During the hearing, Daniel W. Shelley, president of Marina and Boatyard Association of Puerto Rico, proposed an investment tax credit similar to that offered to condo-hotels for a period of five years to boost bareboat charter boats.

Excursion boat operators interviewed by The STAR agreed on the need to revise the Puerto Rico Tourism Act of 1994 to include small operator's vessels or their operations.

As the Puerto Rico Tourism Act of 1994 is today, tax incentives for the development of local tourism are offered to hotels, paradores, restaurants, marinas, land tour operators and theme park operators such as water parks, said Jaynne McLaughlin, president of Marine Transportation Partners, Inc. "But [the act] did not include marine excursion operators, deep sea fishing boats, and boats taking people out to snorkel and scuba dive," he said.

Land tour operators do not pay excise taxes on their buses, and marinas do not pay taxes on their equipment, McLaughlin said.

"It is important that we [small-boat operators] get some sort of relief to be able to keep up with other neighboring islands offering such activities," said Mclaughlin.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 000acres; 11; billions; corruption; graft; ininfrastructure; navalbase; owned; pandering; ustaxpayer
"A way to guarantee that Puerto Rico will play a leading role in the future of tourism in the Caribbean is to...[have] the facilities at Roosevelt Roads Base turned over to us, along with Vieques," said Luis M. Corujo, president of Grupo Financiero Corujo investment company and a yacht aficionado.

Corujo testified during a hearing held Tuesday by the House Tourism Committee, chaired by Rep. Sylvia Corujo.

Gee, I'm sure glad Bush is in the White House. He'd never agree to just give away 11,000 acres at Roosevelt Roads, 24,000 acres on Vieques and Billions of dollar$ of infrastructure all owned by the U.S. Taxpayers.

He wouldn't betray the U.S. Taxpayers and our military like that for a few hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions for him and Jeb Bush and the promise of a few extra Puerto Rican votes.

Phew, what a relief. Imagine how fast we'd say bye-bye to all of this U.S. Taxpayer owned property, if there was a gutless, panderer in the White House.

LOL!

1 posted on 07/31/2002 6:04:38 AM PDT by 4Freedom
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To: 4Freedom
Ah, so !

Now we get to the nitty-gritty of things : the heavily publicized protests against the Navy's use of its own land on Vieques may well have been subsidized by developers who want access to all that turf !

2 posted on 07/31/2002 6:32:14 AM PDT by genefromjersey
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To: genefromjersey
Surely you don't think that the fact all the property
being discussed just happens to be oceanfront areas
where casinos, golf courses, hotels,mansions could
be built is more of a concern than everyday citizens
welfare and national security matters?
3 posted on 07/31/2002 6:51:56 AM PDT by dwilli
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To: dwilli
Very enlightening. At least we know a couple of developer's priorities are very suspect. Fun before defense is hard to sell to the rest of America.
4 posted on 07/31/2002 7:09:39 AM PDT by meenie
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To: 4Freedom
As a former Navy man, I fondly remember the non-stop cruises we made to Rosy Roads, enroute to Caribbean ops. Whether or not to give up RR is a good idea is up for debate, but it sure was a lot of fun--the warm sun, turquoise water, and you ould get half gallons of Bacardi rum for about $3. There was a great bar called the "Lighthouse" about a mile outside of the gates. Any other sailors who have some good experiences in RR?
5 posted on 07/31/2002 7:14:42 AM PDT by Lou L
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To: 4Freedom
I say we give Poerto Rico to Cuba as a good will gesture.
6 posted on 07/31/2002 7:17:24 AM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: Lou L
How I remember old San Juan, the Chicago club,etc.
possible to fall in love every night. The quality
of the bar girls back in the seventies was the best
in the world.
7 posted on 07/31/2002 7:35:50 AM PDT by dwilli
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To: 4Freedom
Hey, let them have it. Let's pull out of there and release them from their current status as a commonwealth.

Screw 'em, we don't need 'em.

Oh, and by the way, I hope they spend a whole lot of money there and on Vieques because once Cuba opens up those people won't make a frigging cracker on their piece-of-sh*t island.

Strong message to follow.

8 posted on 07/31/2002 12:38:31 PM PDT by paddles
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To: genefromjersey
There's no "may well haves" about it.

The developers are the ones that gave the protesters all of the lumber and other building materials to construct their compounds on Vieques.

There's an article about the $500 million they want the U.S. Taxpayers to cough up for a bridge from the area of Roosevelt Roads to Vieques.

The U.S. Congress couldn't have made their intentions any clearer on the subject of what's going to happen to the land when the Navy leaves.

They told the politicians in Puerto Rico that the land is going to be a wildlife refuge under the Dept. of Conservation.

So they're just going to find a way for squatters to over-run the place.

If the Navy can't keep the trespassers out, how's a Park Ranger going to do it?
9 posted on 07/31/2002 2:30:00 PM PDT by 4Freedom
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To: meenie; dwilli
They don't give a damn about the U.S. Taxpayers or the U.S. military in Puerto Rico.

If our soldiers die in 'friendly-fire' accidents on the battlefield, because they weren't allowed to practice on Vieques, so what! They don't care. It's all about the money.

OPM's, Other People's Money.

The politicians in Puerto Rico wake up every morning with the sole purpose of finding something else that they can steal from us that day.

Every single, major, proposal in Puerto Rico revolves around taking more of our property and our money for nothing of value in return.

They want everything, FREE.
10 posted on 07/31/2002 2:44:47 PM PDT by 4Freedom
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To: paddles; Born to Conserve
I don't mind pulling out of Puerto Rico, but we sell everything we own to the highest bidder.

This crap of giving away another 35,000 acres and billion$ in U.S. Taxpayer owned infrastructure is insane.

We can't have a taxcut, because we need to make another gift to the ingrates in Puerto Rico?
11 posted on 07/31/2002 2:50:48 PM PDT by 4Freedom
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To: dwilli; Lou L
There are still alot of beautiful women there and some interesting nightlife, but it's like playing Russian Roulette with only one empty chamber.

The AIDs diagnosis rate is higher than anywhere in the United States. It rivals South Africa.

They've caught a few Psychos with AIDs that have gone on a rampage spreading the disease.

There was a guy arrested last week posing as a gynecologist that raped, at least, 12 girls ages 4 to 14 and the police aren't sure how many adults or young boys, yet.

They just want to spread the misery.

The night spots in Puerto Rico are probably more deadly to our servicemen and women than any battlefield they might see.
12 posted on 07/31/2002 3:05:10 PM PDT by 4Freedom
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To: Lou L
Whether or not to give up RR is a good idea is up for debate,

I have no first hand familiarity with Puerto Rico or RR.
And while I am equally uncertain of the strategic necessity of RR, I am suspicious of developers interests in acquiring naval property.OTOH, I do believe that there is more that the government could do to facilitate development of the Puerto Rican economy.
This primarily involves less flamboyant development of sound infrastructure: water supply/sewage treatment, electric power supply, transportation, etc. As a small island economy, any of these issues that may be inadequate should be readily addressable, desalination for fresh water for instance. Similarly, Puerto Rico would be an ideal location to wean from dependency on fossil fuels, perhaps a combination of nuclear solar and windmill power sources. And a modern electricly powered mass-transportation system such as light-rail would be beneficial for residents and tourists alike. The island is somewhat small to utilize major highway development such as we have on the mainland.

And to promote tourism: Dubya and Congress should use the influence they have over Major League Baseball to locate a major league franchise and new stadium in San Juan.

Having grown up in Pittsburgh, watching Roberto Clemente as one of my childhood idols/role models, I am especially fond of my suggestion of a major league club for San Juan.

13 posted on 07/31/2002 3:16:53 PM PDT by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
These are some nice sentiments and it's nice to see your hearts in the right place, but why would we want to sink any more U.S. Taxpayer's hard-earned dollars into an island that doesn't want us there?

Part of the problem is there are an enormous number of U.S.Taxpayers that have no idea how much we already have spent in Puerto Rico and continue to spend there, every year.

Here are some examples:

The U.S. Taxpayers have shelled out $2 BILLION DOLLAR$ for an 18-mile-long electric urban train for the San Juan Metropolitan Area that will begin operation in 10/2003. They'll call it the 'Tren Urbano'.

The U.S. Taxpayers have paved over 14,000 miles of roads, super highways and tollroads in Puerto Rico.

I guarantee that they're everything the U.S. Department of Highways and Transportation builds everywhere else in the United States.

The EPA has funded BILLION$ of dollars of water and sewer projects around the island.

We maintain 16 National Parks on the islands.

We have 17 military facilities there and a VA Hospital.

The U.S. Post Office loses mllions in Puerto Rico delivering their mail, because they charge the same rate as if the packages were being delivered in the continental United States.

We've built them 12 airports. I'm not sure how many dams and bridges, but it's alot.

FEMA gave them $2 BILLION after hurricane George and $1 BILLION after Hortense.

We give them $13.5 to $16 BILLION for Medicare, Social Security, Student Loans and Foodstamps.

The DEA, FBI, Federal Courts, U.S. Marshalls, IRS, HUD, FEMA, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and every other alphabet soup of Federal government organizations you can name spend millions and millions more and employ thousands and thousands on the island.

I believe that nuclear power in Puerto Rico would be more of a danger to the USA than North Korea, Iran and Irag having it.

We have actual States, that don't threaten to throw our military out every day, that need this money. And you know what? Those States deserve it more, because their citizens pay income, sales and property tax.

There are still children that go to bed hungry every night in the USA.

That begs the questions, just what in the hell are we doing in Puerto Rico and why???

14 posted on 07/31/2002 4:11:30 PM PDT by 4Freedom
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To: 4Freedom
Now you know what Puerto Rico Libre stands for !
15 posted on 07/31/2002 4:25:39 PM PDT by genefromjersey
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To: genefromjersey
Yeah, they know how to liberate us from our money and property.
16 posted on 07/31/2002 4:33:33 PM PDT by 4Freedom
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To: 4Freedom
The U.S. Taxpayers have shelled out $2 BILLION DOLLAR$ for an 18-mile-long electric urban train for the San Juan Metropolitan Area that will begin operation in 10/2003. They'll call it the 'Tren Urbano'.

Great news! I'll have to look up details on that, but modern, efficient mass-transportation will certainly be beneficial to Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Taxpayers have paved over 14,000 miles of roads, super highways and tollroads in Puerto Rico.

Not true, Puerto Rico only has 14,400 km of roads TOTAL. (Source) That's "kilometers", not "miles". A kilometer is only 0.6 of a mile, so Puerto Rico only has 8640 miles of roads.

IMHO, it is a similar exageration to claim that the U.S. Government pays for all the roads. Puerto Rico DOES have it's own local government and sources of revenue. Don't know why you'd exagerate and suggest that the federal government pays for everything, but I think you are.

That begs the questions, just what in the hell are we doing in Puerto Rico and why???

Sheeesh! For all the "facts" you've come up with as to what we supposedly spend, you have no idea of the historical relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States?

Do a little more research on the Web, my friend. That info isn't hard to find.

17 posted on 07/31/2002 4:39:20 PM PDT by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
You're right about the roads. In my haste I typed miles, when it's kilometers.

You say we don't pay for everything? Our politicians colluded with their politicians to create windfall tax profit programs like Section 936 and I believe it was called 926 before that. The latest incarnation that they're trying to pass is called Section 956.

Every American company that invests in Puerto Rico like Coke, Pepsi, various pharmaceuticals, etc. avoids paying as much as $350,000 in federal tax for each employee they have in Puerto Rico.

If most of their money either comes directly from us, or indirectly from companies that are avoiding paying those taxes to us, or from the salaries paid to employees of all of our federal agencies and these companies that should have kept those jobs at home, then what I said is true. Isn't it?

I've written more here about the USA's historical relationship with Puerto Rico than most.

What does that have to do with the absurdity of a tiny island, that could choose to declare it's independence from us any day and keep the benefit of all those billion$ of U.S. Taxpayers dollars, receiving more money directly from the United States than 26 other real states.

Every U.S. Taxpayer benefits from what every state receives. It helps them grow and their citizens to prosper and maybe pay more taxes in the future.

How do any of us Taxpayers benefit from the BILLION$ we squander in Puerto Rico when they can just keep it and leave?

Tell me.

You don't think that the "historically" stronger bonds between the 50 States demand that these BILLION$ be spent in these States?

18 posted on 07/31/2002 5:20:12 PM PDT by 4Freedom
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To: 4Freedom
Every American company that invests in Puerto Rico like Coke, Pepsi, various pharmaceuticals, etc. avoids paying as much as $350,000 in federal tax for each employee they have in Puerto Rico.

But that money doesn't go to Puerto Rico, it goes to Wall Street.
I certainly agree that, compared to the mainland, it is an inequity, however, it is one that eminates from Wall Street / Congress's plantation attitude toward Puerto Rico (and the Democraps willingness to go-along with the game to extend their welfare state.)

The fact remains, Puerto Ricans ARE American citizens.
As such, they are undeserving of the 2nd class status foisted upon them by Congress.
At the very least, we should assure that they have top-notch infrastructure that's suitable for their island economy.
Should they eventually choose independent status, which is their right, we would have at least fulfilled our moral obligation of establishing an infrastructure upon which they can survive and (hopefully) flourish.

19 posted on 07/31/2002 5:44:31 PM PDT by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
Willie, I can't believe what my eyes are reading. Plantation??? LOL! We should all live on a plantation where you're handed GAZILLION$ OF DOLLAR$ and all the rights and privileges of American citizenship for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

We have a "moral obligation" to provide them with a top-notch infrastructure? [At some poor State's expense, like Mississippi???]

You're missing an opportunity in stand-up comedy. I'd pay good money to laugh like this, Willie.

Seriously, the American companies benefit when they repatriate their profits at a 90% tax savings. But, and this is a really big but, Puerto Rico benefits more.

Do you think they don't pay tax in Puerto Rico?

These companies buy property and build factories in Puerto Rico. [Profit and tax to PR]

Puerto Rican construction companies do the construction and they use Puerto Rican cement, too. [Jobs and taxes to PR]

These companies then start manufacturing in Puerto Rico. [More jobs and employee income tax and corporate tax paid to PR]

These companies are charged more for electrical, phone and other services, so the costs to the average Puerto Rican are reduced.

These companies have to give twice the holidays that they would in the U.S., provide health insurance and Christmas bonus is mandatory!

Even with the taxes being stolen out of our pockets some of these companies go bankrupt, because they're being gouged in Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Taxpayers lose twice on this pandering.

Do you see it, yet?

20 posted on 07/31/2002 6:33:37 PM PDT by 4Freedom
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To: 4Freedom
Do you see it, yet?

The companies that invest in Puerto Rico are not so naive to pursue a federal tax incentive only to be gouged by "the nasty Puerto Rican thieves".

What an absurd contention.

21 posted on 07/31/2002 6:41:23 PM PDT by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
The greedy, ungrateful politicians from Puerto Rico craft a tax incentive plan along with their cronies in the Democrat Party that doesn't benefit Puerto Rico? Now, that's beyond absurd.

Where do you think Puerto Rico gets the taxes they collect, if they're not a portion HI-JACKED from the taxes that should have been paid to the USA by these companies?

You're too much, Willie.

Don't go to Puerto Rico. They'll sell you a bridge or maybe a Tren Urbano.

LOL!

22 posted on 07/31/2002 6:56:54 PM PDT by 4Freedom
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To: paddles
well
I am currently in the navy right now in PR and I would have to tell you that in my opinion I think you are right let them be on their own remove their status as a commonwealth and let them see how they like not having us to look to for financial aid. The entire Puerto Rican attitude that I've noticed since being here has been one of laziness. They only have pride in being lazy and doing as little as possible to not get fired. I have never seen a region with such notoriously bad customer service (i.e. your problems are not their problems so why should I work hard to help you) but I digress, I would like to see how long it would take , once freed, for puerto rico to start begging to become a state or property of the US again if they were freed.
let me know what you think
23 posted on 05/20/2003 7:34:35 AM PDT by mddlchldofhstry (I needed to vent)
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