QCOSTARICA – On Monday night, the Municipal Council of the Central Canton of the Province of Puntarenas declared President Carlos Alvarado “persona non grata” for having vetoed the shrimp trawler law approved by Congress.
“We motioned for a firm agreement for lying to the people of Puntarenas by indicating that he was going to be respectful of what the Constitutional Court and the Legislative Assembly decided on the bill “Law for the sustainable use of the fishing of shrimp in Costa Rica”, creating false expectations about the reactivation of shrimp fishing, Mr. Carlos Andrés Alvarado Quesada, President of the Republic 2018 – 2022, is declared as an unwelcome person for the central canton of the province of Puntarenas,” reads the municipal document.
“We presented the motion to declare Carlos unwelcome for failing to keep his word to Puntarenas and vetoing legislative decree No. 9909 corresponding to the Law for the Sustainable Use of Shrimp Fishing in Costa Rica,” the motion adds.
The motion was approved unanimously by standing up and with a show of council members of the Partido Liberación Nacional (PLN), Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC), Partido Integración Nacional (PIN), Partido Republicano Social Cristiano (PRSC), Partido Nueva República (PNR) and of the local group Unión de Puntarenenses Emprendedores (UPE).
The municipal councilors affirm that Alvarado, made the commitment, creating false expectations about the reactivation of that activity, during a visit to the canton on September 30, in El Roble de Puntarenas, where the president promised to find an environmental balance between employment and trawling.
In his speech, Alvarado indicated that his government was waiting to know the vote issued by Sala IV (Constitutional Court) regarding the text that, to that date, had only been approved in the first debate by Congress, in November 2019.
Last July, the Constitutional Court determined that the bill “does not contain constitutional defects of a substantial procedural or substantive nature.”
But the vote didn’t reach the Legislative Assembly floor until October, where it was finally approved in the second debate, two weeks ago.
In the September 30 visit, Alvarado said: “Once it is presented, we will await the decision (the vote) by the Legislative Assembly. It is important to say that our priority with this is more jobs, particularly for women, for fishermen and that there is a balance with the environment”.
The president, in his justification, said that an investigation by the Costa Rican Institute of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Incopesca), which excludes a higher percentage of accompanying fauna in trawling, is insufficient, but considers it an advance to discuss the sustainability of technique.
The bill returned on Monday to the Legislative Assembly, where legislators can accept the veto and file it away (‘archivarlo’ in Spanish) or refile it, which would imply approving it again, but this time with at least 38 (of the 57) votes and not by a simple majority, and then send it to the Executive Branch to be published as law.
Back to the Punaternas municipal council, despite declaring the president ‘non grato’, the same councilors unanimously approved another motion that demands that the government complete scientific studies on this fishing.
Likewise, they urge the president to be “consistent” and to ban “immediately all shrimp imports from Nicaragua, Honduras, and other countries whose shrimp fisheries do not have environmental sustainability certification by international certifiers”.