This information was taken from a press release of the CPRDV.
May 12, 2009
VIEQUENSES ASK THE NAVY NOT TO HIDE THE TRUTH BY USING A “SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY” DEFENSE
The Committee for the Rescue and Development of Vieques (CRDV) called on the U.S. Navy not to hide the truth about its actions, its violations of laws and regulations, and its harm to the health of the people of Vieques by using the so-called “sovereign immunity” defense in the pending lawsuit by several thousand affected Viequenses against the Navy. The Navy has until this coming Monday May 18 to answer the complaint -currently pending in the federal district court in Puerto Rico- and may attempt to avoid having the court hear the case on the merits by claiming “sovereign immunity”.
Nilda Medina, spokesperson for the CRDV, stated: “‘Sovereign Immunity’ is an antiquated legal defense that basically says that the state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution. In essence, the defense says that ‘The King can do no wrong’. For decades the Navy acted with impunity in Vieques, using the people of Vieques as guinea pigs for their toxics and chemicals, ranging from napalm to depleted uranium. But it must allow for the whole truth to come out and not shield its actions behind this defense. What does the Navy have to to hide? Why can’t they own up to what they did and accept responsibility for their actions in Vieques?”
Medina added that the people of Vieques are hopeful that President Obama will keep his pledge to address the health crisis in Vieques, and to do so now. She also stated that, based on the recent congressional report and hearings further discrediting the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)’s public health assessments on Vieques, and the various independent studies showing a clear link between the Navy’s activities in Vieques and the health crisis among Viequenses, it would be highly irresponsible for the U.S. Government to not allow further discovery in the pending case. “The people of Vieques have a right to learn the whole truth about the Navy’s actions in Vieques and the damage done to its people. The Navy should not hide this truth by using a ‘sovereign immunity’ defense'”, Medina stated.
Contact: Robert Rabin, CRDV: 787-375-0525
COMMITTEE FOR THE RESCUE AND DEVELOPMENT OF VIEQUES
P.O. BOX 1424 VIEQUES, PUERTO RICO 00765
Tel. (787) 375-0525 Fax (787) 741-8787