Page images

to $168,788.38, on behalf of 5,140 workers, were made, of which $28,571.50 were collected.

During the year the Legal Division handled a total of 83 appeals to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals from judgments of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico invalidating the Board's Mandatory Decree No. 2 providing for retroactive wage payments in the sugar industry.


The activities of the Planning Board continued to increase during the fiscal year 1944-45 due to the further development of the planning duties authorized by law, and expansion of the social, economic and physical program of the Island.

The Board received 393 proposals from Insular agencies and municipalities for public improvements. Of these, 305 projects were approved, 29 were disapproved, 26 were withdrawn by the proponents and 33 were pending on June 30, 1945.

The projects approved represent a total investment of $27,999,044.15 in capital improvements. The largest single item was for housing, with $9,012,000.00 alloted to the Puerto Rico Housing Authority for 15 projects and $1,140,800.00 to the San Juan Housing Authority for five projects. A total of 171 projects of the War Emergency Program was approved, calling for expenditures of $7,107,251.53. To the Water Resources Authority was assigned $6,733,976 for the development of the power resources of the Island.

The Second Six-Year Financial Program of the Board was presented to the Insular Legislature in February 1945. The program calle for a total outlay of $196,118,464 from the General Fund, and an additional expenditure of $31,414,500 from Insular Trust and Federal Funds. Of the amount to be derived from the General Fund, approximately 26 per cent was assigned to public enterprises designated to stimulate the Island's economy, such as the Puerto Rico Development Company, the Agricultural Company, the Land Authority and the Water Resources Authority. About 16 per cent was set aside for capital improvements including schools, health and public welfare facilities, roads and housing. Current expenditures accounted for approximately 56 per cent.

The Urban Development Division continued the work of previous years in connection with zoning regulations, an urban land-use survey, a master plan of airports, housing standards and policies, the development of design standards for Land Authority settlement projects and industrial planning for the Metropolitan Area. In September 1944, new subdivision regulations relating to zoning were put in effect. These regulations are intended to prevent the haphazard growth of towns and cities on the Island. Field work was completed for the land-use maps in 14 municipalities, bringing the total to 21.

Accomplishments of the Mapping Division were meager due to the lack of technical personnel, engineering equipment and transportation facilities for field work. However, most of the basic work necessary to fix the definite lines of major thoroughfares within the Metropolitan Area was completed during the year. Work on the Map of Territorial Boundaries was finished in 14 municipalities. Studies of transportation facilities in rural zones, which were begun in 1942–43 in cooperation with the Department of Interior, were concluded, and a report has been prepared for discussion at public hearings. Results of this research showed that while 70 per cent of the Island population is rural, only 17 per cent of the farms. are located on roads. The Report proposes an investment of $147,568,000 in road improvement and construction during the next 50 years.

The Division of Insular Industries and Services continued studies relating to the expansion of health and educational facilities on the Island. A preliminary distribution of classrooms was prepared by years and by municipalities for the purpose of determining the funds needed for school construction in the Six-Year Financial Program. Sites proposed by the Department of Education for the construction of school buildings were inspected by the Division before being submitted to the Board for approval. The Division also began the study of sites submitted by the WEP for the construction of 128 public health units.

POLICE An 11 per cent increase in crime was recorded for the fiscal year. Crimes against the person increased 21.5 per cent while property crimes decreased 1.8 per cent from last year.

The principal increases were as follows: traffic violations, 34 per cent; aggravated assaults, 32 per cent; rape, 31 per cent; negligent manslaughter, 23 per cent. Robberies declined 17 per cent.

Ninety six per cent of all known offenses were cleared, a five per cent increase over last year.

Of the 76,045 persons arrested in 1944-45, 87 per cent were from urban zones. As in preceding years, the age group most frequently represented among persons arrested was that of 20 to 24.

The problem of juvenile delinquency continued to grow in importance. A total of 1495 minors was charged as against 319 last year. Petit larceny was the most common offense, with -784 persons thus charged, while burglary was second with 354. The Police Athletic League, which was instituted in 1943 to combat juvenile delinquency, was temporarily suspended during the election campaign in 1944. Four units of the League were later reestablished, and, on June 30, had a membership of 2,300. Athletic equipment was provided by the Public Amusement and Sports Commission.

Opportunities for additional training were made available to the Insular Police during the year. Through the cooperation of the U. S. Army, several hundred guardsmen received training and refresher courses in the use of firearms. The F. B. I. sent an official representative to Puerto Rico to give instruction in the use of all police arms. Through the cooperation of the Chancellor of the University, a judo training program was instituted, and later was carried on by the Insular Police. Certificates of competence were issued to 370 men who took the course. Several conferences were held with the F. B. I. at which lectures were given and experiments were conducted on scientific detection of crime. The U. S. Army conducted a refresher course for police officials on field work in traffic control. Plans were started to train members of the police force in the United States.

The Traffic Division reported a total of 15,310 traffic violations, an increase of 2,855 from last year. Convictions totalled 6,511. There were 341 acquittals and 11,732 cases were pending trial at the end of the year.

The Detective Bureau investigated 6,476 criminal offenses and 2,319 non-criminal offenses—a total of 8,795 cases.

The Policewomen's Bureau investigated 428 complaints, cleared 407, dismissed one and reinvestigated 11 cases.

The Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation received 17,567 finger print records and sent 8,442 to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington. The Photographic Laboratory handled a total of 1,373 photographs.

Motor vehicle accidents increased from 4,053 in 1943-44 to 4,898 in 1944-45. While the number of persons killed was the same as last year, the number of injured persons increased 21 per cent.


Public interest in organized sports has been stimulated by the programs offered by the Public Amusement and Sports Commission. During the last fiscal year there was a noticeable increase both in the number of those participating in athletic events and in spectator attendance.

Baseball is one of the most popular sports on the Island. More than 7,000 boys took part in the amateur baseball competition sponsored by the Commission last year. A team representing Puerto Rico competed in the Seventh Amateur World Series held in Caracas, Venezuela. In addition, baseball equipment distributed throughout the Island was used by more than 6,000 boys in 58 municipalities.

As a result of elimination contests in amateur boxing held at Sixto Escobar Park in San Juan, champions in each of the five classes were sent to New York to enter the Golden Gloves tournament. Three of these candidates won championships (flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight) and subsequently fought in the National Boxing Tournament in Chicago, winning two national championships for Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican basketball teams played successfully in the United States, Cuba and St. Thomas, and were hosts to a visiting Mexican team. A tennis team from Santo Domingo competed here at the invitation of the Commission and toured all the military camps.

Professional sports sponsored by the Commission in 1944-45 included baseball, boxing and cockfighting. A baseball league representing Ponce, Mayagüez, Santurce and San Juan competed for the Island championship, and 248,835 persons paid $109,865.30 to see the League games. Four cockfighting contests were held instead of the usal two.

The sum of $18,477.85 was collected by the Commission during 1944-45.

PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION The number of cases filed with the Public Service Commission during the fiscal year totalled 3,052. Forty three cases were carried over from the previous year. Of the cases before the Commission, 2,982 were decided, 19 were awaiting decision on June 30, 1945, and the remaining 94 were either pending hearings or were being studied.

Valuation reports of 35 sugar mills had been submitted by the appraisal engineers at the end of the year. Ten of these reports were considered and discussed, and an advisory Committee of engineers was appointed by the Commission to study operational methods and the problem of machinery depreciation in sugar mills. Public hearings for the determination of rates were held in connection with three sugar mills, and final decision by the Commission is now pending

Plans were started during the year by the Sugar Technology Division for a Technical Laboratory for the purpose of calibrating and standardizing laboratory instruments used in sugar mills.

In the enforcement of laws and regulations relating to weights and measures, the Commission filed 1,019 complaints in court, mainly for shortweighing, defective or altered instruments and violations of the law regulating the weight of loaves of bread. The Bureau tested 113,185 weighing and measuring devices in the Island during the year.

A major improvement was effected in the telephone service of the San Juan-Santurce area with the successful installation of automatic exchanges on June 3, 1945. The cost of the conversion was $2,840,077.75.

A new type of bus was put into service on the Río Piedras-San Juan run for testing purposes. Its pay-as-you-enter turnstile and ample seating capacity made it very successful, and the Transportation Authority plans to add several more buses of this type to the fleet next year.

SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE Physical improvement in the School during the year included the installation of air-conditioning systems in the Blood Bank and in the Department of Chemistry, and the completion of a new laboratory for the Department of Hygiene. Plans for a new unit to house the Department of Hygiene were included in the Six-Year Plan of the Insular Government, and $240,000 for its construction were voted by the Legislature in 1945.

In the training field, a new course in sanitary science was offered in addition to public health nursing, medical technology and sanitary inspection. A total of 108 students was enrolled for the 19445 session, many of them on scholarships from the Insular Department of Ilealth.

In cooperation with the Army Medical Laboratory, the Department of Bacteriology continued its studies to determine the presence of hemolytic streptococci in Continental and Island troops. Studies on bacillary dysentery included investigations of the Shigella group. The incidence of murine typhus infection among the rat population of Puerto Rico is being investigated. More than 2,000 routine bacteriological and serological examinations were completed in the laboratories of the Department, of which 1,389 were for the Hospital.

« PreviousContinue »