Council Members Accuse Council President of Chairing Meeting Under the Influence of Alcohol

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There were moments that were shameful, chaotic and even unbelievable at times during the Nicoya Municipal Council session held on Monday, April 27th.

Juan Luis Aguirre Vidaurre, who normally presides over the sessions with sobriety, firm command and responsibility, was unfocused, in a hurry, smiling more than he normally does, sweating profusely and at times was even out of it.

The problems began after Aguirre complained twice about the participation of some members of the council in an activity organized by the Rural Development Institute (INDER- Instituto de Desarrollo Rural) in the Casa de la Cultura on April 24th, which he described as a political activity and said he decided not to attend because he was not invited.

“There are some who want to overthrow the representation of Nicoya. I want them to know that those who went to this activity were not representing this council, but went on a personal basis,” Aguirre said.

In reply, council member Rodolfo Orozco explained to the president that anyone could attend that activity, and that in reality he was just hurt because he had not attended and because apparently a relative of Aguirre was not elected on one of the ballots during that meeting.

Then Aguirre reminded the council members on two more occasions about when he was elected as president of the council in May of 2014 and the lack of respect that several of the councilors had toward him.

At that time, most of the council members and syndics got up and left the session and the election continued with the participation of only council members Ana Lizeth Espinoza, Ovidio Jimenez and Carlos Medina.

“I am here due to my own vote, that of Ana Lizeth Espinoza and that of Carlos Medina. My struggle is not against flesh and blood but against wicked spirits,” Aguirre commented.

However, the moment of greatest tension occurred when Bonifacio Diaz, syndic of Samara, asked for the floor to refer to one of the issues in question. Aguirre denied him the floor twice, claiming that he had no say in this matter.

Then, while council member Juan Edwin Yockchen gave his report, Aguirre stood up and left the session hall, turning off the room’s lights for a moment without realizing it.

Aguirre finally returned to the session hall and while Mario Ondoy, substitute council member, explained to the president that the activity organized by INDER was public and that any Nicoyan could participate, Aguirre interrupted him and said to him, “you are legalistic,” after which he closed the session.

Once the session was over, The Voice of Guanacaste tried to get the comments of the majority of the council members about the conduct of the president of the council. The majority agreed that he was under the influence of alcohol.

Adriana Rodriguez, vice mayor, said, “I honestly don’t know, because I couldn’t smell [alcohol] but his behavior was strange.”

Bonifacio Diaz commented, “It’s clear that he was under the influence of liquor. He is not like that. I think his attitude was strange because he has never behaved like that.”

Ana Lizeth Espinoza remarked, “He was normal. I didn’t perceive any alcoholic smell or anything like that.”

Rodolfo Orozco said, “Unfortunately I think today the president has failed. The council was disrespected today by the municipal presidency. I did not understand what state he arrived in. I think he was not aware of what he was saying. Maybe he had a few drinks too many.”

Carlos Medina said, “He did speak quite loudly, not like normal, but I do not think he was under the influence of liquor.”

Juan Edwin Yockchen commented, “I feel very ashamed of what has happened. This is now the last straw. There is no scientific proof that he was drunk, but from seeing him, it was clear from the gestures he made, the way he was speaking, he was in some kind of trance, under the influence of liquor, there is no doubt. What he did today in the council is grim.”

Finally, Yockchen indicated that he will file a complaint with the Comptroller General’s Office to conduct an investigation regarding Aguirre’s behavior.