OTR Interviews

Is Aruba Boycott Gaining Traction?

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," November 10, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: The boycott of Aruba may be catching on.

Earlier this week, the governor of Alabama called for a nationwide boycott, hoping it would force investigators to move on the Natalee Holloway case. Now two city councilmen are urging residents of Philadelphia to join in. Those councilmen join us now. Live in Philadelphia are Juan Ramos and Jack Kelly. Welcome to both of you.

JUAN RAMOS, PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCILMAN: Thank you, Greta.

JACK KELLY, PHILADELPHIA CITY COUNCILMAN: Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, first, Juan, have been involved a little bit in this sort of missing persons a little bit longer before Natalee Holloway. What's your attraction to this story?

RAMOS: Well, I got involved in the search for Latoyia Figueroa. And thanks to FOX News and the people of Philadelphia and the family, we found her. We found her tragically murdered by her boyfriend, who's now been accused of two counts of murder because she was five months pregnant.

That Saturday, I sponsored a missing person awareness conference in Philadelphia, and there Beth Holloway Twitty was one of our speakers, as well as Melvin Figueroa, the father of Latoyia Figueroa. And Beth told us that she was going to be taking an action and she would need our support. At the conference, there were 18 new families in Philadelphia who had missing loved ones, and we were all very enthusiastic about supporting the search for Natalee. And we had a very painful conference because it was all about, you know, people who cannot find their loved ones.

VAN SUSTEREN: Jack, today it came before the city council, this request for the people of Philadelphia to boycott Aruba. What happened?

KELLY: Well, I think that what we wanted to do — and Juan and I both spoke about this before — that what we wanted to do is, basically, to bring some light and to bring some support to the Holloway and Twitty families. They've been in this for too long and have been by themselves. I think that what the governor of Alabama did was the right decision. I think it's the right way to go.

We have to put some pressure on the Aruban government to do the right thing, to include the Holloway and Twitty families into this investigation, to work with them, to work with the federal authorities that we have in this country. And so far, that's all they've been doing, they've been just procrastinating and they've been stonewalling this investigation for too long.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Jack, how many people are on city council, and how many votes did you have today?

KELLY: Well, we didn't actually put it to a vote today. There are some council people probably had some questions about it, and they asked us to hold it for at least a week or so, until they could really study it. They weren't familiar with the issue.

VAN SUSTEREN: Jack, how many have you got on this council?

KELLY: There's 17 members. Well, 16 now.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. How many out of that 16 do you have to have vote for this, in order to have this pass?

KELLY: Nine.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nine. All right...

KELLY: We have to have nine.

VAN SUSTEREN: Juan, how many have you got?

RAMOS: Well, today, I was very confident that we had — because there were some absentees, probably needed just eight votes. However, we decided to hold up on calling for a vote on the resolution. This is a non-binding resolution, but it gave us the opportunity to bring up the case of missing people and this particular case, Natalee Holloway, and we entered into a very good discussion, debate on the floor of city council.

And we believe that this issue of missing people, missing American people, is an issue that more Americans should get involved in. And I have gotten involved in it, so has Jack, and we want to make sure that if you are thinking about going to Aruba, don't go to Aruba. Go somewhere else, maybe Puerto Rico.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Jack, we have less than a minute left. The governor of Alabama has asked the people of Alabama to support the boycott. Have you gone to the governor of Pennsylvania and asked the governor of Pennsylvania to support this boycott?

KELLY: No, not really. We were going to wait until this resolution was passed before we took that step.

RAMOS: Greta, in the resolution, we are calling on the governor.

KELLY: We're calling on the governor. That's included in the resolution itself is calling on the governor to follow the footsteps of the governor of Alabama and to call a boycott. And I think it's about time we do because I myself am a parent, and I think I would have reservations of sending my child to Aruba with what's been going on there.

VAN SUSTEREN: I've got to quickly move on, but let me ask a quick question, Juan, to you. When will the vote be on this boycott in the Philadelphia city council?

RAMOS: We heard the Aruban government was calling Philadelphia today to see what had happened in city council. The Aruban government has a window of opportunity to make right what has been wronged there and bring closure to the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. Hopefully, this will happen sooner than later.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So I guess we don't have a specific date. But thank you, gentlemen, both.

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