Gubernatorial candidates react to the GOP draft plan for Puerto Rico
After a draft of the Republican PROMESA bill leaked last Friday, Puerto Rico’s gubernatorial candidates jumped on the proposal to react. Here are their reactions:
New Progressive Party
“In order to obtain my support, to obtain bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and to be signed into law by the President, the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act—or PROMESA—must do two things. First, it must establish a reasonable process that encourages fair and equitable debt restructuring agreements to be reached between bond-issuing entities in Puerto Rico and their creditors, and then enables those agreements to be enforced in a court of law. Second, it must establish a reasonable oversight board that has the authority to supervise, but not to command and control, the Puerto Rico government. If these two criteria are met, the bill can become law. If they are not met, the bill will not become law. And, if a bill does not become law, Puerto Rico and its creditors will almost certainly go over a cliff—together—this summer.”
“As written, an Oversight Board under the territorial clause will mean that the Commonwealth, which has been rejected by the people, be perpetuated in its most indignant form. Any proposal for a Board has to be in the context of colaboration and treatment as a state, not a colony.”
Although he said that he understands that it is “important to have transparency, collaboration and the recognition that extending Chapter 9 of the bankruptcy code will not solve the problems of the island, any similar initiative would be a failure if the local government does not have an active role, there is no collaboration with the IRS to increase revenues, there is no establishment of measures to promote economy development, and there is not route towards statehood.”
Popular Democratic Party
“The proposal of the Republican Congress toward the fiscal crisis does not address the problem the territory faces, and is an insult to the people of Puerto Rico.
We will combat the implantation of an Oversight Board, as proposed in the federal House of Representations, on all necessary fronts. The proposal denotes bad faith and little interest in wanting to help our people. Proposing the humiliation of a people as condition to help it is worse than doing nothing.”
Puerto Rican Independence Party
“Whomever at this stage pretends to obviate or minimize that the fundamental problem is the colonial status is lacking historical honesty. Because of this, agreeing to any form of intensification of the U.S.’ control is like pretending to extinguish fire by throwing wood at it. Any initiative that seeks to save the discredited colonial ‘autonomy,’ is looking to provide artificial respiration to the territorial agony of the Commonwealth.”
Maria de Lourdes Santiago
Worker People’s Party
“They have attached poor communities, women, african-american people, and immigrants. They have promoted the destruction of the environment and obstructed the possibility of universal health insurance. Now they are going against our rights, which are limited but real. And there is no doubt that they come to impose more sacrifices on the people.”
“If we don’t begin to present real transformation option, in accordance to our actual situation, the Oversight Board will only come to address the debt issue, without addressing the real problems of Puerto Rico.”
As of publishing time, independent candidate Alexandra Lúgaro had yet to issue a specific response to the bill save for indicating her willingness to attend a summit called by Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla to address the crisis.
In essence, not a single candidate is pleased, and neither is the governor.
Predictably, some of the rhetoric espoused in response to the bill is outright hostile. The bill as currently drafted would essentially render the local government, executive and legislative branches alike, powerless, subject to the mentioned Oversight Board.
We will continue to monitor the candidates’ stances on the bill as it changes and is amended through the legislative process. That said, don’t expect significant changes. No candidate will support a bill that will render the office that they aspire to, meaningless on all financial matters.