Saturday, August 17, 2019

Fiscal board assures willingness to work with Puerto Rico government

By on August 9, 2019

(Screen capture of www.oversightboard.pr.gov)

Issues statement amid ongoing leadership flux

SAN JUAN – Amid the political leadership turmoil in Puerto Rico and a second governor sworn-in after Ricardo Rosselló resigned, the congressionally established Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico said it remains disposed to collaborate with the government in its stated mission to “achieve fiscal responsibility and access to the capital markets.”

In a statement Friday, the board wrote: “As we move past this difficult moment in Puerto Rico’s history and reflect on the voices of the people over the past weeks, we reiterate our willingness to work closely with the government and legislature for the benefit of the people of Puerto Rico.”

Saying that Puerto Ricans “have spoken clearly of their desire for transparency and accountability, which will require, at a minimum, an improved civil service, procurement reform, increased visibility of the tax credit, cash subsidy and incentive system, as well as improved enforcement of law,” the board said it was time for “everyone to work together.”

The board believes the focus should be on “the steps necessary for residents of the island to regain confidence in their public institutions and public servants, to ensure the efficient provision of services in the most transparent manner, and to put Puerto Rico on a path toward financial sustainability and economic growth.”

Referring to the panel’s main concern, the island’s fiscal crisis, the board added that there is “much work ahead to ensure the people of Puerto Rico benefit from the reconstruction after the hurricanes,” adding that it is “committed to these goals, in particular in areas such as education, health care and public safety, as well as restoration of economic opportunity and potential on the Island.”

“Even though the challenges ahead are great,” the board said—seemingly alluding to such issues as restructuring the island’s vast public debt and regaining the federal government’s confidence and have it continue to disburse at least the rest of the federal disaster recovery aid approved by Congress,—it added that “we all share these objectives and will be able to achieve these goals working together.”