Puerto Rico Governor Meets with Creditors in New York
SAN JUAN — Gov. Alejandro García Padilla met on Tuesday with a group of creditors in New York to “communicate firsthand the need for Puerto Rico to reach a broad restructuring that will provide a sustainable level of public debt,” reads a release issued by the governor’s office.
The statement did not specify which creditors the governor met.
Caribbean Business learned that no negotiations took place during the meeting, which was organized by Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of more than 75 U.S. organizations, 550 faith communities and 50 Jubilee global partners that seeks to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes participation of the most vulnerable, according to its website.
“Congress could have prevented [Puerto Rico’s] May default. With even greater consequences around a July default, Congress needs to act quickly,” recently stated Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious organization, who has testified in Congress over the Puerto Rico issue. “Any solution must respect the rights of the creditors, Puerto Rico’s government and the needs of the island’s people.”
The governor emphasized that the commonwealth is “only willing to accept sustainable long-term restructuring agreements that result in economic growth for the island,” while stressing the urgency of reaching an agreement to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.
“We cannot continue with refinancing measures as proposed by some creditors and politicians. Puerto Rico cannot return to this position in the near future, thus the agreements reached must be final, sustainable and durable. The time to act is now. To continue waiting could result in even worse economic and social consequences for [Puerto Rico]. Emigration will continue and the recession could worsen, even resulting in creditors recovering a much lower percentage than projected,” García Padilla stated.
The governor reiterated that during the course of negotiations, his administration will continue giving priority to the provision of essential services to Puerto Ricans.
“Puerto Rico has continuously sat at the negotiating table with creditors, and meetings like this one demonstrate the good faith of our administration in this process. We are open to dialogue and will continue to focus all our efforts on continuing these negotiations,” the governor said.
García Padilla thanked the Archbishop of San Juan, Roberto González Nieves, who helped in coordinating Tuesday’s meeting in New York. The governor would be traveling to Washington on Wednesday to continue lobbying efforts in Congress to achieve favorable federal legislation.
According to a La Fortaleza statement, the meetings are part of the García Padilla administration’s agenda “in search of fair and equal treatment for Puerto Rico.”
During his latest visit to San Juan, U.S. Treasury Jacob Lew said on Monday there has been progress in negotiations between Treasury and the House Natural Resources Committee over the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management & Economic Stability Act (Promesa) — a bill that would establish strong, independent fiscal oversight board that would also control the commonwealth’s access to a debt-restructuring mechanism.
It is expected that a new version of Promesa will be most likely released on Wednesday, while a markup hearing could take place as soon as next week. Nevertheless, concerns remain over the proposed legislation’s passage, as it keeps struggling to achieve enough support from both sides of the aisle.