García Padilla Says ‘Federal Fiscal Control Board is Unacceptable’
SAN JUAN – Gov. Alejandro García Padilla said Monday he deemed unacceptable that a draft bill in the U.S. Congress, to create a financial control board on the island, substitute the local government’s powers.
At a press conference in La Fortaleza, where he addressed various issues related to the government’s fiscal crisis, the governor warned that if a “federal fiscal control board” were implemented, it could lay off employees and “would not have to answer to the people.”
“It would be a non-elected board that decides which services would be rendered. University enrollment, tolls, water and electricity bills… without having to answer [to anyone]. It is not acceptable,” he reiterated.
He added, “What that board cannot is do away with democracy in Puerto Rico. To defeat [the bill] would require amending it, and for the amendments to be approved would be more difficult.”
The governor then called on the political leadership of Puerto Rico “to make common cause. If we go separately, we will not achieve the objective.”
“In November, I decided not to run in the elections to dedicate myself to this, so it would be easier for the candidates to comprehend the common cause with [Puerto Rico] and not with my candidacy,” he said.
“The important thing is for us to be united and not divided in issues such as status, the cabotage law, and parity in Medicaid and Medicare,” he insisted.
Regarding the measures he would take, he said, “This afternoon and midday [Tuesday] we have invited the candidates for governor, sectors and representatives of professional groups because we need to take one voice to Washington.”
García Padilla said, “I wanted to be campaigning, hugging people, but I decided not to in order to to this.”
“We continue searching for mechanisms to make the May 1 payment; to date, we do not have enough to make it. To avoid a humanitarian crisis, Congress is already late,” he said.
Regarding the audited financial statements the U.S. Congress is requesting, he said, “an outside company prepares them; we have given them all the information. We hope they will be ready before the measure’s approval, which has yet to be filed.”
The governor added that the request for Puerto Rico’s audited financial statements “is a position of the creditors. Everyone knows the numbers have worsened, not improved.”
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