Sunday, February 5, 2023

NPP approves its government plan at convention

By on September 11, 2016

FAJARDO, Puerto Rico –The New Progressive Party (NPP) approved Sunday a wide-ranging government plan that prioritizes government reform in healthcare and education, as well as a thorough anti-corruption plan.

During the party’s convention, candidates for elective positions, including gubernatorial candidate Ricardo Rosselló and resident commissioner hopeful Jenniffer González, signed a document in which they subject themselves to NPP-approved anti-corruption rules.

(CB / Juan J. Rivera)

(CB / Juan J. Rivera)

In his message before the convention, attended by 3,852 out of 4,185 delegates, Rosselló was categoric in his anti-corruption message. “Our public policy consists of zero tolerance to corruption,” he said, adding they will also take preventive measures to thwart it.

Regarding education, he said the reforms to the Education Department will be geared toward providing more mechanisms and resources to parents and students, and an entirely bilingual system.

Rosselló acknowledged the current challenges of hiring English teachers but assured he would try to work with universities to lower the requirements for that type of hiring.

He also said he will work with the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) to collaborate closely with the government in order to assign additional resources to the institution. He estimated those resources could amount to about $400 million.

The party’s plan for education also seeks to strengthen teaching in science and math and intensify the use of technology so parents can have real-time access to their children’s attainment.

In the Health Department, Rosselló proposed to work with health reform so it can be a right for all Puerto Ricans, and eliminate the system where money stays in the administration and isn’t reflected in more public services.

He said the health reform begun by his father, former Gov. Pedro Rosselló, has been outcast “and attacked because they don’t understand it.”

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(CB / Juan J. Rivera)

He affirmed his administration would raise the right to healthcare to a constitutional level and give patients the right to choose their provider, so if a doctor is needed “they may find one wherever, and the cost of healthcare doesn’t stay in the hands of administrators, resulting in direct benefits to patients.”

Rosselló also committed to significantly reduce medicine costs, since they have increased 800% to 1,000%.

Regarding security, the pro-statehood candidate promised to increase technology use in the government to guarantee a safer island, and boost morale in the police, providing better resources, training and wage increases.

Regarding the retirement systems, he said they will seek new money for these by creating a permanent trust.

He also announced the creation of a high-tech office, which won’t be a government agency, with “the best technological minds” to solve healthcare and security problems, “and we will invest in that,” he said.

The gubernatorial candidate said that at least 40% of government contracts will have to create local jobs, keeping money on the island.

Rosselló emphasized he will establish an effective and fiscally responsible government, and then achieve statehood for Puerto Rico. “It is a plan linked to the transition toward statehood,” he expressed about the unanimously approved program.

(CB / Juan J. Rivera)

(CB / Juan J. Rivera)

The NPP leader said the party will work on tax and permits systems that are more “in line with the people,”as well as an energy model that seeks to expand the use of renewable energy.

Significant efforts will also be made in the area of tourism in general and medical tourism in particular.

He said incentives code in which anyone who avails itself of these but doesn’t create jobs is eliminated.

He insisted his government would renegotiate the public debt, for which they have already spoken with creditors, identified public spending, and evaluated the 118 agencies to determine cuts and adjustments. In this sense, he proposed looking at other areas to make make government more efficient, achieving savings without laying off public employees, in addition to strengthening the retirement system.

He reiterated his proposal of making the government a sole employer to make it more efficient–this, in collaboration with other sectors in society that can provide cheaper and more effective services than the government. He added that his administration would work with municipalities so that they can provide more direct services.

Similarly, Rosselló proposed to work toward achieving gender equality, “because there’s no reason for a woman to earn less than a man for the same work.” Along this line, the gubernatorial candidate guaranteed to work with two vulnerable sectors: a commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer and intersex (LGBTTQI) community, preventing bullying, and an equal commitment to religious institutions, granting religious freedom. 

The NPP politician claimed his administration would put aside “religious persecution” and that he will be commit to better treatment for animals, saying that “the treatment given to animals says a lot about a society.”

In another part of his message, he said he already began working with González to negotiate with the fiscal oversight board so they know what to do in Puerto Rico.

(CB / Juan J. Rivera)

(CB / Juan J. Rivera)

“That is why we have talked with our creditors, so we may begin working immediately with the debt as soon as we start our administration…. We know what we will do and we will have a different transition. It will be a transition in which we demonstrate the world that this government can,” he said.

In this sense, he said he would reveal all information that goes through the transition committee so people know the condition in which they received the government. The same is expected to happen with appointments, which will be a transparent process, starting with trust appointments.

He commented that in the transition process, they will pass judgment on this administration’s actions, particularly during the past months to reveal the “irresponsible” and “illegal” spending.

Rosselló maintained that he will act against all officials who have acted poorly in public issues. “Let [the people] know that those who have acted illegally will be processed. Those who don’t fulfill legal requirements ‘are outta here,'” he said.

“Those who have made questionable transfers of public funds, let them know the full weight of the law will dawn on them, and Promesa doesn’t tolerate that,” he added.

Rosselló said that under his administration appointments will have to go through ethics and anti-corruption processes, and that come his first day as governor he will work on executive orders to make fundamental changes, such as establishing an entirely bilingual education system.

He said he will create groups to evaluate the strategies to address corruption and political investment problems.

(CB / Juan J. Rivera)

(CB / Juan J. Rivera)

The NPP candidate said he will go to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 2, if González wins, for the swearing-in ceremony of the island’s first “and last” female resident commissioner, because his party has an aggressive plan to achieve statehood for Puerto Rico.

His stay will last until Jan. 3 to witness the filing of a Puerto Rico statehood admission bill, and on Jan. 9 he will attend the creation of a new House and Senate that will have a clear work agenda, starting with promoting statehood.

Rosselló added that during his first days as governor he will work with the federal government to allow Puerto Rico to hire services, which would represent over 60,000 jobs.

Regarding his plan to promote the island’s statehood, stateside, particularly in Congress, Rosselló assured he doesn’t see problems with the fiscal oversight board objecting to the use of funds for those efforts and possible referendums.

He expressed that Puerto Rico has already decided it doesn’t want to be a colony and that the federal government has already assigned $2.5 million for a referendum that hasn’t been carried out.

He explained that the admission legislation to be filed would contemplate an allocation of funds, and other monies to cover the costs of people who were sent to the federal congress can be paid with Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration funds.

Both Rosselló and González said the money spent on these efforts to send five representatives and two senators to Washington to lobby for statehood is far less than what the government spends on lobbyists, “with fewer results.”

 

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