Puerto Rico private sector endorses Pierluisi as gov
CofC, retailers, contractors and manufacturers await court ruling
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico private sector representatives expressed approval Tuesday for Pedro Pierluisi to remain as governor. Making reference to the events that have unfolded during the past few weeks, private sector leaders met with Pierluisi in the morning at the La Fortaleza governor’s mansion and later spoke with reporters, saying they have the “expectation that the issue will be resolved soon.”
Four days after Pierluisi took over the governor’s office, he faces lawsuits by the Senate and Municipality of San Juan, whose heads question the legitimacy of his having been sworn in without full legislative confirmation.
“We are all grateful that in Puerto Rico we have a person in front of Puerto Rico that held on and took a step forward and dared to allow for Puerto Rico to continue moving forward, and that has continued supporting the economy,” United Retailers Association (CUD by its Spanish acronym) President Jorge Arguelles said.
The retailers’ association chief said that among the topics discussed in the meeting with Pierluisi were the inventory tax and “existing concerns regarding the federal fund process, which has also been interrupted.”
Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce President José Ledesma, meanwhile, noted that the business organization expects “this situation is resolved as soon as possible to give continuity to the government functions and retake economic development initiatives.”
Ledesma added: “We have seen sales drop in all sectors and we have the governor’s commitment that he will give continuity to this…. We want a person who has the temperament and the credibility to give continuity to the efforts in Washington, D.C., in healthcare, nutritional assistance, restructuring funds areas, among others. We will be monitoring this very closely but we hope that this situation will be resolved.”
The CofC president stressed that the private sector’s main concern is that the island’s economy is not permanently affected.
For his part, the president of the Associated General Contractors of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Adams, stressed that thousands of construction jobs have been put on hold given the suspension of projects.
“It’s time to turn the page,” said the chairman of the Puerto Rico Builders Association, Emilio Colón. “We are going to move on,” he assured. “There is a pressing need to rebuild Puerto Rico.”
Puerto Rico Retailers Association President Iván Báez, meanwhile, said the “country needs stability,” adding, “We know this in the hands of the Supreme Court and we hope for a prompt solution.”
Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association President Carlos Rodríguez appreciated the time set aside by Pierluisi to speak with private sector leaders, saying the effort sought to “eliminate this uncertainty.”
On Monday, Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court expedited a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to order that Pierluisi cease and desist from his function as sworn-in governor. The top court was also examining arguments on whether an amendment to Act 7 of 1952 was unconstitutional.
Pierluisi was sworn-in as governor Friday a few hours after receiving the House of Representatives’ consent for his appointment as secretary of State with the 26 votes needed. The former two-term resident commissioner was nominated by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to succeed him before he resigned Aug. 2.