Puerto Rico Statistics Institute’s Marazzi resigns
SAN JUAN – The suspended executive director of the Puerto Rico Statistics Institute (PRIS), Mario Marazzi Santiago, said Monday he has resigned, effective immediately.
“I have made the determination to separate myself from public service and start working with several private clients interested in my services. Out of respect for the clients, for the moment, I will not be announcing who they are. In due time, they can make the corresponding announcements if they wish,” Marazzi said in a statement.
“I take this opportunity to say that these are private for-profit entities, which the Institute of Statistics has never regulated, nor has it ever adjudicated any matter related to them, nor done business with them. This will also allow me to be totally detached from public matters and focused on addressing the custody issues of my only son, while I spend time with my family and loved ones,” he added.
At the end of 2018, the suspended director had requested time from his position at the institute while he addressed a personal situation, a legal process that has not concluded.
“In violation of a judicial gag order and against my will, the details of this matter were shared in the media. Although I was asked to react, I did not do so out of respect for the judicial processes. My silence led to a lot of additional speculation against me, which until now I have not been able to answer because the gag order is still in effect. Meanwhile, as the confidentiality of this matter was violated, my health began to deteriorate,” he said.
“In mid-January, my doctor authorized me to return to work, which I did on January 21, 2019. At that time, although I had read the newspaper reports, I had not received any formal notification from the illegal Board about their interest to dismiss me,” he added.
Marazzi Santiago had filed a lawsuit alleging the illegality of the composition of the institute’s board, alleging that co-defendants Manuel Laboy Rivera, Harry Santiago Pérez and Álex López Echegaray, do not comply with the legal and regulatory requirements needed to serve as directors.
On several occasions, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares insisted that Marazzi Santiago should resign and accused him of holding the PRIS hostage.
In addition to criticizing the changes to the board, Marazzi Santiago alleged that its members have made political donations.
“In addition, for the first time, the Board of Directors of the Institute has been allowed to have more than one government official, contrary to what the Organic Law of the Institute requires. But, worse than that, for the first time, virtually all the members of that illegal Board have made political donations and have close economic ties with the government. The change is clear and remarkable: we have a less educated Board, [with fewer women] and, for the first time, politicized in its majority,” he argued.
He also alleged that the board tried to defame him before federal statistical organizations, retaliated against him and suspended him without prior notification “to take control of the [board’s] administration.”
Marazzi Santiago also asked those who follow him on social media to provoke him, to “discontinue these unhealthy practices.”