Rosselló reiterates his right to change Prepa board, despite creditors
SAN JUAN – Gov. Ricardo Rosselló reiterated Wednesday his right to change the government boards of public entities in order to feel confident that these can execute the public policies of his government.
Rosselló made his remarks after changes in the composition of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) board to include public officials was questioned since the current board was appointed as part of an agreement with creditors.
Rosselló said that “everything is on the table” after Prepa’s restructuring agreement was extended until March.
“We must have the power to put [on the board] the people who are going to effect the changes of this administration,” he said. “They have already shown their public policy was different from what we have proposed. I am protected under Promesa, which states that I have to be responsible for executing the public policy of that entity. If I don’t have trust… It has already been shown that the steps they have taken go against that, for example raising rates […] That goes totally against what we want to do.”
Caribbean Business learned that Prepa’s creditors object the measure that changes the current board to include public officials appointed by Rosselló because it reverses efforts to depoliticize the public corporation and “professionalize” its members.
The measure, which was approved in the House, proposes that of Prepa’s nine governing board members, two be appointed by the governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, retaining and extending to three the number of public representatives elected by the utility’s customers.
“We have taken action to have a body that answers not to the governor, not to political-partisan interests, but to the strategy proposed by this administration, which was validated by the people of Puerto Rico,” he said.
La Fortaleza’s Public Affairs Secretary, Ramón Rosario, also said that no type of agreement could force the government to continue with Prepa’s current governing board, which was named as part of the restructuring agreement with creditors of public utility.
“No type of agreement can force us to give up the power to legislate. You can’t say in a contract: ‘You will not change this through legislation.’ So no agreement forces us or can force us to keep a particular board,” Rosario said in an interview.
-By Eva Llorens Vélez and Luis J. Valentín