Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Those Damn Yankees

By on January 27, 2022

The title of this editorial borrows from the 1958 film “Damn Yankees,” which was later retitled “What Lola Wants” in the United Kingdom. On this occasion, perhaps a more apt retitling would be “What Judge Swain Wants for Puerto Rico.”

When her honor put her Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on the Plan of Adjustment (POA) last week, Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring brigades and members of the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) were hopeful that they were on their way to exiting bankruptcy. Judge Swain called the confirmation of the POA “the beginning of Puerto Rico’s brightest chapter.”

To borrow a metaphor from Major League Baseball, the OBoard’s enthusiasm also conjured images of a coming ticker-tape parade the likes of which are seen after a team wins the World Series. But these are not the Yankees—who have more championship banners hanging from the rafters of their baseball cathedral than many teams combined; they are a little bit more like the New York Mets, who won their last title in 1986.

To be certain, the OBoard’s skipper, Natalie Jaresko, knows restructuring pennants take time. So it was that Jaresko showed guarded enthusiasm in her declaration of coming financial independence when she acknowledged that her team must still work with the commonwealth government to ensure that delayed financial statements are issued on a timely basis. There might be rain coming down on the parade.

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