FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Carolina Gonzalez, firstname.lastname@example.org, 929-287-4263
LABOR, COMMUNITY NETWORK FINDS APPOINTMENTS TO PR FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT BOARD "PREDICTABLY DISAPPOINTING"
The seven members appointed by President Obama have strong ties to financial sector and previous island administrations
New York -- Today’s White House announcement of the seven appointees to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico is predictably disappointing. VAMOS4PR partners are troubled by what the composition of the board indicates about how it will likely structure its work to address urgent and long-term economic issues on the island.
Regardless of the merits of the appointees, VAMOS4PR is deeply concerned about the direction that the board could take. We believe that with a majority of appointments granted to people with firm ties to the financial sector and to prior administrations on the island, the board is very vulnerable to the influence of creditors, whose only interest is to have the debt repaid in full no matter the cost to Puerto Rico’s working families.
When the Financial Oversight and Management Board was proposed as a significant part of the PROMESA bill approved in June, VAMOS4PR’s position was that establishing such a body was the wrong approach to restructure the debt and rebuild Puerto Rico’s economy to enable working families to thrive. The board is an anti-democratic body that has been granted broad authority that could potentially harm the lives of millions of Puerto Ricans for generations to come.
As the board begins its work to come up with recommendations, VAMOS4PR strongly urges that it include the following considerations:
No further austerity measures that would increase the already palpable suffering for Puerto Rican working families;
Reducing the amount of debt to be repaid, as the current amount was likely incurred in violation of Puerto Rican law;
Raising revenue for Puerto Rico’s budget through measures such as calling for parity in Medicaid/Medicare funding;
Protecting workers’ rights and adequate funding of pensions;
Providing resources to complete a full audit of the public debt, continuing the work of the independent audit commission;
And creating space for long-term economic development solutions that will allow the island’s economy to thrive.
As a coalition of labor, community and progressive groups, we fear that the board will prioritize conservative policies that will only further exacerbate hardship for Puerto Rican working families. The board cannot undermine the ability of the Puerto Ricans most affected by the debt crisis to propose solutions that will improve the long-term health of Puerto Rico’s economy and society. VAMOS4PR will actively monitor the board’s work and educate, organize and mobilize our communities of interest to advance solutions that benefit Puerto Rico’s working families.
VAMOS4PR is a network of labor, community, cultural and human rights organizations and individuals who live and work in the US mainland and fight for a fair economy for all Puerto Ricans. For a full list of organizations visit our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Vamos4PR2/