San Juan – Senator Rafael Bernabe, of the Citizen Victory Movement, proposed this Monday to Governor Pedro Pierluisi that he reinvest the island’s economic crisis with the funds reserved for paying bondholders and give him greater citizen participation in decision-making.
To face the crisis in Puerto Rico, according to the legislator in a press release, in recent years nearly $ 10 billion has been accumulated in a separate special fund to pay bondholders.
“What the moment demands is to reject the proposed agreement with the bondholders, restart the debt audit and fight so that the largest possible part of these funds are dedicated to rebuilding our economy,” said Bernabe.
“In addition, we must abandon the failed bureaucratic and authoritarian ways of seeking efficiency in public services. Here we are always offered two recipes to improve public services: on the one hand, attack the conquests of workers, make jobs precarious and freeze jobs, “he added.
Bernabe also rejected the privatization of public facilities, because in this way “the best resource we have is wasted: the commitment and knowledge of public employees, together with the interest that people have in improving their services.”
Bernabe reacted in this way to Pierluisi’s signing last Saturday on Executive Order 2021-003 to decree measures of fiscal responsibility and control of expenses.
This particular order, according to Bernabe, imposes a series of budgetary restrictions on the different agencies of the government of Puerto Rico.
Given this, Bernabe indicated that similar executive orders have had little impact in the past.
“It is of little use to seek savings in expenses in government agencies if the objective is to pay an unsustainable debt,” said Bernabe.
“No one can oppose the efficient use of public funds. Certainly, all expenses must be adequately justified. But what we have experienced in recent years have been cuts that have limited the services that the people need and that have brought many agencies to the brink of collapse, “he continued.
An example of this, according to Bernabe, is the University of Puerto Rico, “affected by cuts that have come to jeopardize its accreditation.”
“Continuing with these policies to reduce services and personnel without canceling illegal and unconstitutional debt, without reducing it to a sustainable level, will continue to impoverish the country and perpetuate the economic crisis,” he added.
On the other hand, Bernabe proposed creating committees for labor and citizen participation in all agencies.
“If someone knows where there are unnecessary expenses, unjustified purchases and better ways to organize work, they are precisely those who work in agencies. That is why the solution is not privatization or arbitrary cuts but democratization ”, he stipulated.