washington d.c. – The governor Pierre Pierluisi say today that Andre Biggsmember of the Budget Oversight Council (JSF), shows “disdain and contempt” for Puerto Rico when it denounces the island government’s lack of administrative capacity and political will to push through reforms that give a boost to the Puerto Rican economy.
“Their criticism shows disdain and contempt for our people and our officials, and moreover, they harm Puerto Rico before the investment community and before the world,” Pierluisi said, reacting to Biggs’ expressions in a virtual forum at a Harvard University study center.
Pierluisi pointed out that Biggs was the one leading the board that controls Puerto Rico’s public finances, efforts that have been sidelined to cut “public pensions, jeopardizing the quality of life for tens of thousands of retirees on the island”.
“Furthermore, he has always opposed pay raises for our civil servants, ignoring the fact that they have not had a pay raise for almost two decades. Likewise, Biggs insisted on cutting benefits for our workforce, both in the public and private sector, once again ignoring the low wages they have always had,” Governor Pierluisi added.
Biggs, who has been on the council since its inception in August 2016, said on Thursday that the Puerto Rican government’s failure to implement important decisions was particularly reflected in the Ministry of Education and resistance to implementing reforms. in the labor market.
For Biggs, Puerto Rico‘s government has not focused on making key decisions to improve education and said it’s not for lack of funding that “we’ve seen schools that lack textbooks” and “have broken bathrooms”.
“The Ministry of Education doesn’t have the administrative capacity to make things work and… (this) has been a problem across government and a problem throughout this process,” added the member of the Board, made up of seven officials appointed by the President of the United States and who control the budget and public finances of the island above the elected government of Puerto Rico.
Accentuating his pessimism, Biggs said people would laugh at him if he said Puerto Rican government officials don’t make decisions based on “political considerations” or favor people close to government authorities.
“Puerto Rico has faced major crises and fiscal challenges in recent years, including natural disasters, which are exacerbated by the lack of political equality that afflicts us. , our Island is in full recovery and is on the road to progress. Instead of getting bogged down in criticism, negativity and pessimism, and being a bureaucratic obstacle, Council members should focus their energies on completion of ongoing debt restructuring processes and on facilitating the economic development that Puerto Rico needs,” Governor Pierluisi added.