SAN JUAN – Despite what they see as anti-democratic and colonialist interference, the two leading candidates for Puerto Rican governor say that they are ready to cooperate with the fiscal control board that Washington intends to put in place to oversee the island government’s spending.
“These are the circumstances that have arisen for us and (we) must have a governor who knows how to establish priorities while he cooperates,” David Bernier, the candidate of the governing PPD party to replace Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who is not seeking reelection, told EFE.
He said that fears that the next governor might be a “puppet” in the hands of the seven-member board “will depend on the character” of the man who occupies the governor’s office.
“We need a governor who can persuade the board about the priorities. The next elections are about that: electing someone who can defend the (island’s) interests in some very difficult circumstances,” he said.
He said that the priority is “to manage the debt appropriately to be able to return to the debt markets as soon as possible and have the resources to push forward with economic development.”
Expressing a very similar attitude was opposition PNP candidate Ricardo Rossello, who said in an interview with EFE that “the reality is that we are a colony and, therefore, we’re subject to Washington’s will.”
“The bill damages democratic governance and attacks certain groups, but I’m going to fully cooperate with that board and ... contribute a fiscal plan to reduce spending,” he said.
“That is really important because if the board ... finds a governor who doesn’t know how to cut (costs), it will be they who will intervene in public policy,” he said.