Photo: Puerto Rico
The White House will send a team of experts to Puerto Rico in December to help the local government manage the U.S. commonwealth’s years-long budget and economic crisis.
“This in no way signifies federal control over the island’s economy,” Puerto Rico Chief of Staff Ingrid Vila Biaggi said Wednesday, insisting that the advisers would offer “strategic consultancy.”
“The group will advise us on how to more effectively use federal funds to improve the economy and quality of life of Puerto Rican families,” she said in a statement.
Puerto Rico has been mired in recession since early 2007 and the jobless rate is in double-digits.
The announcement was made in Washington, where experts from different federal agencies and Puerto Rican government representatives gathered Wednesday for a meeting.
The latter included Vila Biaggi, Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta Febo, Puerto Rico Office of Management and Budget Director Carlos Rivas, interim Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico President Jose Pagan, and Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company Executive Director Antonio Medina.
After the announcement, Pedro Pierluisi, the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico to the U.S. Congress, said the White House was responding to the island’s requests for further assistance.
“In meetings and other communications, I’ve urged the (Obama) administration to do more than ‘monitor’ the situation in Puerto Rico, requesting that they take specific and concrete steps to help the governor (Alejandro Garcia Padilla),” Pierluisi said.