by Gil Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org
Date published: 20161122 174316
The PR Control Board’s 5½-hour meeting on Friday covered a tremendous amount of territory. For those of us who study PR and PR debt it was spell-binding. By contrast, the civilian population out there … well … there probably aren’t many things they’d find more boring.
Not without reason: boring things are often unimportant things.
Sometimes, though, in the blah-blah-blah that so excites the cognoscenti hide things crucial for EVERYONE to hear and understand.
There were such moments in Friday’s testimony.
The framework set out by this Control Board in these first few meetings–this was their third meeting–will affect Puerto Rico and its citizens for at least a generation to come. (The debt disaster of 2016 has clear roots in 1898 and before. History matters.)
Recognizing just how important these very boring meetings can be, then, I took the time to convert the materials into something more accessible.
First, I converted the Board’s official video feed into English and Spanish audio streams and uploaded them to streaming services SoundCloud, iTunes Podcast, and Stitcher. This should make it easy for people on phones and tablets to listen in.
Second, I indexed the 5½ hours of audio so listeners can go to the topics covered in the meeting that interest them. There is an index in Spanish for the Spanish audio and an index in English for the English audio.
Thirdly, I linked to the Board’s documents and presentations in the right-most column of the indices. So you can navigate around the audio using the index while also having the documents at hand on one screen.
The drafts of the Fiscal and Economic Growth Plan (FEGP) mandated by the PROMESA law itself are difficult to understand. Even amongst those of us who study this daily there are fierce wars of interpretation, battle camps set and defended. So that’s not where I’d start if I were you.
For average citizens wanting to get a sense of what’s going on, I’d recommend you listen to the board members as they tell, in their own words, how they envision what’s coming. Their comments begin at mark 4 hours, 31 minutes and 7 seconds in both audio files. Board statements in English. Board statements in Spanish.
The things they say and the way in which they say them can be used to extrapolate not only how they will behave as the technocrats, lawyers, judges, and investment bankers they are, but also, I think, as humans who know their decisions will impact literally millions of people for generations to come.