20170630 0852Sheraton Hotel, Convention Center, San Juan PR
By Gil Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org
A year after President Obama signed landmark legislation that created a 7-member board to oversee Puerto Rico’s finances for the foreseeable future, the year’s relatively stagnant pace has become something of a race.
(Whether or not the changes underway are “enough”, or are even of the “right kind” is, however, very much the subject of stakeholder debate.)
The 12-month stagnation is the result of a variety of factors, chief among them the series of legal stays authorized by PROMESA, and the time that’s been required to put together the Board’s legal and consulting teams, as well as staff.
This week’s capstone events include:
1. First major Omnibus hearing in federal court, in which Judge Laura Taylor Swain:
* established a mediation team of five sitting federal judges;
* expressed concern over the Board’s ability to play multiple (possibly conflicting) roles;
* punted on the key battle between the largest creditor classes
2. A major battle between island leadership and the Board over the FY2018 budgets, which goes into effect tomorrow, July 1st. While the Board approved the outlines of finances over a month ago, it did so with conditions. Following a review of the legislature and executive branch’s versions of the budget, Board President Jose Carrion sent a letter to island leaders this week in which he listed specific changes the Board would like to see. The PR government has so far refused to make the requested changes.
3. By a 4 to 3 vote, the Board rejected a long-negotiated deal to restructure the island’s power company’s debt (PREPA). Which action has provoked consternation from senior leadership in the US Congress.
Today’s meeting is the Board’s eighth, the fourth in PR, and is being held at the Convention Center’s Sheraton hotel with heavy security presence.