Amid the turmoil that over the weekend has resulted in high-profile exits from the cabinet, Puerto Rico has to regain the calm and focus necessary to make the pressing decisions that lie ahead.
This climate of tension and uncertainty does not help to focus on collective challenges that need to be addressed. The most immediate one is ensuring governance, which requires, as a first step, appointing the right people to the Secretary of State and to represent the government before the Oversight Board.
Whoever represents Puerto Rico before the Oversight Board must have the expertise and catch up immediately to resume the critical process of fiscal and debt restructuring.
The Secretary of State must also be urgently replaced, among other key positions affected by the publication of derisive contents in almost 900 pages of a private group chat between Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló and some of his closest collaborators.
As a next step, the people in charge of the administration should promptly begin a process of open dialogue with the Board to cooperate in the process to achieve a sound fiscal system that will bring credibility to negotiations with creditors.
Hence the importance of Gov. Rosselló finding the space for introspection that will lead him to make the decision that most benefits Puerto Rico, above himself, his preferences and his party.
So far, he said that he will continue to focus on developing transparency and accountability initiatives that he will announce this week. He has to be true to his word while setting the processes to ensure governance and defines his political future.
Undoubtedly, last week´s events have caused indignation. The overall mood following the publication of the group chat between high ranking cabinet members is absolutely legitimate. The actions and character of high officials in La Fortaleza, reflected in the messages, are reprehensible. These lessons should serve to review the mechanisms and political dynamics that allowed such shameful circumstances.
However, it is not good for Puerto Rico that citizen protests at the gates of La Fortaleza turn into violent incidents that will bring more pain and tension.
New Progressive Party (PNP) leaders concluded that Rosselló should not run for re-election. And they have given him space before asking for his resignation. They have recognized that a governor's resignation implies an orderly process of transition.
It is also their responsibility to evaluate, without particular interests, which candidates have the necessary skills and credibility to undertake the task while strengthening the controls that allow them to fulfill it and be accountable.
With the support of many sectors, the Puerto Rico Bar Association has begun an assessment of the feasibility of starting an impeachment process. While minority parties support this option, the House prefers to wait.
Organizing a sound, ethical and moral government structure is essential to resume the agenda to address economic and social challenges. It is also necessary to continue with the efforts in Washington to speed the release of funds for health, education, and to continue with the recovery process.
As Puerto Rico proved after hurricane María, the island has the resources to overcome the current crisis. This experience should serve to create better controls for the selection of candidates for public service positions based on a system of merit, transparency, and reliability.