Two New Progressive Party women leaders have eloquently expressed the message that the Puerto Rican people are sending to Governor Ricardo Rosselló: priority should be what is best for Puerto Rico.
Calm but firm, the request of Washington Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González proposes a single step to address the unprecedented institutional and political crisis in which the Governor has placed the island. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares should "reflect deeply about his role as governor. It’s up to him for the sake of what is happening on the island."
Ponce Mayor María "Mayita" Meléndez has recalled that the PNP was founded on the basis of social justice and democracy. She rightly asks: "What would our founder and other leaders, who were examples of uprightness, integrity, education, and culture, think about this?" She then responds: "We have to change the direction if we want the principles that govern our party to survive."
These expressions followed the Saturday morning leak of an 889-page group chat between Puerto Rico governor Ricardo Rosselló and some of his closest collaborators with comments of contempt for vulnerable populations, opposition leaders, organizations and journalists. The messages also reveal worrisome issues of public management.
Like an x-ray, the conversation reveals character flaws that are far from what Puerto Rico requires from its leadership. Particularly, the highest office that people entrusted to Rossello, in the hope of change.
Ricardo Rosselló has been left alone. The leadership of the Puerto Rico legislative bodies withdrew their confidence and considers it would be better for him to leave office. The Governor should seriously reflect on the position in which his actions have placed the Puerto Rican people.
The hours the Governor used to hold conversations filled with profanity, contempt, insensitivity, and triviality don´t show the necessary consideration of the island´s major challenges, and the unique opportunity Puerto Rico has had to transform them.
The disgraceful conversation between the Governor and his closest collaborators reveals the distance from the high values public service requires and, especially, from the efforts that Puerto Rico, still going through the recovery process, demands.
Disregard for public service led Puerto Rico into fiscal bankruptcy. It made it more vulnerable to two catastrophic hurricanes and has delayed opportunities for it to recover. Infrastructure abandonment also joins the economic crisis. Due to the lack of clear and cohesive goals for the island, many have lost hope and left the island.
The chat leaked does not reflect the priorities of Puerto Rico. Calls to bring the island out of dispair have used endless hours to showcase a sad political image, far away from the values that should strengthen coexistence and social peace. In addition, lobbyists and former officials without a contractual relationship with the government gave instructions and had access to privileged information.
The chat is a slap to transparency, a fundamental requirement to ensure sound administration, receive federal funds and attract investment.
Puerto Rico´s leadership has to keep in mind that the island´s complicated agenda consists of fiscal and government reorganization, debt restructuring in respectful collaboration with the Oversight Board, streamlining federal disbursements with strict transparency and accountability mechanisms, among other really high-priority issues. Poverty, as well as the rights of women and other minorities, must never be mocked or scorned at. Nor can ideological differences give way to behaviors that violate the principles of democracy.
Puerto Rico has no place for double-talk or for mocking communities that have trusted the government to address core issues for social peace.
The Governor announced changes in his closest team, demanded by his own partisans The past week’s events deserve reflection. The historical situation demands generosity: put Puerto Rico first.