09 November 2016


Rosselló Says He Will Be “Last Governor of the Colony”

SAN JUAN – “I will have the privilege of being sworn in as the last governor of the colony of Puerto Rico and as the first governor of the state of Puerto Rico.”

With these words, governor-elect Ricardo Rosselló Nevares committed himself to fight for Puerto Rico’s annexation as a state of the United States, as well as taking the island out of the economic crisis it is currently going through, after a decade in recession.

In his first public message as governor-elect, Rosselló Nevares was joined by his family, his wife Beatriz Areizaga, and leaders of the New Progressive Party (NPP) outside the party’s central committee in Hato Rey. Rossello, an university professor will be Puerto Rico’s twelfth governor and will be sworn in 24 years after his father, Pedro Rosselló, was elected governor for his first term.

“The moment of change for Puerto Rico has arrived, of facing the crisis and moving forward. […]. There isn’t any challenge that our virtuous, capable people cannot overcome,” said Rosselló Nevares after thanking those who voted as well as those who did not vote for him. He also thanked his team and the other five candidates for governor.

According to Rosselló Nevares, his election is an “unequivocal mandate to tell the world that the transition to statehood has started,” which he will promote through the Tennessee Plan, as he has mentioned before.

He promised to initiate a “transparent” government transition and to dialogue with the Fiscal Control Board to begin the renegotiation of the island’s public debt, estimated at $70,000 million.

Focused on renegotiating the debt

Meanwhile, during a press conference after delivering his victory speech, the governor-elect reiterated his willingness to work with PROMESA’s fiscal board and said he would soon reveal who his representative in the body will be.

As for Puerto Rico’s debt, Rosselló said he will negotiate transparently with the island’s creditors, adding that he will meet them at a conference on the island during his administration’s first 100 days.

“In the renegotiation, everything is on the table…. Let’s sit with [creditors] under Puerto Rico’s real situation and present them with a plan that will benefit the people of Puerto Rico and, of course, guarantee them some return on their investment. Yes, we have said there is a potential of deferring [debt] payments, of cuts to principal; these are things that are going to be renegotiated, but only with transparency and clarity,” Rosselló stressed when asked by Caribbean Business.

Regarding the support achieved by independent gubernatorial candidates Alexandra Lúgaro and Manuel Cidre, the NPP leader ruled out that this represents an attack on his party and stated that since he began to develop his plan for Puerto Rico, he thought of “a new way of governing.”

Rosselló added that he will analyze what happened at the municipal level to determine how they will act upon that. While the NPP dominated the gubernatorial and legislative elections, the Popular Democratic Party retained a majority of the island’s municipalities.


Meanwhile, annexation of the more manageable Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius continues in earnest.


THE HAGUE - Most Dutch people want to get rid of the former Netherlands Antilles (Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten). This is according to a conclusion from the Dutch political party PVV after a survey by Maurice de Hond among more than 2000 Dutch people.

61 percent of respondents indicated that the main reason to completely sever ties with the islands is the regular financial problems, corruption, and mismanagement. For the PVV voters, it is about 88 percent, the VVD, 76 percent and D66, 45 percent.

A slight majority of 55 percent believe that the Netherlands does not have a duty to care anymore for the West Indies, resulting from the colonial past. Again, the PVV supporters with 86 percent, are the most pronounced.

47 percent of respondents finds it wrongly that the Netherlands may not unilaterally sever ties with the three countries within the Kingdom. 39 percent do agree with this.

PVV MP Sietse Fritsma finds it untenable and undemocratic that the government and parliament say that Dutch "have nothing to say" about whether to sever ties with the islands. “Citizens here must have a voice in this as quickly as possible, and we can finally say goodbye to the former West Indies.”

Fritsma wants the Minister of Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk to appear before parliament this coming Wednesday to talk about the outcome of the survey.