Martha Kopacz, a financial manager at Phoenix Management Services LLC, has suggested that Puerto Rico should shelve the question of the Island’s political status until the economy is straightened out.
Speaking at the “What’s Next for Puerto Rico?” forum hosted by the Puerto Rico Builders Association in San Juan, Kopacz called for a “time out” on conversations to resolve Puerto Rico’s status.
“I think everybody on the island needs to take a time out from the status conversation,” she said. “Right now that discussion needs to stop because it’s not helping stabilize the ship in a way that will allow for economic growth and will cause people to want to stay and come back to Puerto Rico. If I had a magic wand, I would say, let’s just take a time out from the status conversation for a little while and focus on getting Puerto Rico stabilized and headed in the right direction again.”
Kopacz is not the first non-Puerto Rican to minimize or dismiss the significance of the status question for Puerto Ricans, nor is she the first to believe it possible to ignore the issue in the context of resolving Puerto Rico’s economic problems. She is, however, the most recent, and her remarks are likely to make the same impact as previous sentiments throughout history – which is to say none at all.
To begin with, Kopacz’s comment is impractical. Asking Puerto Ricans to stop paying attention to status is like telling Californians to ignore the beach. Or telling any group in the Middle East to put aside their problems with their historic enemy neighbors and just focus on growing their economies. The other issues are always present and unavoidable.
Kopacz’s comment is also unfeasible.
First, the leading candidate for Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricky Rossello, has committed to hold a plebiscite in early 2017 if elected. The current governor promised that the plebiscite, which will be the first federally-sponsored vote on Puerto Rico’s status, would be held in 2016. Regardless of when the vote is actually conducted, it will in all likelihood take place before Puerto Rico has its economic issues entirely sorted out. Kopacz’s suggestion to not pay attention to status will be impossible as the next plebiscite approaches.
More importantly, Puerto Rico’s status has a significant impact on the laws and policies to be considered and evaluated by the next administration and legislature, as well as the PROMESA board. If Puerto Rico is to be a state, future policies must reflect greater integration with US laws. If the people of Puerto Rico vote for independence, the upcoming disconnect from the United States must be reflected in Board policies, including in areas involving US citizenship and social spending.
It is impossible to make decisions about Puerto Rico’s future that will be equally appropriate for a State of the Union or an independent nation. Making decisions for an unincorporated territory and expecting them to apply equally to the needs of a state or a sovereign nation is not grounded in sound public policy.
“Getting Puerto Rico stabilized and headed in the right direction” is a meaningless goal without some awareness of what direction Puerto Rico will be heading in.
Puerto Rico’s current status is part of the problem. A territory since 1898, some would even say that Puerto Rico’s current status is the problem. And Puerto Rico’s economic struggles will not be resolved until the status question is resolved.
Martha Kopacz is a piece of garbage & an opportunistic hypocrite.
Her calls are a DIRECT CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
She works for a financial firm making a,killing most likely selling bonds at tax free rates only possible under unincorporated Territory! !
She’s probably PPD related!
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Sure! Like a doctor with a patient, we must care for the patient and get them stable and healthy for a few years, and then deal with the gaping hole through which they are bleeding to death.