Puerto Rico will be a State in five years, Governor Ricardo Rossello Nevares (New Progressive Party/NPP) predicted yesterday.
He said that the territory would be granted statehood in response to lobbying by two proposed ‘U.S. senators’ and five proposed ‘U.S. representatives’ that he named with legislative approval, and by Resident Commissioner in the U.S. House of Representatives Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-NPP).
Referring to the territory’s new Equality Commission, he made the statements at the NPP’s annual convention on its fiftieth anniversary.
The Governor also reiterated that his administration would not accept the 10% cuts in pay for Government employees and pensions for former employees mandated by the territory’s federally-imposed Financial Oversight and Management Board. He pledged to fight the pension reductions in court, as he has promised regarding the pay decrease, if the Financial Board tries to force the measures through a judicial order.
He has previously proclaimed that he would “go to prison,” if necessary, to prevent the cuts.
Rossello is believed, however, to hope that the Board will seek equivalent savings elsewhere in the budget if he stands his ground on Government worker pay and benefits for retirees who receive $2,000 per month or less.
The chief executive also restated his view that the Board only has the power to oversee and opine on key territorial government decisions affecting finances and is not “a financial control board.” PROMESA does not appear to support his position.