The Puerto Rico Chapter of the General Contractors Association (AGC-PR by its Spanish initials) urged prompt action from Puerto Rico’s legislative body in regard to Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s nominee for Secretary of State.
On July 31, Rosselló nominated Pedro Pierluisi to occupy the vacancy left by Luis Rivera Marín, one week after announcing his own resignation after weeks of protests against him and other top Cabinet members who partook in a controversial chat that raised allegations of corruption and unethical practices.
As established in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the governor would be replaced by the Secretary of State, but if that seat is vacant, the governor-apparent would then be the Secretary of Justice.
However, the current Secretary of Justice, Wanda Vázquez, had already stated that she does not wish to be the next governor for the remaining term and would only accept if the government does not appoint a Secretary of State before the governor’s official leave, August 2.
According to the ACG-PR, the Senate and House of Representatives must act swiftly in order to ensure a smooth transition.
“We strongly urge the legislative chambers to fulfill with agility and wisdom their constitutional mandate to meet the nomination for the vacancy of Secretary of State before Friday. Delaying that confirmation could have a negative impact on the island’s construction industry and economy, given that the new governor will have the great responsibility of providing continuity to reconstruction efforts,” AGC-PR President Alejandro Abrams stated via press release.
In the missive, Abrams explained that Puerto Rico is just beginning to repair and rebuild the homes and infrastructure that were affected by the onslaught of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on September 2017.
He said that the federal funds that have been distributed to address these needs have already resulted in positive economic impact on all economic sectors. The increase in demand for construction services has doubled jobs in this industry to almost 50,000, he informed.
“We are in a critical moment where we must act with reason and think about the well-being of the 3 million Puerto Ricans who live on the island. We cannot afford to create greater uncertainty that may threaten the income of federal funds and the economic activity that we are experiencing. It is time to think about Puerto Rico and its future and to demonstrate our commitment through actions and firm steps,” Abrams affirmed.
The AGC-PR groups more than 300 partners and is the primary voice for the local construction industry. This organization generates 80 percent of this industry’s economic activity in Puerto Rico.