Tatito Hernández

Blame is defined as holding others responsible for our misfortunes. Even when someone clearly and definitely does something wrong, there is no willingness to accept responsibility; the blame is deflected elsewhere. It is attributed to others so you will never know who caused the outcome. It is always easier to blame someone than to accept responsibility. However, the more you play the blame game, the more you lose. That is how we all feel with this document called the Fiscal Plan for Puerto Rico.

In every tax measure contained in the Plan, you see the government blaming the Board and the Board blaming the government. The blame game at its best. The easy way out for the government is to blame the Board because they do not have to pay the political cost of imposing new taxes.

This has been the MO in the past years under Ricardo Rosselló. Much to our disappointment, we can affirm that the government of Wanda Vázquez Garced is a mere continuation of that same policy. No protection for the municipalities or for the University of Puerto Rico has been proposed by her government to avoid the devastation that the implementation of the Fiscal Plan will have on these two entities. No measures were taken to defend the retirement payments to our public employees or to avoid unprecedented increases in the cost of electricity.

When the credibility of our government is at its lowest, we continue to learn, day after day, about more corruption at all levels of government with public figures resigning because of investigations by federal agencies and the disproportionate hiring or contracting of “talented” relatives of members of the executive and legislative branches.

This is the time to emphasize on differences, to clearly compare and contrast the old with the new. Take corrective actions to stop once and for all bad practices of contracting and appointing friends to positions in government; carry out to the end all judicial and legislative investigations. Corruption charges cannot be dismissed simply because the public official resigned.

The Popular Democratic Party had to take many difficult decisions to face the economic crises we confronted. We did not have a Board to blame for everything bad that happened. We stepped up to the plate and assumed the responsibility. No blame game to play. Always respecting the separation of powers and protecting the welfare of our people, even when confronting our own leadership. In the end, time proved us right.

Puerto Rico deserves much more. It deserves that the interests of our political leaders be focused on the needs of the people. It deserves transparency and accountability. It deserves new and better opportunities to obtain a better quality of life for all – better education, security, affordable housing and the creation of jobs.

Changes are achieved by breaking the chains, breaking out from the straightjacket that caused the debacle. In the meantime, we will continue to work hard to insure a clean and transparent public administration to regain our credibility. This is our commitment.

House of Representatives Minority Leader and Former House of Representatives Chairman of the Treasury & Budget Committee

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