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Puerto Rico Oversight Board Meets as Bankruptcy Deadline Approaches
by Greg Williams
Thursday Apr 27th, 2017 7:17 AM
Puerto Rico's oversight board meets on April 28th in New York and could authorize a bankruptcy process for the debt ridden island.
On May 1st Puerto Rico's loses protections from debt lawsuits and authorizing bankruptcy or "Title III" this week would extend protections for the US territory.‎ Once the bankruptcy process is authorized, Puerto Rico can seek debt relief.

"The board must immediately vote for the bankruptcy process," stated Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA. LeCompte worked on Puerto Rico debt legislation and testified before the board in November. "If they don't authorize the bankruptcy process predatory creditors could buy debt and endless litigation begins."

The child poverty rate on Puerto Rico is almost 60% and it faces a Medicaid funding gap of $650 million this year. Puerto Rico has a fiscal plan that includes austerity measures.

A statement released Tuesday by Archbishop Roberto González from the Catholic Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico and Reverend Heriberto Martínez, the head of the Puerto Rico Bible Society, urges the oversight board to move the island into this bankruptcy process.

"We restate our encouragement and support for Puerto Rico's Governor and the oversight board to authorize the Title III bankruptcy process by April 28th before debt lawsuit protections expire," note Archbishop González and Reverend Martínez. "If the oversight board and Governor do not act by April 28th, we fear that Puerto Rico could be held hostage by predatory actors and 'vulture' funds."

Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 75 US organizations and 650 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee USA builds an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable. Jubilee USA wins critical global financial reforms and won more than $130 billion in debt relief to benefit the world's poorest people.

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