Church groups, in letter to governor, seek dialogue on LUMA contract

By John McPhaul

The Ecumenical and Interfaith Coalition of Puerto Rico, the Pentecostal Brotherhood of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Council of Churches and the Brotherhood of Councils and Evangelical Entities of the southeastern United States all joined for the first time in history to send a letter to Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia in which they expressed concerns regarding the contract with LUMA Energy and requested space for the respectful dialogue that a matter of such importance for the island deserves.

“The Church, as an essential part of her vocation, has the duty to promote peace, justice and harmony in our society. We recognize that differences of opinion on matters of public interest are inherent to the human condition. That is why we consider that discrepancies and objections to the LUMA contract must be handled with deep sensitivity and openness, always putting the public interest above any other interest,” reads the letter sent to Pierluisi on Wednesday. “Our call, as religious leaders, is to serve as a meeting point for the weighted and respectful dialogue that this matter of utmost importance for the country deserves. We are convinced that the search for correct solutions to this problem has to be oriented toward social welfare.”

The religious organizations, which group all the Christian churches on the island, believe that the objections to the LUMA Energy contract to manage the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s transmission and distribution system, which have been articulated by prestigious organizations such as the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, the Center for the New Economy, and the Engineers and Surveyors Association, among others, deserve the most careful attention from the government of Puerto Rico.

Among their concerns, they highlighted that the contract does not commit LUMA to comply with the government’s energy policy aimed at expanding renewable energy sources, that LUMA does not make an investment since all the investment will come from public funds, and that the contract does not guarantee the acquired rights of the workers nor does it have the obligation to make contributions to the employees’ retirement plan.

“It seems to us that one of our main priorities on the country’s agenda should be to rebuild our electricity system in an efficient and technologically resilient way,” the church representatives added. “For this reason, it is imperative to seek a consensus solution, which places us in the right direction, in order to have a modern and efficient electrical energy system that provides well-being for our people, both in our present and in that of our future generations.”

“We reiterate our willingness to meet with you and offer you our best talents and capabilities to serve our people, who are our calling,” they wrote. “We would greatly appreciate your consideration of the request we make through this communication.”

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