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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

House speaker chides private sector for silence on public debt

Speaker of the House of Representatives Rafael Hernández Montañez

By John McPhaul

Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez lashed out on Monday at spokesmen for the country’s private sector who, in his opinion, have allowed radical pro-independence groups to monopolize the debate on public debt.

“For the second time, I call on the silent private sector of the country to raise its voice, and I include the thousands of public sector workers who are on the verge of losing the security of their retirement, the agreed upon raises and bonuses; this thanks to a few radicals with a political agenda,” the House speaker said in a written statement.

Hernández Montañez said the public discourse on teachers’ right to fair wages and dignified retirement has been defined by the agenda for exclusive representation.

“Teachers are kidnapped by a union war between the Federation [of Teachers] and the [Teachers] Association in search of which institution reaches exclusive union representation by election against the Department of Education,” he said. “In this fight without quarter, they keep their clients uninformed as part of their evil strategy. Let them assume their responsibility. It was they themselves, with their vision of ‘all or nothing,’ who requested to withdraw the amendments that protected teachers’ pensions in House Bill 1003, which later became Law 53 of 2021, to risk everything in the Federal Court.”

Hernández Montañez said history is repeating itself five years later. The same ones who in the past four years recognized that the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) proposal for the retirement of teachers was better, now misinform the teachers, he said, adding that he is willing to listen to the teachers “without intermediaries.”

“The political and separatist agenda of the [Puerto Rican] Independence Party and the Citizen Victory Movement has shown their foolishness and inability to even think that they can govern our island,” the House speaker said. “They only want Puerto Rico to collapse to further their separatist agenda.”

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