Only two gubernatorial candidates have responded to UTIER letter on LUMA-PREPA deal

By The Star Staff

Two weeks after the Electrical Industry and Irrigation Workers Union (UTIER by its Spanish acronym) sent a letter to gubernatorial candidates asking them to put in writing their stances on the contract awarded by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to LUMA Energy to manage its transmission and distribution system and on the privatization of essential services, labor reform and other issues, only two candidates have responded to their concerns, the union said Monday.

“It is unusual that out of six candidates seeking to take the reins of this country, only two have responded, in writing, as requested, as to what they will do with the disastrous LUMA Energy contract and what their commitment is to canceling it during their first 100 days in office,” UTIER President Ángel Figueroa Jaramillo said. “It is incredible that the other four candidates have not yet answered regarding what they will do with LUMA and what they will also do with the retirement system of PREPA employees, with the privatization of essential services and the repeal of the labor reform that has done so much damage to the workers of this country, especially the younger ones.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. District Court in San Juan is slated to hear arguments on whether to give priority over other debt to the payments given to LUMA Energy as part of PREPA’s bankruptcy.

Only Puerto Rican Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Juan Dalmau and Carlos Delgado Altieri, who is the gubernatorial candidate under the Popular Democratic Party, have responded to UTIER’s letter. In addition to knowing what they will do with Luma and PREPA’s retirement system, the UTIER president said, the candidates were required to answer questions about their positions regarding the possibility of elevating to constitutional status any decision related to the privatization of essential public services, the freezing of collective bargaining processes in the public sector, the repeal of the Labor Reform and the repeal, in whole or in part, of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act, which imposed an oversight board over Puerto Rico.

“In the letter that we sent almost three weeks ago, we not only asked about energy issues, we also asked about important issues for all Puerto Ricans. Failure to answer the letters is not to reply to a country that is aware of everything the candidates say about such matters that are important for the people and even more so now that the people have removed a governor who did not meet expectations and disrespected the country,” Figueroa Jaramillo said. “The other four [candidates] know that the workers are attentive to their responses, that the country is attentive to what they have to say in response, that the people are tired of empty promises and that now they are asking for change and action.”

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