Secretary of State: Gov’t ready for first ‘paperless’ transition of power
By John McPhaul
Puerto Rico Secretary of State Raúl Márquez Hernández announced Wednesday that the State Department is ready to begin the transition process once the general elections conclude Nov. 3.
The process of change of government information will be carried out for the first time in a completely digital format and at the Pedro Rosselló Convention Center in San Juan as a preventive measure due to COVID-19 protocols.
“As Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced has demanded, our commitment is that the process is a transparent and complete one, in which the Puerto Rico Government committee provides the incoming committee with all pertinent information to government agencies,” the secretary of the outgoing committee said in a written statement. “As of today, we have received 100 percent of the reports and we affirm that they are not incomplete, incorrect or false. This action will allow us to deliver government results that will include reports on achievements of the past four years, as well as projects that are in process for the benefit of Puerto Rico.”
“Meanwhile, being aware of environmental concerns, we will implement the first ‘paperless’ transition in the history of the Government of Puerto Rico,” Márquez Hernández added. “All the submitted reports will be available in a digital and organized manner, opening the way for innovation and technology.”
The secretary of State also announced that the outgoing committee is made up of cabinet members whose agencies are related in matters of budget, infrastructure, federal funds and health. Composing the team are the secretaries of Public Affairs and Public Policy, Justice, Treasury, and Transportation and Public Works, along with the director of the Office of Management and Budget, the executive director of the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority, and the director of the Planning Board.
As established by Law No. 197 of 2002 and its amendments, the committee also has “three additional spaces that were submitted for the evaluation of the governor to be part of our team,” Márquez Hernández said.
Likewise, the secretary said that a letter is being sent to each candidate for governor, informing them, among other details, that the first meeting of both committees will be on Nov. 4, so that the transition work can begin as soon as possible.
“For the Governor it is imperative that both the people of Puerto Rico, as well as the incoming committee, have clear and open information subject to their evaluation, data that allows the new government to make immediate decisions to give continuity to the work they deem necessary or to change what they deem pertinent,” the State secretary said. “This is without overlooking the fact that this process must also safeguard the confidentiality required by this exchange of information, as dictated by the law.”
Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the transition work will be conducted at the convention center in the Miramar sector of San Juan, the secretary of State said. Tasks include the meetings of both committees, outgoing and incoming, as well as the public hearings that are required as part of the ordinary transition process.
“Following the protocols dictated by health organizations and the Puerto Rico Department of Health itself on social distancing and safety measures, through an Administrative Order a temporary office of the Department of State will be established in the Convention Center to carry out transition processes,” Márquez Hernández said.