Backyard Bondholders, a nonprofit organization representing individual Puerto Rico creditors, on Wednesday said it favors the adoption of a fiscal control board to facilitate an orderly debt restructuring process.
Individuals hold about 25 percent of the government’s $70 billion public debt, said Jorge Irizarry, executive director of the recently formed group.
Last week, the organization representing more than 60,000 Puerto Rican bondholders held meetings with more than 20 Congressmen in Washington, D.C, to ensure that local bondholders are protected as part of the proposed “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act” legislation that was resubmitted late last night as H.R. 5278 in Congress.
“We’re waiting to review the final legislation, and will return to Washington next week to continue promoting the protection of the best interests of Puerto Ricans and avoid lengthy litigation,” Irizarry said.
Earlier this week, Backyard Bondholders held their first meeting with Government Development Bank President Melba Acosta, who was cooperative and facilitated the start of a coming together between the organization and the government to share information and participate in possible debt negotiations, Irizarry said. The organization had previously met with Secretary of State Víctor Suárez.
The Backyard Bondholders also met with G-25, as a group of Puerto Rico credit unions holding government debt is known, to discuss possible collaborative efforts.
Puerto Rico’s individual bondholders represent all social strata and includes retired from the government itself and private companies, widows, the elderly, middle – aged, professionals and owners of small and medium enterprises.
In total, Puerto Rican bondholders have more than $15 billion in government debt. The group claims to have been the most affected by the three defaults on government debt so far.