In an apparent response to public pressure, the Government Development Bank on Wednesday eliminated the restriction on the information it shared with the public on its website.
The action put an end of several months of limiting access to data regarding public finances and other economic facts that until December, it was publishing regularly. The agency placed the responsibility on the State Elections Commission, which the GDB said had ordered it to refrain from sharing key economic facts with the public during an election year.
Until yesterday, the agency’s website showed the following message in place of where press releases were regularly posted: “In compliance with Act 78-2011 (Puerto Rico Electoral Code for the Twenty-First Century), during an election year and until the following day of the election event, the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico may not publish certain information through the media, including its website, for the benefit of the general public.”
“In order to keep our public informed and maintain our commitment of transparency with the investor community, we may provide updated information, per request. If you wish to receive updated economic information, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org,” the GDB said.
That decision unleashed a string of criticism from the public and private sector.
Sergio Marxuach, director of public policy for the Center for the New Economy, said it was “patently absurd” for the SEC to apply the electoral ban on the publication of economic statistics.
“I assume that the Labor Department will stop publishing changes in unemployment and Treasury will stop publishing monthly collections,” Marxuach said. “Access to the most recent financial information is vital for investors, for scholars who study our economy, and citizens in general, especially in an election year.”