Backyard Bondholders Inc., an organization representing about 20 percent of the government’s outstanding public debt, met a briefing Wednesday with several members of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico to establish the position of local bondholders.
The group that holds about $15 billion of the government’s $69 billion public debt, also expressed its commitment to work with the federally appointed body and the new administration under Gov. Ricardo Rosselló “to search for viable and constructive alternatives for all parties,” according to a statement issued Wednesday.
Furthermore, Backyard Bondholders Executive Director Jorge Irizarry said the group will meet with members of Rosselló’s fiscal team to “share information and collaborate in their efforts.”
Meanwhile, Rafael Rojo, chairman of the group’s Board said, “it was an informative and very positive meeting in which we presented the reality of thousands of local bondholders that while contributing to the development of Puerto Rico, bet their retirement on government bonds.”
“We stressed how savings and local capital has dramatically decreased to the point that about $50 billion have been lost since 2005 due to the drop in bank stocks and the decline in property values,” Rojo said. “But this worsened with the blow caused by the public default policy and the blow to the value of local bonds.”
The group — represented by Irizarry, Rojo and Backyard Bondholders Advisor Carlos Rodríguez — met in New York with Board members Arthur Gonzalez, David Skeel and Elías Sánchez, who represents Rosselló on the board.
Irizarry said he walked away from the meeting with a sense of “ease with the openness and receptivity that both the Rosselló administration as the Fiscal Board have shown the group, and they clearly understand the importance and impact of local capital in Puerto Rico’s economy.”