After nearly a year of litigation, the Center for Investigative Journalism on Thursday confirmed another legal victory in its battle against the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico to gain access to information about the hedge funds that hold the Commonwealth’s public debt.
However, the nonprofit denounced that despite winning its case at the Appellate Court in April — for which the GDB asked for reconsideration and lost — the government has failed to turn over the information that the three-judge panel confirmed is public.
The Center for Investigative Journalism has been fighting to get the identity of the creditors that bought government bonds in the March 2014 $3.5 billion issue, the amount of bonds they each bought, as well as the identity of the members of the Ad Hoc Committee of Bondholders, and the terms and conditions they put on the government.
“The conduct of the government in this case shows that the problem of transparency that has been pointed out to this administration in multiple forums is not an accident or the result of circumstances that are not under its control, but a deliberate strategy to hide information from the people,” said Carla Minet, executive director of the Center.
“Both the governor Alejandro García-Padilla, as well as the president of the GDB, Melba Acosta, must provide the information immediately rather than continue to appeal with unsustainable arguments in court, misusing public resources, and depriving citizens from knowing who the government owes; information that would allow us to better understand where this great fiscal crisis that threatens daily essential public services is going,” she said.
Attorney Osvaldo Burgos, who along Luis José Torres-Asencio represented the Center, said: “The state must understand once and for all that its obligation to act with transparency and its duty to provide public information can not be left up to current leaders to decide.”
“Our island deserves to have access to all public information as a corollary of freedom of expression,” Burgos said.