Open Spaces denounces ‘use and abuse’ of gov’t power
Nonprofit Organization Open Space warned that messages in the chat in which Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and others participated in could constitute serious ethical and legal violations through a conspiracy to limit citizen rights to demand transparency and accountability the government.
During a sit-down with the media, Open Spaces Executive Director Cecille Blondet said the chat showed a plan and a pattern of intimidation against the organization she leads — as well as toward her — which was repeated at least twice during the same year to quell the efforts of the organization.
She said since its inception in 2014, the nonprofit has aimed to achieve a more open and participatory Puerto Rico, demanding transparency and accountability to the government with public funds.
In carrying out its mission, Open Spaces has gone to court to seek information related to fiscal issues — debt restructuring, recovery and budget — suing the government three times, in March, July and November 2018.
The first legal action was to request information about the government’s fiscal plan’s indicators, followed by a claim to have the recovery plan submitted for public comment translated into Spanish, and on the third occasion, to request the publication of the report prepared for the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico on tax credits.
All cases were won, including the latest, which was discussed in the chat, specifically the argument and subsequent appeal, as well as the “persecution and intimidation communications strategy” against Blondet, she said.
“Open Spaces denounces and repudiates the use of the state to limit the right of citizens to demand transparency and accountability from their government,” she said.
“The practices shown in the chat could represent serious ethical and legal violations,” Blondet said. “That group clearly conspired and attacked the right of all citizens to be informed.”
“The extent and the effects this group of people had on government institutions called upon to oversee civil service is worrisome,” she said. “And that deserves not only a thorough investigation, but also that the civil society takes steps to ensure an open and transparent government that’s accountable and set on a democratic foundation. That’s the only way to restore calm and confidence for citizens regarding public and private institutions.”