A Puerto Rican think tank in New York has created a watchdog panel of legal, financial and political experts to oversee the rollout of Puerto Rico relief authorized by the PROMESA Fiscal earlier this year.

The Hunter College Center for Puerto Rican studies “Centro Task Force on Puerto Rico” is to include two Floridians, lawyers Anthony Suarez of Orlando and Francisco Cerezo of Miami, according to a draft proposal obtained by FloridaPolitics.com.

The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act ors 2016 calls for a federal board to take broad control over Puerto Rico’s finances in order to develop a plan to restructure Puerto Rico’s $70 billion debt.

The task force is intended to be an independent check on the activities of the board by prominent Puerto Rican experts in law, finance, labor, politics and other areas.

Other members of the 15-person task force include former U.S. appeals judge Luis A. Gonzalez of New York; Edwin Melendez, director of the Hunter College center; Democratic donor and lawyer Ricardo Oquendo of New York; union leader Dennis Rivera of Puerto Rico; and environmentalist Brenda Torres of Puerto Rico.

The watchdog group is being asked to watch over the federal board’s transparency in its decision-making process; development of a long-term economic development plan for Puerto Rico; efforts to address the island’s health crisis; efforts to restructure plans for the energy sector; and implementations of government ethics guidelines and laws, according to the draft.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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