Jubilee USA's Executive Director Eric LeCompte releases the below statement on Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands debt crises after the hurricanes. LeCompte worked on Puerto Rico emergency debt crisis legislation, testified to Congress and Puerto Rico's oversight board on the debt crisis and serves on United Nation debt expert groups.
Eric LeCompte, Jubilee USA Executive Director, releases the following statement:
"Before the hurricanes hit Puerto Rico, 60 percent of its kids lived in poverty and we already felt the island's financial crisis was deteriorating into a humanitarian crisis. After the hurricanes, we are facing absolute devastation made worse by the island's debt crisis.
"Too few eyes are on the US Virgin Islands. They've been ravaged by the hurricanes and they already were experiencing one of the worst debt crises in the Caribbean.
"Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are in no position to make debt payments until they rebuild and recover. Both Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands need deep debt relief after the hurricanes.
"Last year Congress passed emergency debt crisis legislation for Puerto Rico. Because of Congressional action, the largest bankruptcy process in US history is currently underway in Puerto Rico. That bankruptcy process can take into account the impacts of the hurricane and now provide even greater debt relief for the island.
"Unfortunately, we don't have a clear process for the US Virgin Islands to get debt relief at this time. We will need action from Congress and the creditors. In any case, the US Virgin Islands has no ability to make debt payments in the near future."