Oversight Board Files for $6 Billion Debt Cancellation
Washington DC - Through Thursday, the judge presiding over Puerto Rico's bankruptcy process will hear testimony about a debt deal to restructure about $17 billion of the island's $72 billion debt. The Honorable Judge Laura Taylor Swain is administering the island's Title III process, a debt restructuring process created by Congress in 2016. This week Swain is hearing testimony from stakeholders of the merits of a debt deal that Puerto Rico's COFINA creditors and oversight board agreed on. Critics of the plan argue that if the debt deal is approved, it sets up Puerto Rico for failure.
"The current agreement doesn't do enough to support sustained economic growth, reduce austerity or ensure that Puerto Rico rebuilds from last year's hurricanes," said Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte who monitored the island's debt woes since 2015. "If this is the recipe to restructure Puerto Rico's debt, Puerto Rico will be back at the restructuring table in a few years."
This week Puerto Rico's oversight board filed a request to cancel debt to Judge Swain. $6 billion in General Obligation bond debt from 2012 and 2014 exceeded set Puerto Rico constitutional debt limits, according to the court filing.
"The move to cancel this debt is important. It should be declared null and void," stated LeCompte. "The debt violated debt limits and some hedge funds were looking to exploit this debt."