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Friday, May 8, 2015

Puerto Rico News Digest For May 8, 2015


From Caribbean Business:

Alberto Lázaro, the Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Authority (Prasa) executive
director, forewarned that the utility may soon begin rationing water service due
to the drought affecting Carraízo dam in Trujillo Alto. "It's worrisome. We are
already taking all the necessary measures to reduce water pressure, transferring
water from the Superaqueduct and other systems to the Carraízo system," he
said, adding the situation "is very critical." He explained that "Carraízo was at
less than 27.5 meters.


From The San Juan Daily Star:

Puerto Rico Farmers Association President Héctor Cordero on Wednesday blas-
ted the central government for announcing a massive  budget cut of $77 million
to the Agriculture Department “when  local farmers have been loyal citizens
who have stood by the  government in the good and the bad times.” “No far-
mer has gotten on an airplane and left the island in search of better opportuni-
ties,” Cordero said in a radio interview, his voice rising. “No, we don’t fly
off and neverlook back. We have stayed here and fought the battle.” Cordero
said the $77 million the governmenthas proposed as possibly being slashed
from the Agriculture Department is much less than the $85 million it costs to
operate the Metropolitan Bus Authority (AMA by its Spanish acronym) which
in his opinion only serves “the white people from the metropolitan area.”


Puerto Rico positioned itself 55th out of 141 of the globe’s most tourist-
friendly countries listed in the World Economic Forum’s global Travel & 
Tourism Competitiveness Index released Wednesday. Although the island sli-
pped three notches since the release of the last report in 2013, the change 
was attributed to a change in methodology applied to this year’s rankings. 
For the first time, the WEF index measured a country’s branding and digital 
presence on a global level. Puerto Rico placed on the high end of those two 
elements, taking the 20th and 21st spots, respectively. The report also 
placed Puerto Rico in a favorable position in terms of the government’s pri-
ority of the tourism sector (16 out of 141), representing a two-point im-
provement over 2013’s results.


From Reuters:

Citibank has sold a $146 million loan it had with the Puerto Rico 
Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to a distressed debt investment firm, 
two sources said on Thursday, in a sign of the growing uncertainty over 
the utility's finances.PREPA's bank lenders and other bondholders are 
disputing who has priority in loan repayments, said one of the sources, 
who are familiar with the utility's ongoing, private debt restructuring 
talks and requested anonymity. Citi sold its loan to Solus Alternative 
Asset Management, the sources said. Solus replaced Citi in an April 30 
forbearance agreement with PREPA's lenders posted on the website of 
Puerto Rico's Government Development Bank (GDB).

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