(August 5, 2020 -Washington, D.C.) – The Puerto Rico Equality Commission (PREC) submitted written testimony to the Committee on House Administration, Subcommittee on Elections Virtual Hearing entitled “Voting Rights and Election Administration in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Other Territories.” In the document, the PREC provides a background for Law 30 of 2017, and the Commission’s work in Washington, D.C. In accordance with Law 30 of 2017, the Equality Commission was created as an entity comprised of seven government delegates that serve as shadow representatives for the people of the island and advocate on behalf of the admission of Puerto Rico as a state of the Union. The testimony outlines the PREC efforts to increase support for statehood by informing and educating members of Congress, the White House, federal agencies, and the public about the statehood movement.
In the written testimony, the PREC highlights Puerto Rico’s challenging conditions as the island continues to recover from the devastation caused by the 2017 hurricanes, Irma and María, the earthquakes that continue to impact the south daily, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well the current political status of the island. The testimony states that “Congress must address the root cause that connects all these issues, which is the U.S. Government’s 123-year-old failed experiment in territorial colonialism.”
“It is paramount for Congress to recognize the inequalities that affect millions of residents on the island daily. We will continue advocating on behalf of the people of Puerto Rico and providing Congress with the necessary resources and information to evidence the lack of equal rights on the island,” said Chairman Carlos Romero-Barceló. “As a former Governor of the island, I have made it my life’s battle and goal to defend and advocate for what is right. To me, Congress has the opportunity to be on the right side of history or stand idly on the wrong side while millions are treated unfairly.”
As Puerto Rico moves forward with the island’s upcoming general election and the November 3rd plebiscite, the work of the PREC will be vital. We are hopeful that Congress will address the inherent flaws of our political relationship with the 50 states of the Union and our federal government. In the testimony, the PREC states, “the right to vote for your representatives before a legislative body and to have elections conducted fairly are the fundamental and essential elements of any democracy.” The PREC’s main objective is to advance the consideration and determination of the political status of Puerto Rico as a State of the Union, in accordance with Article 4, Section 3 of the United States Constitution. Our priority will continue to be the equal treatment of all Americans regardless of their zip code. We want fair representation for the millions that continue to fight honorably for a free America and call the island home.