Judge approves Puerto Rico debt restructuring deal

FE Online Desk | Published: February 06, 2019 12:26:49 | Updated: February 08, 2019 14:54:51

File Photo (Collected)

Puerto Rico, a Caribbean island and unincorporated US territory, has received the approval of a deal to restructure $17.0 billion of the island’s $72.0 billion debt.

Judge Laura Taylor Swain approved the deal on Monday, says a media release.

The approval was the last hurdle creditors and the Puerto Rico's oversight board needed for a plan to address sales tax backed debt known as ‘Cofina’ debt.

"We are worried that not enough debt is being cut and that Puerto Rico's people are carrying heavy austerity burdens," said Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte, who monitors the island’s debt.

"The math isn't adding up. If plans to restructure the remaining debt fail to cut the majority of the island's debt load, Puerto Rico can't see sustained economic recovery and growth," Eric said.

The ruling followed two days of hearings and weeks of deliberation.

In Swain's ‘Cofina’ ruling, the Judge noted objections to the debt plan, such as sustainability and the lack of a complete debt audit.

"Nearly six out of ten kids live in poverty in Puerto Rico and if future debt deals don't cut enough debt, we won't address the child poverty epidemic on the island," LeCompte said.

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