8 August 2011
Dear Colleagues and Friends of Puerto Rico,
My name is Mariano Garcia-Blanco. I am a Puerto Rican scientist, Professor at Duke University School of Medicine, and Trustee of the Puerto Rico Trust for Science, Technology and Research (the Trust). I write to you as a concerned citizen because today, in my view, the Trust is under siege by elements within the current Government of Puerto Rico and I need your help to save the Trust.
The Trust was created to guide the development of an economic sector or sectors known as the ‘knowledge economy’, which is globally competitive, is based on technology, and promises high quality jobs. The vision is that this development would complement existing economic engines and would significantly improve the economy of the archipelago. Some positive effects will be felt in the short term, but the greatest promise is for sustained economic health in the long term. Central to this long-term solution is stable governance, which was explicitly and implicitly provided for in the law that created the Trust. Essential for stable governance is autonomy from the government and its political volatility.
Today the Trust’s autonomy is in grave danger as elements within the government want to exercise undue control over the Trust. The rationale, as best as I can tell, is that (to borrow words from a fellow Trustee) the Trust is “a creature of the government”, mostly funded by taxes and, therefore owned by the government. This is a fallacy: whereas the Trust was born from the government – the intent of the law was that the “creature” would grow and become autonomous, not owned by its creator. Let me be clear, I understand that the Government of Puerto Rico should be a strong partner of the Trust, but not its owner. The critical choice at this crossroad is a guarantee of autonomy versus one of government control.
I have been a dogged defender of this guarantee and when the previous administration attempted to undermine the Trust’s autonomy, I worked with our attorneys to establish a sound legal basis for it and, assisted by many colleagues, preserved it.
I implore you to personally assist the Trust by encouraging the press, the administration and the legislature to shed light on this issue and to support the Trust’s autonomy so that it can effectively carry out its mission.
Mariano A. Garcia-Blanco, M.D., Ph.D.
Addresses: the Governor (http://www.fortaleza.gobierno.pr/2011/participa.php
), the Legislature (find the email for you senator or representative at: http://www.senadopr.us/senadores/Pages/Senadores%20Acumulacion.aspx
) respectively, or you can sign the following petition at: