SIGN and SHARE the petition to urge the Governor and Legislature of Puerto Rico to support a well-funded and independent Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics.
The Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics (PRIS) is the only independent government agency in charge of generating reliable data —over 300 statistical data sets, methods, and results – for Puerto Rico. As the island starts to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, and as Congress debates disaster supplemental legislation, it is more critical now than ever that policymakers and the public at large have access to the most reliable data possible.
However, on January 18th, Governor Ricardo Rosselló and the Legislature of Puerto Rico proposed a government reorganization that would strip the PRIS from remaining independent of political and private interests, allowing for potential manipulation of the data it produces. Puerto Rico’s Senate President has announced the body will take up the legislation as early as Monday. Given the urgency, on February 2nd, fifteen Members of Congress – both Democrats and Republicans – expressed concern over the potential privatization of the PRIS.
To date, the PRIS has done a remarkable job to preserve the integrity of its data and maintain the operational efficiency of the Institute. Ensuring its independence is of the utmost importance in providing greater transparency to the economic, financial and fiscal conditions on the island.
Thirteen months ago in Washington, D.C., the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico made the following recommendation, “The Task Force recommends that the government of Puerto Rico consider appropriating a level of funding to the PRIS that is commensurate with its important responsibilities. The Task Force also recommends that the Institute of Statistics continue to protect its independence (…).”
The American Statistical Association (ASA) has also weighed in: “Government statistics play a powerful role in any democracy. They empower the economy, serve the health and welfare of its citizens, improve governance, and inform decisions and policies in the public and private sector, among many other vital functions.” Privatization efforts can potentially skew the objectivity of the data published by the government to one convenient for private entities. For this reason, we ask you to sign and share this ASA petition, which sends a clear message to the government of Puerto Rico.