Changes Necessary in The Puerto Rico Government System

El Capitolio

El Capitolio

This post is part of How can Puerto Rico Develop an Autonomous Nation 

As mentioned in that blog I will elaborate on the subject of government changes needed in that plan. These changes are vital in order to develop an autonomous and strong nation. The changes I suggested were the following:

  • Eliminate the private sector contribution to political campaigns
  • Eliminate political parties
  • Extend the ammount of time the government officials work if they are efficient
  • Develop a metric system for candidates that is not subjective

The reason for each of my suggestions I will underline here:

1. Eliminate the private sector contribution to political campaigns

  • Problem: Private sector campaign funding is the source of corruption of the government
  • Why? Government officials need funding for their campaigns to be elected, since they receive money from the private sector for this they are in debt with the companies that financially support their parties and campaigns therefore making them prone to become corrupt and extortion and other schemes for government contracting. It is a big double standard to sign a code of ethic saying they cant be bribe when they already received the funds. This is a big problem in our island as contracts are awarded to preselected vendors and at a higher cost to the citizens.
  • Solution: All candidates receive a set amount of budget direct from the government and they are prohibited to receive any donations from the private sector. In todays world Social Media, Local Media and The Internet are the correct way to transmit the candidates plans and message. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SHALL ANSWER TO ITS PEOPLE NOT TO A CORPORATION THAT FUNDS THEIR CAMPAIGN.

2. Eliminate political parties

  • Problem: Political Parties are the second factor that drive corruption and lack of good candidates in the government as officials.
  • Why?: Political parties promote indoctrination instead of individual analysis of candidates. For people its easier to select a party instead of reviewing each candidates plan, ideas and background. Political parties fast track candidates into seats but at the same time restricts the candidates actions to the beliefs or plan of that group.
  • Answer: We should select candidates that go through a process of selection by the government and the people and they should be viewed individually for their background, expertise, ideas and plan; not for what political party they’re part of as this brings no value to the people. GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SHALL ANSWER TO ITS PEOPLE NOT TO A POLICITAL PARTY.

3. Extend the amount of time the government officials work if they are efficient

  • Problem: Government Officials aren’t given enough time to strategize, develop plans and implement them to its full capacity.
  • Why?: No politician elected specially the governors have any true background in their positions. Nothing in the private sector or school can really prepare them for the big undertaking they get when they are assigned. We the people pay for their training as any other job when we elect them. Typically it takes them 1-2 years to be trained and afterwards  develop plans and a road map of how to get there. Typically in year 3 they get the funding and start working on solving issues for us. Problem is year 4 their funding start to get cut as elections are near and they cant compromise long term goals. So they’re initiatives are cut if they are not reelected. Plans change every 4 years in a massive way here in Puerto Rico, this is the major reason we don’t progress in anything. Each politician wants to stand out and make HIS plan. Not follow the plan the other executive brought. Why do we get a sense in the island that nothing ever gets done???? BECAUSE WE BOOT OUR EXECUTIVES EVERY 4 YEARS WITHOUT GIVING THEM CHANCE TO FINISH WHAT THEY STARTED. When we see nations such as Cuba for example. Its leader has learned for being a governor for various periods therefore as a leader he has experience in his current position. Our executive should stay in chair at least 6-8 years so that complex plans and important rollouts can take place those are the things that bring change. The concept is simple: We don’t hire people in our corporations, train them and when their ready to work fire them right?!?!? Because we loose our money and its not practical, then why do we do it in government?. Anti-Corruption can be attacked with other measures I discuss here. Our island is too small, the disruption we get when political executive changes are of HUGE impact to us. In nations such as the United States they make changes at intervals that are not as big as we reelect. They change Senate at a certain intervals and not everyone gets booted so there is a knowledge transfer and a continuity of projects. We must change our bad practices.
  • Solution: Review the elections periods for key positions to longer extended period of time. Use a mechanism that can assess if people are happy every x amount of time. If the are not we can for example in the 4th year have a special election and boot the candidate.

4. Develop a metric system for candidates that is not subjective

  • Problem: Candidates are not being reviewed for their potential, background and capacity in an objective way
  • Why?: Media is focused on how they look physically, what political party they’re part of and how interesting is the feud they have with other candidates and how “strong” they seem.
  • Solution: A Standard website should developed with a standard set of metrics published to the people:
  1. What are their Backgrounds of work and study?
  2. Why are they qualified for the position they are being placed as candidate
  3. What is their work plan?
  4. What are the ideas and solutions they believe will help their nation

Government agencies are corporations as any other. They use our money to provide services to our people, we must be as efficient as we are in the private sector as we are with our government in the sense that we must:

  1. Select the right talent
  2. Prevent corruption
  3. Help them to grow professionally and foster that they succeed
  4. Promote Quality of Service and Work Environment

Please feel free to leave any comment. I do Appreciate feedback good or bad. This link will lead you to the original blog.

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3 responses to “Changes Necessary in The Puerto Rico Government System

  1. There are 2 elements that I will like to address. First, It is impossible to have just one way of thinking, one ideology or in your case one party. When there’s only one way political platform, one ideology, the other ideologies seem meaningless to does in power. Examples, Mao (Communist), Hitler (Nationalist), Stalin (Communist), Castro (Communist), Chavez (Socialist), etc.. In a democracy you have to allow for people to think differently; parties have different platforms, different ideals and we have to let them exist for us not to be extremists. Although I despise that each party have their own agenda and they want to implement it without regards to compromise with other views (to meet in the middle), is the way the democracy works. Change comes with time, it is a slow process; it’s a marathon not a sprint.
    The second one. There’s a reason why democratic countries don’t allow an administration to be in power more than 4 or 8 years. Because you need change, new ideas, new mentalities. If you can’t implement your platform in less than the period you have in power, you don’t deserve to be a politician. Also, when a law or bill gets passed in congress, that law remains and it gets a budget assigned to it to be implemented. No other politician can disrupt the process of that bill or law to be develop. When that happens there’s no continuation, without continuation you get “Corruption”. You can not allow a politician to be in power more than its term due to corruption tendencies after certain period of time. It has happened through out history. over and over.
    I think your points of view are good and well intentioned, but they lack practicality. In a perfect world everything is possible, but unfortunately reality is another.

  2. José Luis I am very thankful for your time reviewing my blog and for your thoughts on the subjects. I will reply to each point for clarification and for your analisys.

    Point 1The proposal is not to have one way of thinking. The proposal is that there is no political party. Your under the model of thinking that government should spread a philosophical ideology. That what your stating is endoctrination. Ideologies are spread in educational institutions. The Governments role is to administer public funds, seed initiatives for the benefit of the people and enhance the way of lifestyle of its nation through a healthy system. They should not mind control population with any philosophy. That has been the mistake in the past and that is why religion / philosophy are taken out of ethical and business practices.

    Democracy is dumb if you don’t educate your people and if you don’t analyze each candidate for what they do and their background you are making a misinformed decision.

    If you segment and destroy the parties power, you don’t have an “administration”. You have individuals with a work plan each that they must comply to. What you are stating is wrong on how we work in Puerto Rico. Please do take some time to analyze these facts:
    – Laws and Initiatives: are not the same thing. A law is something a legislation members brings up to gets reviewed and accepted or denied. Some of them affect us directly some of the laws don’t. They are typically not a major contributor to our welfare as they are just rules in a paper. Yes they can be easily implemented and as easily revoked by the next administration. They just present it again and find a flaw that can be proved or worst change its legal jargon to make it in operant.
    – Initiatives: When a governor says all schools need computers examples it is not a law, it is an initiative. Even if he says this from the beginning of his term when he is elected he doesn’t have the funding. He must make an analysis of impact, get consultants to mount the planning of the project, select vendor that will bid for it and start the bidding process and selection of the key players. The governor must also make his budget plan for all initiatives and identify were he is getting the funds from and what programs are ineffective so that he can kill them and get the money from there or what new income does he have. Once the selection has been done and he gets the funding he can start the implementation. On a fast tracked process where he doesn’t get resistance from legislation, he has the project well defined and he has funding available this gets 2-3 years to start. Now comes implementation. Even if you wanted to build the infrastructure in each school (1,140 schools) in a year there isn’t enough man power to do that in 12 months. So what tipically happens on big proyects such as trains, roads, education programs and other initiatives. They are starting when the elections come. If the new governor has diferent “IDEAS” he targets those and starts taking funds away from them and limiting the prior initiatives growth pattern. eventually stopping them. I have made an analysis due to my expericiences viewing from the inside how this works contractors need contracts on 4-6 years duration to make these things work. These is the way it works in federal government and not in PR. That is why I state that politicians need if they are good at least 2-4 years more in chair so that we can see their works result.

  3. Hi there, I discovered your website via Google at the same time as searching for a similar topic, your site came up, it seems good. I have bookmarked to favourites|added to my bookmarks.

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