Orlando – The Resident Commissioner in Washington, Jenniffer González, questioned today that in the midst of the coronavirus emergency the governor Wanda Vázquez Gaced decided to remove Rafael Rodríguez from the Puerto Rico Health Secretariat.
González said Rodríguez was very effective in handling federal health and He fears that his departure could be interpreted in Washington as a sign of the Puerto Rico government’s lack of competition.
Although she was not a good spokesperson on health issues, the commissioner considers that Rodríguez was effective in managing the Medicaid program – which required starting an anti-fraud unit to normalize access to funds – and in calming the concerns of the federal government after the corruption charges against the former director of the Health Insurance Administration (ASES) Angela Ávila.
Rodríguez generated controversy in his position for minimizing the possibility that the coronavirus would spread to Puerto Rico and making the wrong expressions about when citizens could have access to the coronavirus contagion verification tests.
Amid public pressure over the delay in administering the virus tests, the governor announced Rodriguez’s resignation last night, but it was clear that it was a dismissal.
Commissioner González indicated that in Washington they will wonder why the government of Puerto Rico has dispensed in moments of crisis with the secretaries of Housing, Health and Family, who have had the experience of working this four-year period with the federal government.
“They are things that cannot be taken lightly because they give the impression that the officials are incompetent”, what the commissioner considers has not been the case, he said.
He said he recognized the right of Governor Vázquez Garced to have his trusted officials by his side, but it seems to him that in times of emergencies, “the continuity of the work” is essential.
The commissioner, however, acknowledged that much remains to be done to control the coronavirus pandemic in Puerto Rico.
“More aggressive measures must be taken to control activities and public events … limit visits to senior care centers and educate people on the importance of continuous hand washing, the distance between people and not expose to the more adult population “, he pointed.
He indicated that he decided to stay in Washington, although he had meetings starting Monday in Puerto Rico, since federal legislators have to coordinate the work of many of their employees from their homes, since the intention is to reduce the number of people in the federal Capitol.
Each employee will receive a laptop and a phone so that in the offices of the congressmen there are only a minimum number of people.
Since last Thursday, the Capitol has prohibited the entry of tourists. Only officials and journalists have direct access to Congress buildings.
People who have an appointment with a federal legislator must be escorted by an official from their office.