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Friday, February 23, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesDeJongh, Christensen Meet With P.R. Officials to Settle Rum Dispute

DeJongh, Christensen Meet With P.R. Officials to Settle Rum Dispute

No agreements resulted from a weekend meeting with Puerto Rican officials to discuss the future of both U.S. territories’ rum-cover over program, but talks will continue over the next few weeks, two of the territory’s top officials said Tuesday.
The meeting comes on the heels of another held last month with House leaders to discuss a proposal introduced by Puerto Rico’s resident commissioner that would change the way rum cover-over revenues — money allocated to the territory and Puerto Rico based on the amount of rum from those territories sold in the United States — will be used.
If the measure, House Resolution 2122, were to pass, it would call into question the two economic development partnerships the territory has entered into with Cruzan Rum and Diageo, maker of Captain Morgan’s Rum, to build or expand facilities on St. Croix and produce rum there for the next 30 years.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Delegate Donna Christensen have led the charge at both meetings, most recently sitting down with Puerto Rican Gov. Luis Fortuno and Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi in to have "open and frank discussion of the issues," according a release from the Delegate’s office.
"We initiated the meeting, knowing that with the extenders on the floor of the Congress this week, it is in all of our mutual interest not to jeopardize the $80 million to Puerto Rico and the $20 million to the Virgin Islands that comes annually with the renewal of these extenders," deJongh said in the release.
The rum cover-program must be renewed by Congress periodically, and the extension of the government’s payment from $10.50 per proof gallon to $13.25 must be continued by the end of the year.
Christensen said media reports and a push on the hill to support Pierluisi’s proposal has threatened the entire program and leaves the extenders up in the air. In meeting with Puerto Rican officials, both she and deJongh "expressed concern over their actions and emphasized that any damage to the program would be detrimental to both our economies."

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