Puerto Rico governor: We need immediate relief to rebuild

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," October 11, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, "YOUR WORLD" HOST: All right, just give them the check.

The White House asking Congress for $5 billion for Puerto Rico and the recovery efforts post the big storm that really just keeps presenting a lot of big, big hassles for that island.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello joins us right now. Governor, good to have you. How urgently do you need that money?


We need it as soon as possible. That's why we're asking for immediate liquidity relief, which the White House has already asked Congress to pursue.

The Congress as well has abided, and also immediate relief on other areas and other programs that will help us establish a base for our economy.

Later on, we will go on and start working on the recovery package as well.

CAVUTO: Not too long ago, Governor, the president had indicated, when it came to your $74 billion in debt, owed largely to United States creditors, that those creditors, those big brokerage houses, banks should forget about it, and that they're not going to see it back and move on.

What did you think of that?

ROSSELLO: Well, that's the president's opinion.

We are in a Title 3 court case right now. So, we're discussing this with the creditors as we speak. Because we are in that case, I can't talk much about that. But, certainly, there is a process, and we're being part of that process.

CAVUTO: Do you worry, though, that if you were, for maybe very legitimate reasons, Governor, forced to not make good on that debt or make any payments on that debt, that you will get no more lending in the futures, hurricanes or other events notwithstanding?

ROSSELLO: Well, I think everybody understands that this is a game-changer. All right?

When we have the devastation of this hurricane, all of the components -- we had a fiscal plan in place. I had slashed $1.4 billion of our budget.

But, certainly, because now we need to recover and rebuild effectively, not only just put things back together as they were, then that changes the outset.

We're willing to talk, to discuss with all of our stakeholders. But, really, the recovery efforts right now should be -- let's make sure we pass this emergency phase. And let's make sure we have the resources necessary to have runway and rebuild stronger than before.

CAVUTO: Governor, you have been on record as saying that the help in the United States and elsewhere is working out very well. I'm paraphrasing, sir. I hope I'm not misquoting you.

But you're countered by the San Juan major, who has indicated that's not the case, that the administration has not been very helpful.

I'm just wondering, what does she see that you don't?

ROSSELLO: Well, it's really a simple case of logistics and what needs to get here vs. the efforts that are going on.

We recognize that we need to do a lot more. There needs to be a lot more for this rebuilding to be effective. But, certainly, when you talk about having almost 14,000 DOD personnel here in Puerto Rico, over 2,000 FEMA personnel in Puerto Rico, EMACs, almost most 3,000 EMACs in Puerto Rico as well, some of the assets that are coming here from the federal government and the private sector, we have resources to work.

We need to execute and we need to do more. But, certainly, saying that help has not arrived is inconsistent with everything that we're observing.

CAVUTO: Do you and the mayor work with each other on this?

The reason why I ask, sir, is because she's been a frequent critic of the aid of the United States, in Donald Trump in particular. She's worn shirts with the word nasty written across it.

It seems like a pretty nasty relationship. Is it?

ROSSELLO: Well, my job here, Neil, is to work with everybody.

I need to make sure my only focus is results for the people of Puerto Rico. So, I have called the mayor, as I have called other mayors. I have worked together with the federal government.

I want to make sure that outcomes are our focus. Everything else is just noise to me. I want to focus on outcomes. And if I can help the mayor or any mayor, I'm willing to do so.

CAVUTO: All right, I want to thank you very much, Governor Ricardo Rossello, the Puerto Rico governor, joining us out of San Juan.

Be well, sir. Thank you.

ROSSELLO: Thank you so much, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.


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