Michael Healy: “We Won’t Negotiate with the Government”

Michael Healy, President of COSEP. Photo: EFE / Jorge Torres | Confidential

The new president of Cosep says he’s against re-election and will only serve his three-year mandate.

By Iván Olivares (Confidencial)

HAVANA TIMES – Michael Healy is the new president of Nicaragua’s Superior Council of Private Enterprise (Cosep). In his first press conference as the organization’s leader he assured Wednesday that business executives will not sit down to negotiate with the Ortega government until it meets its commitments to restore democratic freedoms and Human Rights.

The agricultural producer promised to carry out his three-year term in office, “not one day more, nor one day less.”

Healy said “we will not sit down with the Government until the issues of justice and democracy are resolved.” He added, “we will work to strengthen the institutional framework, and give an example of unity. Seeking justice, democracy, and development, while advocating for the release of all political prisoners”. Likewise, “the safe return of tens of thousands of compatriots who went into exile.”

He said those business leaders who are in the Civic Alliance, do so as individuals. Not in the name of Cosep, -because the Law of Chambers prohibits the Council from participating in party politics. However, they can in a personal capacity.

Healy reiterated his decision to end re-election in Cosep and “give more functions to the board of directors”. That means, “greater independence to all chambers”, to work on a joint agenda for the future of the organization. One inclusive of the private sector as a whole.

The possibility of consecutive and unlimited re-election of a Cosep president is still in the statutes. It was one of the most recurrent themes throughout the campaign to elect a successor of Jose Adan Aguerri. He completed thirteen years at the helm of the business organization before finally calling it quits. 

Hopes to revamp the business organization’s statutes

Healy promised to focus on reforming the statutes during the first 100 days of his mandate. He hopes to “modernize” them to “modernize Cosep”. This implies redefining the terms, currently three years for the president, and one year for each of the other positions.

Even if the term is shortened, Healy said he would complete the entire term for which he was chosen. “The statutes say it’s for three years, and I’m going to respect them. We’ll see the proposals of the 26 chambers to decide if it is reduced for the future,” he said.

Healy denied that COSEP is weaker for holding its first competitive electoral process in more than 15 years. None of the businesspeople and managers organized in the eight chambers that voted for Mario Hanon, agreed to run for any of the other six positions available on the board.

The new president said, “Cosep came out stronger, because there were two candidates for the first time in 16 years. Today we are focused on demanding justice, democracy, human rights and rescuing the economy. The elections are over, now I will work to fulfill Mario’s and my agendas, which were quite similar,” he noted.

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