CPI Sues Puerto Rico Health Department Again to Access Public Information

San Juan – The Puerto Rico Department of Health was sued again this past Monday for not providing public information and ignoring requests for data and reports related to its response to hurricanes Irma and María, the 2020 earthquakes, and Hurricane Fiona. This is the fifth time that the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, in Spanish) has turned to the court to order Health to comply with the right of access to information. “The CPI oversees and continuously monitors the effects and consequences of socio-environmental disasters, especially the public health response to serve populations that depend on electric power services to survive, and the Department of Health has not provided us the information, which we’ve been requesting since October,” said Carla Minet, the CPI’s executive director. The legal recourse for access to public information presented in the San Juan Superior Court requests that the Department of Health and its secretary, Dr. Carlos Mellado López, be ordered to provide the requested information in compliance with Article 4 of the Transparency Act (Act 141 -2019) and the constitutional principles on access to information in Puerto Rico. CPI journalist Eliván Martínez Mercado requested the information from Department spokespersons, which include reports, communications, and corrective plans that must be in the hands of the Puerto Rico Department of Health’s Biosafety Office, which is designated for public health readiness and response.