Puerto Rico – Getting Help, Painfully Slow
Donald Trump’s Long Term Puerto Rico Plan?
Every morning this week the news is filled with sad and sometimes bitterly painful stories flooding out of Puerto Rico. People are starving, dying, and help has not made its way as quickly as it did to Texas and Florida.
A lot of people, myself included sat back and wondered in awe about Trump attacking the NFL when he should have been attacking what is going on in Puerto Rico last weekend. I mean really, that took some major stupidity on Trump’s part.
It’s all about priorities and Puerto Rico is part of the United States, I believe attacking the NFL could have been put on the back burner no?
Currently, you can’t just fly help to Puerto Rico, and from what I gather ships were sitting at the port this morning not unloading at all. Some have reported that over 10,000 containers with supplies in them are just sitting at the port, sitting!
That is an answer that is layers.
First and foremost, you have the bureaucratic red tape issues, FEMA and Fed’s have to tour and see things and decide things…which strikes me as silly considering the governor of Puerto Rico and the mayor of San Juan have Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, bless her heart, been on CNN every morning this week having toured the island pleading for help and describing in vivid, sometimes tearful detail the situation as it unfolds, daily.
Those that have been living it already and touring know way more at this stage than FEMA or the Feds.
If it were me, I’d let the governor take the lead on this one.
According to a representative for the governor, only about a fifth of truck drivers have reported back to work at the port, it’s virtually impossible to contact many drivers since cell phone service and electricity are still down, and it also remains difficult to get gas for vehicles because the majority of the gas stations on the island are still currently closed.
Additionally, debris continues to block roads on the island. The infrastructure on the island was already in need of some pretty major repair because hurricane Maria was the second to hit the island this year (hurricane Irma brushed the island prior to Maria).
All around it’s not an ideal situation, at least on the mainland we can get things and people in and out pretty quickly but since Puerto Rico is an island, it dramatically changes the situation and not in a good way.
This morning Trump gave Puerto Rico a 10 day waiver from the Jones Act (a federal law that limits shipping to US ports by foreign vessels), which has left many questioning if 10 days is enough, because under the Jones Act, everything in Puerto Rico tends to cost about twice as much as anything here on the mainland.
With a US territory that has been virtually destroyed by mother nature, all the 10 day waiver does, is allow for more help to come in, in the long run it does not help Puerto Rico in anyway economically which is another part of the equation that has yet to be addressed.
So my question to Trump is, are we sweeping Puerto Rico under the rug here?
Is all of this help now just a band-aid just to stifle the cries for help long enough that we can just sweep Puerto Rico under the rug when the media isn’t looking or are we going to get our priorities straight and help our own out here in the long term?
Can Trump manage to find some part of himself to be a human being long enough to take a slight if not keen interest in helping to rebuild Puerto Rico?
Cristal M Clark