Puerto Rico governor blasts Congress over ‘slow’ pace of the relief effort



Puerto Rico gov. blame the Congress for Hurricane relief delays

Gov. Ricardo Rossello is frustrated, says Hurricane Maria disaster funds are to long to arrive; Bryan Llenas reports from Old San Juan.

The governor of Puerto Rico said Hurricane Maria disaster funds are to long to arrive on the island, and he the blame of the Congress.

“We are treated as second-class citizens,” Gov. Ricardo Rossello told Fox News. “Why is it the same process in Florida or Texas, it takes a week and in Puerto Rico, it takes four months?”

He said hurricane relief efforts in Texas after the Hurricane and Harvey of Florida after the Hurricane Irma were big and fast, but the support to Puerto Rico has arrived at a snail’s pace.


Hurricane Maria, 6 months later

Others on the island are also becoming more and more frustrated by the assistance that they say devastatingly slow to reach the island.

On Tuesday, nearly two dozen Puerto Rican activists were arrested in the U.S. Capitol demanding Congress provide more financial support to the commonwealth. Puerto Rico claims that it is the needs of $94 billion in aid. The congress has appropriated $23 billion to Puerto Rico, but less than $2 billion is sent.

“I want spades in the ground, and things are built,” said Mike Byrne, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “I want to see houses being built to code, and a power system under construction that will withstand a storm.”

Byrne said FEMA’s efforts in Puerto Rico are unprecedented – with $6 billion spent so far. Approximately $16 million has gone to San Sebastian. The mayor said that the reason for the slow recovery was poor planning for the storm, and bad leadership then.

“This city took control of the circumstances,” San Sebastian Mayor Javier Jimenez said, “and we lifted us.”


Photos: Puerto Rico hammered by the Hurricane Maria

Frustrated after not seeing power restored in a month, the city created the volunteer brigades who retired linemen to restore power and clear debris. He said that the problem is not FEMA funding.

“The governor should have acted with more urgency and he should have taken the lead of the utility company,” Jimenez said, “immediately firing those who are not doing their work.”

On Tuesday, the governor appointed the new head of the Puerto Rican Electric Power Authority, the bankrupt in the hands of the government power utility in large-scale the blame for the island, the failure of the electrical infrastructure.

About 5,000 businesses have closed on the island in the past six months, and not expected to reopen.

Johnny Ramos, president of a manufacturing company on the island, said that his company has managed to survive in the past six years, but he is concerned about others who are struggling. Another company in the same industrial park as his business closed recently.

“I can’t sit down,” said Ramos of CNC 2000 Inc., “and put my hands and wait for the government, I have to move.”

On Thursday, the US treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, a meeting with Governor Rossello to discuss the terms of a new $2 billion loan. Mnuchin has said that he wants to ensure the money is serving the interests of the taxpayers, given that Puerto Rico is bankrupt.

Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). Click here for more information on Bryan Llenas. Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas.

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