Governor creates commission to address crisis in Vieques
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico Public Policy Secretary Ramón Rosario announced Wednesday that Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has ordered the creation of a special commission to meet the most urgent needs of residents of Vieques as a result of the impact of Hurricane María.
The entity will be composed of House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez; Transportation Secretary Carlos Contreras; Public Safety Secretary Héctor Pesquera; Housing Secretary Fernando Gil; and the adviser to the governor on municipal affairs, Omar Negrón.
In addition, three members appointed by the governor will be part of the commission: Dr. Carlos Mellado, a volunteer doctor and native of Vieques; Dr. Sara López, representative of the medical group that serves the island-municipality’s Mi Salud government health insurance patients; and Ivonne Rivera, representative of the 330 Center of Vieques
Executive Order 2017-074 establishes that the members of the commission, who will carry out the work voluntarily, must submit a report with recommendations within 30 days. They will also be responsible for coordinating all recovery efforts with state and federal agencies, and private sector and nonprofit organizations.
“Vieques faces great challenges and serious difficulties in its recovery process, which entails that special attention be paid to the efforts coordinated to ensure the safety and well-being of its residents,” the governor said in a written statement.
The commission must evaluate the needs of the municipality, which include public roads, security, economy, health and housing, to serve as liaison with the respective agencies and intervene to ensure the necessary services are provided to the public.
Last week, the Vieques Municipal Legislature requested the resignation of Mayor Víctor Emeric for his alleged mismanagement of the crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane María and alleged irregularities in his administration.