Saturday, March 25, 2023

Let’s give Puerto Rico the momentum it needs

By on September 9, 2022

On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane María on September 20, we want to make sure we do not waste any more time rebuilding Puerto Rico, but gain economic momentum. A few days ago, we received a visit from the head of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), Deanne Criswell. And she was the first to admit to the slow pace of reconstruction.

Five years after María, only 1,176 permanent projects have been completed. Yet, she highlighted that Puerto Rico can be seen as a model jurisdiction for the agency, having implemented two new programs on the island – the FEMA Accelerated Awards Strategy and the Working Capital Advance. Criswell also acknowledged that the federal agency has been working very closely with the Puerto Rico administration.

We should definitely take her at her word, and make sure we are seen as a model jurisdiction – not only for FEMA, but for the international business community looking to make sure that FEMA and the government continue to innovate to accelerate the pace of rebuilding, particularly when it comes to energy, our roads, streets, and sidewalks. The hard work of rebuilding Puerto Rico should not fall solely on the shoulders of the federal and Puerto Rico governments. In other words, t is a task for each sector, and a responsibility each and every one of us needs to be willing to take if Puerto Rico is going to have a vibrant future capable of stemming the outflow of our population.

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