Washington, D.C. – The Power 4 Puerto Rico coalition released the following statement in response to reports that the Trump Administration is considering installing a federal official with new jurisdiction over Puerto Rico disaster relief.
Erica Gonzalez, Acting Director for Power 4 Puerto Rico, stated:
“After a year filled with financial mismanagement and unchecked oversight of FEMA’s recovery efforts, the Trump White House appears ready to double-down on a failed top-down strategy by reportedly considering a federal ‘czar’ or coordinator to oversee Puerto Rico's hurricane recovery more than a year after Hurricanes Irma and María flattened the Island.
“Imposing such a top-to-bottom process on a sluggish recovery will only set us back, which is why the Power 4 Puerto Rico coalition has long called for increased local control, transparency requirements, and community participation in the rebuilding of Puerto Rico.
“This is a power-grab by an Administration with a serious lack of credibility when it comes to Puerto Rico's recovery. Hurricane Maria is likely to cost Puerto Rico over $139 billion and counting. Any further mishandling of federal funds comes at a human toll the Island cannot afford. The people of Puerto Rico need answers and a clear strategy before becoming subject to yet another unchecked federal authority.”