SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO — The territorial government of Puerto Rico was unprepared for the magnitude of Maria’s aftermath.
The governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo “Ricky” Rosselló, has been working hard to manage the situation. His work ethic has been a blessing during this dire time of crisis, and his lobbying of the federal government has been effective to help pressure the federal government to realize that Puerto Rico needs help from Washington yesterday.
But this has not been the same for many of the rest of his team. Most of the Cabinet members are lawyers without any experience in business and crisis management. There is a general feeling amongst the residents of the island that those that are supposed to be in charge are not delivering the correct information and have become isolated from reality.
For example, the government claims that only 16 people have died, yet press reports have shown that the number could be in the hundreds. Reports have come in claiming that neighbors have dug common graves to bury the bodies of those whom have died. This information was confirmed to the Center for Investigative Journalism by Dr. Rafael Rodríguez Mercado, Secretary of the Puerto Rico Department of Health.
I recently wrote an article for BuzzFeed News where mayors of both mayor parties of Puerto Rico criticized the response of the state government.
There have been much criticism towards Mr. Fernando Gil Enseñat, Puerto Rico Secretary of Housing for not having all refuges in the official government list. This means that some refuges may have not gotten food, water and other necessities in these times of need.
These are just a few of the examples that show how unprepared and chaotic life is currently inside the local government. And many, particularly Mr. Gil Enseñat, are wholly unprepared to deal with the complexities of a crisis of this magnitude. And maybe, just maybe, Enseñat came to government with a need to be recognized, and to feel a sense of power, instead of wanting to serve all regardless of affiliation or status.
Although as a libertarian this goes against my core beliefs, I believe it’s time the military step in for a time to bring order, facilitate the flow of humanitarian aid, including the gas and diesel supplies, and take the decision making away from lawyers who are wholly underprepared to deal with this type of pressure.
Edwin Jusino tweets from @erjusinoa.