In response to news the the Trump Administration’s 2019 Statement of Administration Policy was proposing the elimination of $600 million for post-hurricane Nutritional Assistance Program in Puerto Rico, calling it “excessive and unnecessary funding,” governor Ricardo Rosselló took to Facebook Live on Thursday afternoon and issued the following statement:
Authorized statement from the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló:
(January 17, 2019 – San Juan) “Today I would like to send a message to the president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump, addressing some troubling information that has been in the national public discussion and that has been included in the President’s Statement of Administration Policy, falsely alleging that Puerto Rico is not in need of any additional recovery funds from the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, including money for the Nutritional Assistance Program.
On September 20, 2017, the world witnessed the worst natural disaster in US history when Hurricane Maria destroyed Puerto Rico. Since then, we have embarked on a long road to recovery, working strenuously and hand-in-hand with different stakeholders.
The Government of Puerto Rico has complied with every single requirement imposed on us in order to receive these funds.
Puerto Rico presented the Build Back Better plan, the Recovery Plan and, as a result, Congress approved the recovery funds for Puerto Rico. Notwithstanding all these requirements, my Administration has been diligent and has not made a request that has not been sustained and justified by data.
We have had to overcome incorrect preconceived notions and had to comply with additional and burdensome requirements that were required of no other jurisdiction.
There is a patent, severe lack of knowledge regarding the inequalities sustained by the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico and of the use of recovery funding in all the reports that have been attributed to your Administration.
Mr. President, all recent reports confirm that your Administration is working towards eliminating recovery dollars for Puerto Rico based on these completely false and inaccurate preconceived notions.
Mr. President, according to this, you are getting the incorrect advice. Puerto Rico has the highest poverty rate, lowest labor participation, highest inequality index anywhere in the nation, and it stems from perennial inequality of Puerto Rico as a colonial territory and inconsolable remarks about taking funding away from vulnerable U.S. citizens only exposes that these thoughts and policies still exist.
I am making a public request to you, Mr. President, to meet with me so I can correct the ill-informed advice and disconcerting notions you are getting on Puerto Rico, particularly on the NAP program which provides much needed nutritional assistance to over 1 million U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico and the use of the recovery funds for payment on the Island’s debt, which is completely false.
The U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico, and around the Nation, await for your response.”