“Why hasn’t our government done something about this?” I asked the question over and over throughout the week, and each time, the answer was hard to digest.
On a recent trip to the beautiful island group of Puerto Rico, I was amazed by the beauty, intrigued by the history, and stunned by the infrastructure.
My husband is a VP for the division of a global energy company that specializes in clean energy. At least a dozen times per day, he stopped to gaze up at the electrical wires throughout the cities and towns we visited. He would just shake his head and say, “That’s so unsafe.” It didn’t surprise him though. Puerto Rico’s electric company is a pariah in the business. The corruption and failure to follow safety standards is well-known in the industry. In fact, one of the upsides of Hurricane Maria might just be that it shed some light on the company’s ineptness.
Unfortunately, nobody seems to care.
On our visit to El Junque Rainforest, we drove to a beautiful waterfall where dozens of tourists were stopping for pictures. Sadly, it was the only place in the national park that we could visit. Why? Maria damaged the rest of the roads and trails. We were told that it would take another two years to make them accessible again. Can you imagine the National Park Service not having Yellowstone or Mount Rushmore back up and operating within weeks of a natural disaster? Why not work as hard to make this park accessible again? Tourists are flocking to Puerto Rico right now, and it’s a disgrace that they can’t fully enjoy this national treasure.
Vieques is a national treasure. A small island of Puerto Rico, it was hit particularly hard by Maria. For some inexplicable reason, the bioluminescent bay seems to have benefitted from the storm, but the rest of the island has not. While the island was packed with tourists, and our trip to the bay was full of eager kayakers, the damage was apparent. Buildings were boarded up, hotels were closed, and streets and sidewalks were in desperate need of repair. Despite the mood of the island and the spectacular views, damage and devastation abounds.
Each time I asked why nothing is being done, I was given a different, sometimes vague, answer. The Puerto Rican Government is corrupt. The Puerto Rican power company is corrupt. The bidding process is corrupt. The United States Government doesn’t care. The people aren’t demanding better treatment and can’t decide which government to support. The people don’t know to whom to turn. The government of PR doesn’t want the US Government to interfere. The US Government doesn’t want to interfere. The PR Government takes most of the federal aid and squanders it on other things. The US doesn’t send enough aid. Every person you ask, from the average citizen to those working on the inside, has a different answer.
And look, I don’t know what the real answer is. I don’t know how much of what the Puerto Rican people are told is true. Heck, I have no idea how much of what we’re told here on the mainland is true. All I know is that we had the pleasure of visiting a true treasure. If only those in charge (on all levels) knew how to take care of that precious gem. The people on all sides of this should be ashamed.
What I was writing about a year ago this week: A Real Boyfriend.
Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018).