Puerto Ricans feel like 'second-class citizens,' says Montrealer stuck on island
- Author: Santos West Oct 02, 2017,
Oct 02, 2017, 0:15
President Trump has waived the Jones Act for storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, allowing foreign ships to bring much-need supplies to the US territory's ports.
The Jones Act requires items shipped between USA ports to be on American-flagged vessels with American crews, which has made the cost of receiving supplies unbearably high for the island commonwealth. Now foreign-flagged vessels also will be able to move shipments from the USA mainland to Puerto Rico and between ports there. Today, the law does nothing to increase America's military readiness - but much to increase the cost of living in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska. With the act waived, supplies that are so desperately needed will be able to be delivered to the island quicker and at less of a cost.
In the first six days after the hurricane made landfall here, the Navy had deployed just two ships, citing concerns that Puerto Rico's ports were too damaged to accommodate numerous large vessels.
He says the hurricane "totally destroyed" Puerto Rico and that "the military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an wonderful job".
Shipping containers with aid have piled up at Puerto Rico's ports and the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Brock Long, acknowledged being dissatisfied also with the federal response.
As for Puerto Rico, President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that "we're thinking" about lifting the law, but added that a "lot of shippers" didn't want it lifted, CNN reports.
In response, the Department of Homeland Security said the Jones Act was waived after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to make up for fuel pipelines that were shut.