Puerto Rico in the Last 24 Hours (PHOTOS)-(Everything Is Great Mr. Trump)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WEATHER CHANNEL)

 

Puerto Rico in the Last 24 Hours (PHOTOS)

Oct 20 2017 12:00 AM EDT
weather.com

A home in the village of Juncos, Puerto Rico, is damaged on Thursday, October 19, 2017, as if the storm has just passed. (Teresa Canino/GFR Media/AP Photo)

A month after Hurricane Maria made its catastrophic landfall in Puerto Rico, 1 million Americans are still without running water, and 3 million are without power. The U.S. territory has reported 48 deaths, but some sources say the death toll could be as high as 450. The destruction in many locations looks as if the storm has just occurred.

Below are images of how Puerto Rico looked in the last 24 hours, four weeks after the Category 4 storm slammed into the island.

A man bathes with water funneled with pipes from a mountain stream, after filling barrels of water for his home, nearly one month after Hurricane Maria struck on October 19, 2017 in Utuado, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is suffering shortages of food and water in areas with only 21.6 percent of grid electricity and 71.58 percent of running water restored. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, swept through. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Mourners carry the casket of Wilfredo Torres Rivera, 58, who died October 13 after jumping off a bridge into a lake, three weeks after Hurricane Maria, on October 19, 2017 in Utuado, Puerto Rico. Utuado was one of the hardest hit areas on the island and remains largely without grid electricity or running water. Wilfredo’s family said he suffered from depression and schizophrenia and was caring for his 92-year-old mother in a home without electricity or water in the aftermath of Maria. They believe he did not have the mental and emotional tools to manage the challenges of the storm’s aftermath. The family was concerned and brought Wilfredo to a doctor shortly before his death but they say he was not provided with adequate care or counseling. While the government has ruled his death a suicide, the family believes his death should be classified as a death caused by Hurricane Maria. The official death toll of Hurricane Maria is 48 yet critics believe the actual death toll may be far higher. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Antonio Bonilla, a 60 year old resident of the neighborhood of La Hormiga in Juncos, Puerto Rico, walks among the damage on Thursday, October 19, 2017. (Teresa Canino/GFR Media/AP Photo)

Mother Anais Rivera (right) stands with her three children as a friend (left) assists as they bathe and wash clothes with water funneled from a mountain stream, nearly one month after Hurricane Maria struck, on October 19, 2017 in Utuado, Puerto Rico. Rivera said they have no running water or electricity in their home and she visits the location to bathe, wash clothes and collect water for use at home. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A supermarket is void of any supplies in the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan, on Thursday, October 19, 2017. (Instagram/@lleillei)

Damaged and abandoned belongings pile up along a road in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, on Thursday, October 19, 2017. (Twitter/@camillecardona4)

Debris remains outside a home in Comerío, Puerto Rico, a month after Hurricane Maria. (Instagram/@tarasummers)

Jerry Cruz Calderón is photographed in his home in the sector La Cuesta in Junco, Puerto Rico, on October 19, 2017, a month after Hurricane Maria hit the island. (Teresa Canino/GFR Media/AP Photo)

 

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Energy Company In Hot Water After Trump-Like Twitter Spat With a Puerto Rico Mayor

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

This Energy Company Is In Hot Water After a Trump-Like Twitter Spat With a Puerto Rico Mayor

12:01 PM ET

Looking at President Trump, you might think the rules of politics have changed. After Hurricane Maria, he attacked the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, saying she had shown “poor leadership” and was only criticizing federal aid efforts because she’d been told to by Democrats.

…Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help. They….

The tweet did not go over well — by one measure, it was the third least-popular tweet of his presidency. But Trump never backed down, continuing his attacks on the mayor and other “politically motivated ingrates” until the news cycle had moved on.

One energy company has learned that the old rules still apply, however.

After San Juan Mayor Cermen Yulín Cruz asked for more transparency on Whitefish Energy, a small company based in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown that received a $300 million contract to restore power to the island, it fought back — on Twitter.

First, the company said that it shared her frustrations with the slow pace of progress but felt her comments were “misplaced.” Yulín Cruz then responded, tweetingthat she is not the only person who has raised questions.

“What is it about women having an opinion that irritates some?” she wrote.

The company fired back: “We’ve got 44 linemen rebuilding power lines in your city & 40 more men just arrived. Do you want us to send them back or keep working?”

This exchange was so Trumpy the President himself could have drafted it. Facing criticism, the company doubled down, a common strategy for the commander in chief. When a question was raised about sexism, it responded by using variants on the word “men” twice.

And that’s where the comparison with Trump ends. After the company faced a barrage of criticism, the governor of Puerto Rico asked an inspector general to look into how it got the contract and said there would be “hell to pay.” Congressional Democrats sent their own letter.

“Whitefish is primarily financed by a private equity firm that is run by a contributor to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. We’re concerned that Whitefish might have overstated its connections with the Trump administration to obtain the contract,” eight Democratic lawmakers wrote in another letter to the Interior Department’s inspector general.

A copy of the company’s contract leaked which appeared to show that the government cannot audit the company’s labor costs or profits.

$332.41 per person for accommodations *each day*

$79.82 per person for food *each day* pic.twitter.com/jX51fRDZWf

Whitefish contract states, “In no event shall [government bodies] have the right to audit or review the cost and profit elements.” Wow. pic.twitter.com/dIyQXb6AK0

View image on Twitter

The Federal Emergency Management Administration even weighed in, saying after an initial review it “has not confirmed whether the contract prices are reasonable.”

In short, following Trump’s playbook has already landed Whitefish in a lot of hot water, and things are just getting started, which is why the company has already done the least Trumpy thing possible: It apologized.

Trump may get away with attacking, tweeting, doubling down and never apologizing. But he’s the President, and barring any unlikely scenarios, he’s in office through January of 2021 at least. Everyone else in politics — especially companies with contracts at stake — is still bound by the old rules.

It Is Time To Totally Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Infrastructure Right Now

It Is Time To Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Infrastructure Right Now

 

Okay America, Okay politicians in D.C. it is time to step up and do the right thing for a group of 3.3 million poor American citizens who happen to call the Island of Puerto Rico home. If you check into the rebuild in the much more affluent rich folks playground of the American Virgin Islands you will notice they are well ahead in the cleanup efforts being conducted in Puerto Rico.

 

One of the issues that Donald Trump ran for President on was that he was going to invest in and fix Americas crumbling infrastructure. Fixing our nationally crumbling infrastructure is a great way to create good paying jobs plus gives the people a more viable secure living condition. Right now, President Trump needs to live up to his campaign promises on this issue. Now is not the time to put in some straggled patch work projects in Puerto Rico, now is the time to rebuild it into a quality place for human beings to work and live within. Hurricane Maria plowed the fields of the old, it is now, right now, time to invest the 95 Billion or so odd dollars that the ‘professionals’ say it will take to fix what is broken. So, Mr. Trump, stop Tweeting, shut the hell up and just do your job. Fix what has been broken under your watch. You campaigned on infrastructure rebuilding, you did not say you only wanted to rebuild the neighborhoods of your personal friends on the American tax payers dime. But then again we the people have become quite accustomed to you being an habitual liar. Just like the other trash in your personal swamp.

Puerto Rico’s Misery, Four Weeks After Maria

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Puerto Rico’s misery, four weeks after Maria, seems like it may never end

Updated 4:49 PM ET, Wed October 18, 2017

(CNN)The misery never ceases. And for millions of people in Puerto Rico, the future holds little promise of hope.

Four weeks after Hurricane Maria laid waste to the American territory, the islands remain in a state of acute crisis. Each day, the most basic elements of modern life — potable water, electricity, medicine, phone service — fade further into memory. And each night, infants and schoolchildren and working parents and elders close their eyes with nary a sense of when civilization might return.
Some call conditions nothing short of apocalyptic. And yet, the plan for recovery remains as murky as the filthy water some residents have scooped up to drink. Here is a glimpse four weeks into the disaster:

Source: CIA Factbook; CNN; Puerto Rico government. Moody’s Analytics

Desperate Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Desperate Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site

Story highlights

  • More than 35% of Puerto Ricans are still without safe drinking water
  • The island’s water utility is distributing water from a Superfund site

Dorado, Puerto Rico (CNN)Jose Luis Rodriguez waited in line Friday to fill plastic jugs in the back of his pickup truck with water for drinking, doing the dishes and bathing.

But there is something about this water Rodriguez didn’t know: It was being pumped to him by water authorities from a federally designated hazardous-waste site, CNN learned after reviewing Superfund documents and interviewing federal and local officials.
Rodriguez, 66, is so desperate for water that this news didn’t startle him.
“I don’t have a choice,” he said. “This is the only option I have.”
More than three weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged this island, more than 35% of the island’s residents — American citizens — remain without safe drinking water.
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It’s clear some residents are turning to potentially risky sources to get by.

Jose Luis Rodriguez

Friday afternoon, CNN watched workers from the Puerto Rican water utility, Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, or AAA, distribute water from a well at the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Site, which was listed in 2016 as part of the federal Superfund program for hazardous waste cleanup.
Residents like Rodriguez filled small bottles from a hose and piled them in their vehicles. Large trucks with cylindrical tanks on their backs carried the water to people elsewhere. Some of the trucks carried the name of the municipality of Dorado. Others simply were labeled with the words “Agua Potable,” Spanish for potable water.
In announcing the addition of the Dorado site to the Superfund program, the US Environmental Protection Agency says the area was polluted with industrial chemicals, including tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, which “can have serious health impacts including damage to the liver and increasing the risk of cancer,” according to the EPA.

EPA ‘gathering more information’

It’s unclear whether there are public health risks from this particular well, however.
The EPA said it plans to do testing in the area over the weekend.
“The EPA is gathering more information about the quality of water from the wells associated with our Dorado groundwater contamination site, as well as other Superfund sites in Puerto Rico,” the agency said in a statement issued to CNN on Friday. “While some of these wells are sometimes used to provide drinking water, the EPA is concerned that people could be drinking water that may be contaminated, depending on the well. We are mindful of the paramount job of protecting people’s health, balanced with people’s basic need for water.”
Regional EPA spokesman Elias Rodriguez confirmed the location is part of a Superfund site.
Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, the water authority, was unaware that this well site was part of the Superfund program until CNN provided maps showing that this was the case, according to Luis Melendez, sub-director for environmental compliance at the utility.
Melendez maintained the water is fit for public consumption. The well was opened on an emergency basis and is not part of the regular drinking water supply, he said.
In 2015, this well in Dorado, which is located near a shopping center, was found by the EPA to be safely within federal standards for PCE and chloroform, two industrial chemicals.

‘I’ve never seen this before’

Martyn Smith, a professor of toxicology at the University of California, Berkeley, told CNN the levels of PCE and chloroform would be essentially safe for human consumption. “I wouldn’t have any problem in drinking this water if these were the only chemicals in it,” he said. The problem with Superfund sites, he said, is that you don’t know what else is present.
“I’ve never seen this before,” he said, referring to the idea a Superfund site would be used as a source of public drinking water. Boiling the water, he said, would reduce possible contamination. And it’s somewhat understandable, Smith added, that people in Puerto Rico would turn to possibly questionable drinking water sources given the scope of the crisis.
Still, a Superfund site — a location with known health risks — is just about the last place a person would want to turn to find drinking water, even in a crisis, said Erik Olson, head of the health program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group.
“There are thousands of chemicals out there that could be in a Superfund site and only a relative handful are covered by standards,” he said. “What I would be worried about is stuff that isn’t showing up on EPA’s drinking water standards. It just sounds really risky to me to be serving water out of a Superfund well.”
People waiting in line for water on Friday were largely unaware of these concerns. Some of them had heard the EPA announced this week that it had received reports that Puerto Ricans were getting water from Superfund sites. But those interviewed assumed that wasn’t this well.
Mayra Perez, a 59-year-old retiree, expressed pride in the quality of the water.
“I’m sure there are no chemicals in this water,” she said.
Aixa Chevere, a mother of two, said she would find a new source of water if this site was shown to be contaminated. Already, the family spends three to four hours per day waiting in lines for basic services and goods, including water. “We would boil the water or search for bottled water” if it were dangerous, she said. “We would find some other alternative.”
That day, however, she loaded the water into her trunk of her car.

Puerto Rico Here Are The Reasons You Don’t Matter

Puerto Rico Here Are The Reasons You Don’t Matter

 

Folks these are just my thoughts on the reality of what is, showing them does not mean that I agree with the Theology. Our Media here in the U.S. has been neatly formed into creating an atmosphere of all things being seen in only Black and White. We know that Hollywood shows say the world is ‘gray’, not black and white, how often do we hear of anyone else though? I am just going to give you my thoughts on why things on the ground in Puerto Rico are the way they are. Give it a read, see if we agree any at all on these issues.

 

I am a white guy who has traveled all over the lower 48 and several thousands of miles in Canada. Though I have been all over the Border with Mexico, I have never been over into Mexico. I am not a racist person at all, I know that there are good intention-ed and bad intention-ed people in every race and skin color. My faith system is what I would call Fundamental Christian, I do know that there are some who will disagree. I have never felt that any one skin color was more beautiful than another but if I had to guess it, it has to be brown. The real world isn’t just Black and White, its Brown. White folks, especially during the summer try their best to get a good golden brown tan for the winter. Come to think of it these days, aren’t most ‘Black’ folks really, Brown?

 

By paragraph number one you can see that I am saying that it is my opinion that race is an issue here to varying levels. The second issue I am trying to highlight is that one of the reasons that Puerto Rico is still in the horrible condition it is in is because they were and are, a very poor group of people, and they are not Black or White. The third issue is that there are some folks in the U.S. who feel that being you are not even a State, we don’t really have to help you at all. There are many people here in the U.S. whom would like to see Puerto Rico to become our 51st State, I am one of those people. I say this because once again the people of Puerto Rico recently voted to become one of our legal States, let’s let them folks. They are already Americans, without a State-Hood.

 

Is it not a bit odd that we have a President who is all about making himself more money, and a huge amount of his wealth comes from real estate, yet there has been no overt talk of ‘re-building’? This is the perfect opportunity to completely, re-build Puerto Rico from the ground up? This is the perfect chance to remake this island. Re-build the infrastructure, rebuilding new homes and businesses, huge investments, in the people of Puerto Rico. This is when we American folks need to stand up and do the things we say we are made out of. This huge investment now is very pale when you compare it to the cost of sitting on trillions in cash, letting people die, and doing nothing. This is a case of ‘the haves’ in D.C. telling the ‘have not’s’ in Puerto Rico no, no because you are neither Black of White so the ‘Race Card’ isn’t being played. No because you are poor, we are not going to spend our money on the likes of you. Then number three, you’re not really ‘real’ Americans after all. America and our Government need to show the people of Puerto Rico and the whole world exactly how much they really care about you. By doing or by not doing, the story is shown.

Puerto Ricans scramble for food and water 3 weeks after Maria !!!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Puerto Ricans scramble for food and water 3 weeks after Maria

Weeks after Maria, survivors scramble for food and water

Story highlights

  •  Ninety-one percent are without power on US commonwealth
  • More than 36,000 Puerto Ricans have gone to Florida since October 3

(CNN)Thousands have fled Puerto Rico in the three weeks since Hurricane Maria hit, but for the millions remaining the struggle for life’s basic necessities seems to be never-ending.

Many travel hours in search of food and bottled water, only to find empty shelves at most grocery stores.
“I’ve never seen this in my life, never in my life,” Emma Ramirez told CNN affiliate WAPA.
Fuel shortages made it difficult to deliver food in the first days after the hurricane, forcing many stores to close. They have since reopened, but supplies of food remain low.
The food supply chain has emptied, and “resupplying it (will) take some time,” Manuel Reyes, vice president of the Puerto Rico Chamber of Marketing, Industry and Distribution of Food, told the TV station.
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Still no power, no water

Food shortages are among the myriad challenges facing Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents in Maria’s aftermath.
Power outages and a shortage of drinking water have plagued the US commonwealth as well. Many communities remain cut off from the world, with no phone service and roads blocked.
Ninety-one percent of Puerto Ricans were without power Friday, rising from 83% the previous day. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, attributed the drop of those with power to a failure in the central system. There is no Internet, no way to get cell phones working, and limited ways to communicate or get information.
More than 1.2 million people are without potable water. Some people line up daily to fill up buckets with water from tank trucks, while others collect water from mountain streams.

Dead animals in Puerto Rico water, mayor says

Dead animals in Puerto Rico water, mayor says 01:27
The US Environmental Protection Agency recently revealed that some desperate Puerto Ricans are trying to break into wells at hazardous waste sites just to get water, even though it’s unsafe to drink.
Two people have died of leptospirosis, a disease that spreads when the urine of infected animals gets into drinking water. This public health threat won’t be fully mitigated, the EPA said, until waterways and infrastructure are repaired and power is restored.

What is the government doing?

The US House of Representatives approved a $36.5 billion disaster aid package Thursday for victims in Puerto Rico as well as resources for those in Texas, Florida and the US Virgin Islands still recovering from Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.
On Friday, House Speaker Paul Ryan will lead a bipartisan delegation visiting Puerto Rico, according to the speaker’s office.
Some 19,000 civilian and military personnel are supporting the federal relief mission, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The Army Corps of Engineers is installing power generators and temporary roofs to damaged structures.
This week, FEMA also approved a $70 million assistance package for the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority for emergency repairs.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, the target of President Donald Trump’s ire after she complained about the federal response, told CNN on Thursday she doesn’t still have all the help she needs but that recovery has improved.
“Ever since last week when a new chain of communication was given to us by Homeland Security, accountability has improved and things are starting to improve,” Cruz said. “I can now see the light. Imagine the light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t see it yet, but I can imagine it.”

Thousands flee to Florida

More than 36,000 Puerto Ricans have arrived in Florida since October 3, the state’s Division of Emergency Management said.
Representatives of FEMA and local charities as well as loved ones are welcoming evacuees at airports.
The state has set up disaster relief centers to help evacuees get medical attention, shelter, clothing and food.
Authorities have estimated that 100,000 Puerto Ricans will arrive in Florida in the storm’s aftermath, Ana Cruz, a coordinator with the Orlando’s Hispanic Office of Local Assistance, told CNN affiliate WKMG.
“I know what they’re going through. That’s why we’re here — to help, to assist and to guide,” Cruz said.
High unemployment, along with better job opportunities on the US mainland, already had pushed Puerto Ricans to pick up their bags and move, mainly to Florida and Texas, according to the Pew Research Center.
The island’s population declined to 3.4 million last year from 3.8 million in 2004.
Florida schools are already seeing an influx of students.
At least 90 students have enrolled in Miami schools, while about 128 students have done so in the Fort Lauderdale area, CNN affiliate WPLG reported.
“They’ve been quickly adapting to our schools,” Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told WPLG. “We are working to transition the kids into the South Florida community.”

Puerto Ricans Bash President Trump Over Hurricane Maria Comments: ‘He’s a Piece of Trash’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

Puerto Ricans Bash President Trump Over Hurricane Maria Comments: ‘He’s a Piece of Trash’

Updated: Oct 02, 2017 12:23 AM ET | Originally published: Oct 02, 2017

(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — Outside of official events, many Puerto Ricans say they won’t be welcoming President Donald Trump with open arms during his visit to the storm-wracked island on Tuesday.

People in the U.S. territory were angry or dismissive Monday when asked about Trump’s description of some Puerto Ricans who have criticized the U.S. government’s aid after Hurricane Maria as “ingrates” and about his assurances that the relief effort is going well.

“He’s a piece of trash,” Rachel Cruz, a linguist, said as she head home after buying groceries in the capital, San Juan. “He makes a fool out of himself and a fool out of his country.”

Cruz said Puerto Ricans are furious with power still cut off on most of the island, schools and many businesses closed, and much of the countryside struggling to find fresh water and food, but she said even the angriest were unlikely to openly insult the man ultimately responsible for helping them.

“The majority of people here feel that way, but we have to be more balanced because we need help,” she said.

Even those happy with the federal aid effort for the U.S. territory’s 3.4 million people said they resented Trump’s tweets about some Puerto Ricans being lazy and ungrateful.

“We appreciate all the help that we’ve received, but his comments are not true,” said Nancy Rivera, a private school principal who was out buying bread. “We don’t deserve that.”

Rivera and her husband live in the north coastal town of Toa Baja, which was one of the hardest hit by Maria and where dozens of people had to be rescued from rooftops amid widespread flooding. The couple has moved temporarily to their son’s apartment in San Juan.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello, however, praised federal and state officials for the resources and help they have provided, but he also noted that Puerto Rico has long been struggling because of its territorial status.

“I invite all of you to consider, to think of Puerto Ricans as your constituents,” said Rossello, who supports statehood for the island. “Think about it as a moral imperative because we are U.S. citizens but more importantly, we’re all equal as human beings.”

The governor said water service has been restored to about 50 percent of customers across Puerto Rico. Rossello said he hopes 25 percent of electricity customers will have power by the end of October. Officials have said power would be restored to the entire island before March.

Rossello also announced that the wait time to buy gasoline had diminished from seven hours to one hour around San Juan in recent days and that nearly 40 percent of cellphone clients have service.

Many Puerto Ricans, including Noelys Martinez, a call center worker, expressed doubt that Trump’s visit would change anything.

“The lights are not going to come back on because of him,” she said as she strolled near a park eating ice cream.

Angel Tomas Crispin, manager of a convenience store that was doing brisk business as people sought to restock basic supplies, didn’t have kind words for the president. “Donald Trump is not the solution for Puerto Rico,” he said.

Crispin said he was angered by Trump’s comments about the island. “All this money he has, and all the education he has, and he’s ignorant.”

Luis Torres, a retiree taking an evening walk with his wife, Marina, said Trump isn’t welcome.

“As far as I’m concerned, he shouldn’t come,” Torres said.

His wife nodded aggressively.

“He has expressed himself in such a disrespectful way. Extremely unnecessary and extremely insensitive,” she said. “It’s very sad.”

Trinidad & Tobago Citizens Continue to Help Hurricane-Ravaged Dominica 

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Clapping Back Against Online Xenophobia,Trinidad & Tobago Citizens Continue to Help Hurricane-Ravaged Dominica 

An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 (HSC-22), attached to the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), performs humanitarian aid operations on the embattled island of Dominica following the landfall of Hurricane Maria. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael Molina/Released)170924-N-VK310-0009. Via the Official U.S. Navy Flickr Page, CC BY 2.0

In the wake of the devastation left by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Trinidad and Tobago, along with its neighbours across the archipelago, have banded together under the #OneCaribbean hashtag, sending supplies and other relief to the islands most adversely affected and creating a sense of community.

But solidarity isn’t the only thing that the disaster has inspired. After Trinidad and Tobago’s prime minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, offered accommodation to Dominican hurricane victims whose homes had been destroyed, saying immigration restrictions would be waived for a period of six months, xenophobic comments began to spring up on social media.

With government critics questioning whether the country should be opened up in a period of economic recession, some of the backlash has been perceived as politicalpartisanship. Many netizens were taken aback at the level of hatefulness and wasted no time in calling it out.

Leslie-Ann Boiselle posted this status update on Facebook:

A public status update by Facebook user Leslie-Ann Boiselle, who said, “Seeing such putrid hatred, insensitivity and downright callousness aimed at those who are in dire need is so disappointing.”

And Patricia Worrell added:

I have NO political bias in favour of any party right now. I watch all with cynicism, and listen to the utterances of each with a ton of salt.
Nonetheless, the comments about PM Rowley’s response to the Dominica situation on one political party’s page are stomach turning!
And no intervention by any person in a leadership position in that party to suggest that the hatred expressed on that page, and directed against a suffering people in the name of politics is wrong?
Nah! I think people may have reached an all-time low there!

Historical context

The blog Politics868 likened the reaction to the United States’ reluctance to welcome European Jews on the eve of World War II. Compared with other countries’ responses to recent migrant crises, it argued, “a mere 2000 Dominicans is nothing to get bothered over”.

Attorney Ria Mohammed-Davidson wrote in to blog Wired868, saying:

The visceral responses which this decision has provoked betray an unfortunate lack of awareness of the full panoply of rights contained in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, particularly the right to free movement under Article 45. This right was further concretised in the 2007 Heads of Government decision which granted to all CARICOM [Caribbean Community] nationals an automatic, six-month stay upon arrival in any Member State.

Facebook user Rhoda Bharath added:

Since the 1770s Trinidad and Tobago, whether as a colony or Independent nation has allowed immigrants through co ordinated programmes.
We have had political refugees.
Labour/economic refugees.
People fleeing religious persecution, wars, poverty.
Post Independendence we continue to have immigrants and refugees for one reason or another of all nationalities.
Immigrants have always been an integral part of our development as a society.
The PM has offered 6 months of safe refuge to our neighbours….and the xenophobia and prejudice I am seeing blows my mind.
Keep rationalising hate and ignorance!
#HurricaneMaria
#TrumpTrinidad

However, Facebook user Dave Williams remembered a time that one former leader of a PNM government — the current ruling party in Trinidad and Tobago — had been less than charitable to Haiti, another of its Caribbean neighbours.

Keith Francis issued an apology on behalf of his countrymen:

Dear Dominica,
On behalf of all of the right-thinking Trinbagonians among us, I apologise for our having here persons who are less charitable and more ungracious in your time of trouble. They do not represent the majority of us. We are collectively better than what you have been made to observe.
You are welcome here, and we will do what we can to help you even as we face challenging times ourselves.
#kthxbye #SeeYouSoon #BeCaribbeanStrong
Luv,
The Me
CC: Antigua, Venezuela, St. Lucia, Grenada, Haiti, and everyone else that small-minded and dirt-hearted Trinbagonians have offended in the past.

Such a myopic stance also struck other Facebook users as ironic, especially considering that Trinidad and Tobago’s national anthem includes the lines, “Side by side we stand, islands of the blue Caribbean Sea”. Originally intended to be the anthem for the failed West Indies Federation, the piece was adapted for Trinidad and Tobago when it became independent in 1962.

A deeper malaise?

Keston K. Perry, writing at Wired868, suggested, however, that the response — while lacking “empathy and consideration” — could also be interpreted as a symptom of “a deeper sense of disenfranchisement that some Trinbagonians may be feeling at the moment”.

He bashed both sides of the political divide, arguing that “the reactionary xenophobia appears to share common strands—perhaps from a feeling of loss of power and control over their material, political and economic circumstances”, and dismissing the view that the reaction was rooted in racism:

While the rhetoric from government ministers has been that the burden of adjustment is being evenly distributed, for many regular citizens and families who have to hustle to survive, that is simply not the case. It is, therefore, possible that the irrational and xenophobic reactions to the PM’s invitation to fellow CARICOM nationals may well be other attitudes in disguise.

The regrettable insensitivity towards Dominicans has to be seen in the wider context of heightened economic insecurity, an instinct by some for self-preservation or the expression of the little power that access to social media affords the have-nots.

Leadership is certainly manifested by showing some compassion to and solidarity with our Dominican brothers and sisters, by offering them some respite and hospitality even for a short period of time. In the wider scheme of things, however, leadership must also take cognisance of the fact that the current economic policy agenda—which favours business interests—has not, even in the best of circumstances, really served the people of this two-island nation.

Banding together

Still, many netizens were having none of it. The hashtag #IStandWithDominicastarted being used on several social media platforms. Journalist Soyini Grey commented on Facebook:

FYI an environmental refugee isn’t a criminal, or criminally-prone. And they may not want to relocate permanently.
Also, immigrants can be good for your economy.
Think, people. Think

Nicole Philip Greene advised:

Pay no attention to the noisemakers and fearmongerers. Do not let them dishearten, confuse or divide you.
There are A LOT of Trinis working quietly doing what they know is right for our neighbours. Giving of time, effort and supplies.
And not just because we know ‘There but for the grace of God…’ but because we still have a heart. We still know what is right.
🇹🇹 🇩🇲 #Hope #BeCaribbeanStrong #IStandWithDominica 🇩🇲 🇹🇹

Stories being shared on social media pages supported this — for every negative comment, there seemed to be many more accounts of generosityheroism, and assistance.

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Relief efforts in Dominica coordinated today by Ministry of National Security Divisons, Caribbean Airlines Ltd and NGOs.

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TTDF rescues family in Dominica. They were living in a car in the middle if nowhere since the hurricane.

Several netizens expressed a desire to host Dominicans in their homes, and more than 100 regional performers got together for the “One Island” concert, held in Trindad’s capital city on September 24, 2017, which was the 41st anniversary of Republic Day. The proceeds of the concert go towards hurricane relief efforts in the region, and scores of Trinidad and Tobago-based churches, schools, charitable and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) continue to send containers with supplies and other relief materials to the citizens of Dominica.

The Global Voices Caribbean team is interested in curating citizen media stories of hope, community and resilience after the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria. If you have a story, video, or image that speaks to how the Caribbean is bouncing back and banding together during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, please hashtag its country of origin and which hurricane affected it, and add the following hashtags: #OneCaribbean, #CaribbeanResilience and #CaribbeanStrong. You can also contact us on Twitter (@gvcaribbean) or send an email to our regional editor at [email protected]

President Trump Suspends ‘Jones Act’ In Effort To Get Help To Puerto Rico Quicker

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Washington (CNN)The White House has authorized a waiver to loosen shipping rules regarding Puerto Rico that island officials say would be a significant help for recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria.

“At @ricardorossello request, @POTUS has authorized the Jones Act be waived for Puerto Rico. It will go into effect immediately,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted Thursday morning.
Her tweet comes after Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said he asked the White House to loosen the regulations Wednesday night.
He joined the growing list of officials who argued that lifting the the Jones Act — a federal law designed to protect the financial interests of US shipbuilders by limiting shipping by foreign vessels — would help expedite supplies to the ravaged island. The act has had the unintended consequence of making it twice as expensive to ship things from the US mainland to Puerto Rico as it is to ship from any other foreign port in the world, according to Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain’s office.

Trump weighs lifting Jones Act for Puerto Rico

Trump weighs lifting Jones Act for Puerto Rico 01:01
The act was quickly lifted to help Texas and Florida in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The Department of Homeland Security said it was able to lift the restrictions quickly because the Department of Defense requested a waiver for those states and the department hadn’t yet done so for Puerto Rico.
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.
In the wake of the devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz — along with other US politicians, including McCain and Marco Rubio, R-Florida — had urged the suspension of the Jones Act in order to speed up supply deliveries.