The former Marine and New York City Cop urges Rick Scott to
tap close relationship with Donald Trump to hasten relief
Less than 24 hours after his return from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, and his first hand observation of one of the island’s largest cities still ignored by relief efforts, state Senator Victor Torres (D-Orlando) on Tuesday called on Governor Rick Scott to cut through the red tape stymieing the shipment of emergency supplies.
“The longer we wait, the worse it gets,” said Senator Torres, whose trip on Monday included the delivery of generators, chain saws, and other critically needed supplies to Ponce, Puerto Rico’s third largest city located in the southern part of the island. “The mayor told us yesterday that we were the first government officials to step foot in her city. No one from FEMA, no one from San Juan, and certainly no one from Tallahassee had preceded us in delivering supplies or accessing the situation in this city or its outlying towns.”
Noting the massive amount of water, food, and additional equipment – all critically needed by the people on the island yet lying idle in warehouses in Orlando – Senator Torres added that although Governor Scott emphasizes his close relationship with President Donald Trump, he has not made an effort to use that tie to cut through roadblocks hindering the shipment of stockpiled supplies to areas outside of the island’s capital.
“We’ve seen both the governor and the president fly into and out of the capital, bringing little more than photographers and promises,” said Senator Torres. “This does nothing to alleviate the suffering and the potential death count as supplies remain bottlenecked in warehouses.”
In his visit to Ponce, Senator Torres observed that the people themselves took it upon themselves to clear critical infrastructure, including roads, as well as the landing strip in the city’s airport for air transport. In addition, five of the city’s eight ports are operational, but no supplies are arriving. Senator Torres said that the governor could easily remedy the situation by asking for federal intervention.
“I saw firsthand the desperation that is mounting on the other side of Puerto Rico that has been neglected,” said Senator Torres. “Two weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Governor Scott’s promises of immediate help while he continues to wait for some kind of formal request from Puerto Rican officials are ringing hollow. It’s time for him to get to work.”