I received the call that no one wants to get at 4:49 a.m. on November 1, 2017. My Father was dead. His last days were spent suffering through the worst natural disaster to hit the Island of Puerto Rico in his lifetime.
Hurricane Maria arrived on the Island on September 20, 2017, with a sustained wind of 64 M.P.H. with a gust to 113 M.P.H. in San Juan. After landfall, wind gusts as high as 109 M.P.H. were reported at Yabucoa Harbor and 118 M.P.H. at Camp Santiago.
The occurrence of the event itself was out of anyone’s control. The preparation for the event, or lack thereof, certainly has been displayed in the indolent return to normalcy for the more than 2 million residents of the island still without power.
The fact that the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) has been used as a blank check for corrupt company officials and politicians for many years was the reason that the island was unprepared for the especially disastrous 2017 hurricane season.
The extensive list of abuses against American taxpayers and the residents of Puerto Rico involving PREPA include:
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) together with Petrobas and Shell Trading (U.S.) Company, Inspectorate America Corporation, Bureau Veritas Holding, Core Laboratories, Alchem Laboratory, Altol Environmental Services, and others being named in a class action lawsuit filed by the residents and businesses in Puerto Rico for falsifying fuel lab results.
Puerto Rico Electrical and Power Authority (PREPA) illegally borrowed $4 billion dollars in a Ponzi scheme that “benefitted the financial community” but left PREPA insolvent.
Allegations that the head of the PREPA fuel purchase office started making direct calls to former President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, to set up sludge oil purchases from Venezuela while billing the utility for high grade oil. The difference in value, said to be hundreds of millions per year, was allegedly kicked back to PREPA’s fuel office manager and distributed to politicians and government officials on the island.
The now cancelled but indefensible contract awarded to Montana's Whitefish Energy included one-sided commitments and stipulations that government agencies cannot review the project's finances. The contract was awarded to a small company from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s hometown.
A culture of corruption in Puerto Rican politics has long existed. It is time for the federal government to extensively audit the questionable business and political dealings of a utility company that has contributed to and exacerbated the worse humanitarian crisis of this generation.
I have created a petition on petitions.whitehouse.gov in an attempt to have a congressional investigation and audit into PREPA started. The request for the White House intervention reads as follows:
The people living in the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico are suffering. The Puerto Rico power utility PREPA, laden with a $9 billion debt load, has filed for a form of bankruptcy. Time after time, PREPA has reached out to banks, obtaining loans and has engaged in the sale of public bonds with the promise of improvements to the Energy Infrastructure on the Island of Puerto Rico. The promised improvements to the power grid, as well as new projects related to the expansion of wind and solar power on the island never materialized in any significant manner. PREPA has been previously been charged in a 2015 class action lawsuit of defrauding its customers. Before the U.S. taxpayer is asked to shoulder the burden of "bailing out" Puerto Rico Utilities, a full audit of PREPA activity must occur.
Please follow the link, sign the petition and say a prayer for the people of Puerto Rico.
Julio Rivera is an entrepreneur, small business consultant and political activist. He contributes to RightWingNews.com and NewsNinja2012.com, and had previously covered boxing and baseball for the now defunct "The Urban News" in his native Paterson, N.J. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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