Letters & Opinion

Puerto Rico: Obliteration and Remorse

AS Hurricane Maria took its toll on Puerto Rico, one can only remain dumbfounded at the carnage left in its trail. I make reference to the word ‘remorse’ for as a young man in 1969, Puerto Rico became my second home for five years as I sought to change and improve my life. My five-year stint in Puerto Rico was nothing short of remarkable and enjoyable. As a family, we were able to integrate ourselves seamlessly into Puerto Rican society.

On the business side, I familiarised myself into international partnerships by the sheer power of the Puerto Rican economy. The robust manufacturing, especially in the field of pharmaceuticals and tourism sectors, propelled Puerto Rico into an enviable destination which encouraged Caribbean people to use it as a stepping stone to the U.S. as virtually all sorts of services were offered allowing travellers to reduce the cost of airfares based on its proximity. Islanders could arrive on an early flight and return home on a late flight having accomplished their needs without costly hotel expenses.

I mull over my pleasant experiences during those years and find it difficult to come to grips with the sad state of an island I once considered home based on the financial and physical deterioration after two successive hurricanes — Irma and Maria. Hopefully, as Puerto Rico has been declared a disaster area by Mr. Trump, special funding will put the island back on track.

We as a people must remain thankful each day when the sun rises and we are able to enjoy the simple things of life which we take for granted. As I complete this article, I am presently on my way to drop off eight Dominican linesmen engaged by a utility company in Anguilla to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. These individuals having arrived at St. Lucia are today travelling on the French ferry to Dominica to experience the ravages of Hurricane Maria on their homeland. What a heart-breaking encounter it will be as they set foot on Dominica today.

God Bless them all.

Michael Chastanet

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