January 19, 2018

San Juan mayor answers Trump's Twitter attack

02 October 2017, 12:13 | Rodolfo Wallace

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The Trump administration waived the act for relief efforts in Texas and Florida, and came under sharp criticism when it refused to do the same for the us territory of Puerto Rico.

US President Donald Trump has lashed out at the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who has been critical of the federal response to the devastation on the island, saying she was being "nasty" to him.

The Trump administration announced Thursday morning it would temporarily waive the Jones Act, a nearly-century old law limiting worldwide shipping in Puerto Rico.

The Jones Act requires goods sent between U.S. ports to be carried on ships built, owned and operated by the US. It states that any goods transported by water into US ports must come in on ships made in the USA, owned by US citizens, have American crews. It therefore drives up the cost of shipping goods to isolated and faraway places like Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

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"We need to do a lot more in order for us to get out of the emergency", Rosselló said. The decision follows yesterday's request from the governor of Puerto Rico and the Secretary of Defense's determination that a waiver is in the interest of national defense. Foreign ships can dock once in a US port and cannot bounce from port to port delivering (or picking up) goods. "But we have a lot of shippers and a lot of people that work in the shipping industry that don't want the Jones Act lifted, and we have a lot of ships out there right now". Trump had previously waived these restrictions when Texas and Florida needed aid after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma over the summer. As of Wednesday, six of 15 ports on the island remained closed.

The law, known as the Jones Act, limits the number of ships that can be sent to Puerto Rico, a USA territory, and thus the amount of relief supplies that have come in since the hurricane.

He says the hurricane "totally destroyed" Puerto Rico and that "the military and first responders, despite no electric, roads, phones etc., have done an incredible job".

Government officials are also being criticized by Puerto Rican authorities after acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke declared that the federal response to the damage on the island is a "good news story".

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