Last week, Caribbean Business ran an article drawing attention to the President’s visit to Puerto Rico and the White House Task Force on Puerto Rico’s report released in March 2011. The President has committed considerable resources to short and medium term policies to promote an economic and political agenda in the Commonwealth.
Much has been made of the Task Force Report by pundits and others in the media. And while very ambitious, the report has significant detractors. Despite the criticisms, hopefully this is a good starting point in developing an agenda for the island and forming lasting relationships between Washington, DC and San Juan.
A few points of interest about the article:
- Commitment to develop the institutional capacity and governance structure of localities and civil service. The article mentions that early reviews and federal-local collaboration have made progress in the areas of public education and housing.
- EPA training of municipal authorities in storm water management. Training is slated to begin sometime next year. Additionally, communities will be selected for pilot programs which will enhance clean drinking water and filtration systems.
- The report details federal assistance programs designed to assist local authorities and companies with complying with the terms of grants they received in telecommunications.
The last bullet point is important for the residents of Puerto Rico. A modern telecommunications infrastructure is essential for Puerto Rico. In order for the ambitious agenda outlined in the Task Force report to have any hope of achieving results, considerable efforts and investments are needed. The island cannot be the transportation, commerce, and green jobs hub without having Puerto Ricans connected to the digital age. Over the last several years, wireless devices have established themselves, but broadband and mobile broadband ratchet up the pace.