October 29, 2017
Photo: Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Caribbean News Now) — Governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, has requested the Governing Board of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to proceed immediately with invoking the contract cancellation clause with Whitefish Energy a small Montana firm with two employees, Whitefish Energy, from the hometown of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
According to The Daily Beast, “the private-equity firm that finances Whitefish, HBC Investments, was founded by Joe Colonnetta, who serves as its general partner. Federal Elections Commission data compiled by The Daily Beast shows Colonnetta contributed $20,000 to the Trump Victory PAC during the general election, $2,700 to Trump’s primary election campaign (then the maximum amount permitted), $2,700 to Trump’s general election campaign (also the maximum), and a total of $30,700 to the Republican National Committee in 2016 alone.”
At the same time, the governor said that he will be designating an administrator from the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (FAFAA) to the Purchasing and Supplies Division of PREPA, in accordance with the Financial Emergency and Fiscal Responsibility of Puerto Rico Act.
These measures are in addition to the referral to the Office of the Comptroller of Puerto Rico for a detailed and in-depth investigation of the contracting process carried out by PREPA during the emergency, which allowed for the rapid contracting of services to repair the island’s power grid. Moreover, the governor had already referred the matter to the Office of the Inspector General of the United States.
Also, to make up for the reduction of personnel that will stem from the cancellation of Whitefish Energy’s contract, and to deal with the delay in the arrival of the brigades of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the governor will request a “mutual aid agreement” with the states of Florida and New York.
“I have given instructions to immediately proceed with the necessary coordination with the states of Florida and Ne w York, in order for brigades and equipment to arrive on the island. This opportunity is now presented as an alternative, after conversations with the governor of Florida, Rick Scott; and the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo; and since the USACE has not been able to fulfill its objective in the originally stipulated time,” Rossello said.
“The goals I established are aimed at achieving 30 percent of the power generation capacity. I am grateful for the effort that the PREPA staff is doing together with the contracted companies. These goals are aggressive and require the collaboration of all to be able to have over 1,000 brigades in Puerto Rico by November 8. At the moment, PREPA and its contractors have 404 brigades working on the island, while the USACE has seven,” the governor added.
Rossello also stated that “there can be no distraction that alters the commitment to repair the power grid as quickly as possible.”