SAN JUAN, P.R. — The message coming out of an investment conference here in February was simple and optimistic: “Puerto Rico is open for business.” Attendees noted San Juan’s crowded restaurants and traffic-choked streets. The capital city seemed to be bustling.
But more than five months after Hurricane Maria plowed through Puerto Rico, some parts of the island are still in the dark. It is a long, long way from being back in business.
The annual conference itself — designed to showcase the United States territory’s business opportunities — had to be rescheduled because of the slow pace of the recovery. As it was, attendance was down. The billionaire John A. Paulson, a major hotel owner on the island and a featured speaker at previous conferences, wasn’t there. Nor were other prominent hedge fund managers with investments in Puerto Rico.
Everywhere you look, there are reminders of how long it will take for the economy to get back even to the beleaguered state it was in on Sept. 20, when Maria hit as a powerful Category 4 storm.Read more