TMZ caught up with singer and humanitarian, Akon on Saturday to ask him about the recovery situation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. In 2015, Akon became the center of attention for his work in Africa with his Akon Lighting Africa venture. To date, Akon has brought electricity to millions of homes in Africa with hopes of getting that number up to 600 million.
The “Smack That” singer was hoping to continue his work in the U.S. Territory of Puerto Rico after 90 percent of the country was left without power following the mid-September hurricane but ran into problems in his pursuit.
“We actually presented a program for Puerto Rico and we got rejected,” Akon told TMZ. “We have the solution for Puerto Rico, clearly. We would’ve had power up in less than 30 days and they rejected us.”
In looking for a solution to restore power to the island, the Government of Puerto Rico tapped Whitefish Energy to help restore power, but became subject to criticism after reports that the Montana based company was ill-equipped to handle such a big job having only been founded two years prior and had only two employees when they scored the contract with Puerto Rico.
As the new reports came in and criticisms of the mishandling of the situation became greater, Whitefish Energy’s contract was pulled by the government.
Hurricane Maria was the last of three deadly hurricanes in 2017. Texas was hit hard with Hurricane Harvey in late August and Florida was devastated by Hurricane Irma about a week later. Both states were the center of attention by the federal government as they began to restore the damaged parts of the state.
Despite President Trump‘s claim that his government did a “great job” in Puerto Rico, today about 900,000 Puerto Ricans are still without power and many others have been displaced because of the storm.
“It’s politics, propaganda and special interests,” said Akon. “They didn’t care about the people. If that was the case they would’ve allowed us to go in and just, you know provide the solution.”