Since 2014, Akon Lighting Africa has brought electricity to more than a dozen countries in Africa through solar power. Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria, which knocked out power all across the island, artist Akon submitted a proposal to the government to bring power back to Puerto Rico. “We actually presented a program for Puerto Rico, and we got rejected,” Akon told TMZ. “We have the solution for Puerto Rico… and we could’ve had power back in 30 days. And they rejected us.”
Five months after the deadly storm tore through Puerto Rico, about a quarter of residents still do not have electricity. This has led some Puerto Ricans to get out there and do the work themselves. In San Sebastián, for example, a retired police chief and a few other men came together to restore electricity in their town. Calling itself the Pepino Power Authority, the group fixed downed lines in the center of the town and worked outward. The members could no longer wait for an official entity to get to them, according to NPR.
During his brief interview with TMZ, Akon echoed what many have said about the government’s response. “It’s politics, propaganda, and special interests,” he said. “They didn’t care about the people – if that was the case, they would have allowed us to go in and provide the solution.”