It has to be said about the people of Puerto Rico: even when suffering in the wake of a great natural calamity, they are full of determination and spirit. The island territory might still be in the middle of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in its history, but still, its government has gotten the audacity to throw its hat into affairs on the mainland. And by that, it means that they too have begun their own overtures to the global online retail giant, Amazon, for having its “HQ2” complex built on Puerto Rico. This would have to be the most long-shot attempt by any location in acquiring that promise of high-paying employment.

Perk for HQ2 in Puerto Rico

The deadline that Amazon gave for the final submission of bids by cities in North America that want to play host to HQ2 passed last Thursday, October 19. As it turns out, the territorial government of Puerto Rico managed to pass their own application, despite still barely recovering from the devastation visited on them by Hurricane Maria. It is that fact, mentioned by the island commonwealth’s Economic Development and Commerce Department chief Manuel Laboy, that makes their bid such a major underdog among all other interested cities in the running.

To sum up the current situation in Puerto Rico, a month after the unwanted visit of Hurricane Maria, the island’s power grid is only 23% restored, and water services are still down in one-fourth of its territory.

But the territorial government is willing to make every effort to smooth over a possible start of Amazon’s HQ2 on their island. Their proposed site is the municipality of Ceiba on the eastern half of Puerto Rico. It is close to the former Roosevelt Roads US Naval Station with its own independent power grid, thus providing constant electricity to HQ2 without being tied to the rest of the territory’s power issues.

Economic recovery needed

Puerto Rico’s determination to make itself the ideal location for HQ2 is understandable. Even before Hurricane Maria struck on September 20, the territory has been languishing in an economic recession lasting eleven years. Last May alone, they filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the US and its associated territories.

Long story short, the storm-battered people of Puerto Rico could benefit from the boon of a 5 billion dollar investment from Amazon, plus the job opportunities both during construction and once the complex is in full operation (50,000 high-pay jobs for the latter).

The island commonwealth’s bid joins no less than 238 individual cities and regions across the US, Canada, and even Mexico, that have presented their case to Amazon for HQ2. Although the deadline has passed, the online retailer is still deliberating on the lucky location.