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The Dominican Republic’s minister of environment and natural resources, Orlando Jorge Mera, was shot dead in his office in Santo Domingo.

Source: Associated Press/Youtube

The suspected gunman was a close friend of the minister, according to officials. The suspected shooter, Fausto Miguel de Jesus Cruz de la Mota, was arrested after he confessed to the crime to a priest at a local church. According to sources, the two men had been in disagreement over an environmental policy.

Jorge Mera is the son of former President Salvador Jorge Blanco, and the family said in a statement, “Our family forgives the person who did this. One of Orlando’s greatest legacies was to not hold grudges.”

Officials from around the country have been giving their condolences and speaking of Jorge Mera’s character and the legacy he leaves behind. Boyan Slat, the founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup tweeted a photo of him and Mera talking as they walk along the sea in the Dominican Republic. “It was an honor to work with him and his team,” Boyan said.

Jorge Mera was first appointed as the head of the Environment Ministry in August of 2020. When he took office, he promised to work for the “responsible” use of natural resources, protect ecosystems, and cut down on the country’s pollution.

In an interview with El Caribe and CDN, Jorge Mera said that he had reported 2,300 cases of environmental permit violations, illegal cutting of trees, and damages to mangroves.

At COP26, in an interview with CNBC International TV, Jorge Mera spoke about how the suffering in the Caribbean nations that are caused by an increase in hurricanes and bad weather that has been brought about by Climate change.

“We must act now, not tomorrow. Now,” Jorge Mera said.

Source: CNBC International TV/Youtube

Jorge Mera will be remembered as an environmental leader for all of the great things that he has done to combat Climate change and move towards a better world. We hope that the Dominican Republic’s next environmental minister will be as dedicated to saving the environment as Jorge Mera was.

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