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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Governor insists that he is going to prosecute and restore environmental damage in Salinas

By The Star Staff

Governor Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia insisted on Monday that he is going to try to put an end to the situation of squatters and illegal constructions in Bahía Estuarina Jobos de Salinas.

“I look forward to the Justice Department investigating this from a criminal standpoint. I know that the federal authorities are also looking at the matter, it could be that they are investigating on purpose. The important thing here is that once and for all order is put in place, the law is enforced in that area,” the governor said at a press conference.

“Something that I did not say, that I have also authorized, is that as soon as we can, we are going to repopulate the mangroves, that is, replant mangroves in the area. We are going to do this in alliance with non-profit entities that want to cooperate. And that is very important. In other words, not only do we have to prosecute whoever we have to prosecute, but we are also going to remedy. And we will not skimp. Obviously, this has come to light recently, it has generated all this controversy, but as soon as I became aware of it, I gave the guidelines and I am sure that it will be complied with,” he added.

The situation is related to squatters setting up homes at the Jobos Estuarine Bay in Salinas, which was revealed a few weeks ago by Citizen Victory Movement (MVC) Representative Mariana Nogales Molinelli. The House Natural Resources Committee initiated an investigation in which it has been uncovered that fines of $250,000 levied against the squatters, were settled for $3000 dollars. Some campers have left the area and the investigative process, joined by the Department of Justice, continues. Likewise, the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) began the process of disconnecting water service to some of the plots of the Bay.

Pierluisi Urrutia also insisted on Monday that his priority at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic that has been since 2020 impacting the island, is to reduce hospitalizations.

“Now, at this stage of the pandemic, the important thing is citizen responsibility. The people already know what they have to do to protect themselves. Everyone already knows that when you are indoors it is recommended that you wear a mask, be it in an event of this nature or in any meeting, it can even be a family reunion,” the governor said at a press conference.

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