Government renegotiates contract with Barrick Gold
Chile to look into legalizing status of undocumented Dominicans
List of those receiving Odebrecht bribes received from Brazil
Odebrecht found fertile soil for corruption in DR
Barricades impede entry to Attorney General Office
After firing, Diandino feels the heat
Preparing for the Sunday Green March in Azua
24-hour strike at IDSS 
Turks and Caicos allows the return of dozens of Dominican fishermen
World Bank report alerts to downside to free higher education
Undocumented Haitians arrested stealing in Santiago
18-year student sentenced to one month in jail
Rains cause havoc in Valverde and Puerto Plata
Cibao FC draws in Trinidad
AgroAlimentaria trade event is 18-20 May 2017
Tropicaldreamsz at Casa de Teatro
Centro León program for International Day of Museums



Government renegotiates contract with Barrick Gold
The Medina administration has announced contract renegotiations with the Barrick Pueblo Viejo gold mine in Sánchez Ramírez province could generate an additional US$181 million in revenues for the government during 2017-2019. The renegotiation was carried out by technicians from the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Taxation Agency (DGII). 

The government reported that Barrick had presented estimates for revenues for US$446.9 million that were then increased to US$628 million, providing for the additional revenues for the government. 

https://presidencia.gob.do/noticias/...us181-millones


Chile to look into legalizing status of undocumented Dominicans
The Ministry of Foreign Relations (Mirex) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Chile for cooperation in migratory and consular affairs that could affect the status of thousands of undocumented Dominicans residing in Chile. The agreement defines strategies of interest for each country and calls for the exchange of best practices to contribute to progress and quality of life of expats. The document was signed at the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Santo Domingo. 

Ambassador Carlos Appelgreen, who is director of consular affairs and immigration of the Chile Ministry of Foreign Relations, led the Chilean mission. The agreement was signed by Minister of Foreign Relations Miguel Vargas for the Dominican Republic and Appelgreen for Chile. 

Minister Vargas said the agreement is “a step ahead in favor of around 30,000 Dominican immigrants in Chile.” He mentioned the step is part of the policy of President Danilo Medina of supporting the Dominican diaspora. 

The memorandum mentions that Chilean officers will receive special training to deal with this emerging international migration issue. For its part, the Dominican government is seeking more flexibility of tourism visas for Dominicans to travel to Chile and possible legalization of status of undocumented Dominicans living in Chile. 

Participating in the meeting for the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Dominican Republic were deputy minister Marjorie Espinosa for consular and migratory affairs; deputy minister Cesar Medina in charge of bilateral foreign policy; ambassador Kenia Angeles Cáceres, advisor on migratory affairs; Francisco Collado, director of migratory affairs; and Ramón Burgos, the director of legal affairs.

For Chile, in addition to ambassador Appelgreen, also participating were the ambassador of Chile in the Dominican Republic Fernando Barrera and consul general of Chile Francisco Leal.


List of those receiving Odebrecht bribes received from Brazil
The office of the Attorney General (PGR) announced that on 17 May 2017 it received the Dominican Republic file that is part of the Brazilian judiciary’s Car Wash (Lava Jato) investigations. The file contains the list of the names of the persons who Odebrecht executives say received bribes to ensure contract work in the Dominican Republic. 

Nevertheless, contrary to expectations that had been created by a previous commitment by Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez to reveal the names by 19 May 2017, a press release from the PGR now says that the names will not be known until the PGR takes the government officers to court. The PGR says the documents are being translated and will be confronted with other documents from the local investigation into the case. The PGR now says the documents will not be opened to the public until they are deposited in court. 

http://eldia.com.do/procuraduria-rec...os-sobornados/


Odebrecht found fertile soil for corruption in DR
The Brazilian company Odebrecht, now involved in one of the greatest corruption scandals to hit the American continent, found in the Dominican Republic a perfect place for managing its many projects, according to a report in Diario Libre. The company even transferred its office charged with bribes and “other facilities” to political figures to Santo Domingo, where local officials may have benefited to the tune of nearly $100 million. 

However, as reporters from the Diario Libre write, five months after the scandal became public, no one in this country has been prosecuted or even identified as recipient of the millions of dollars supposedly paid by Brazilian company. 

This cloud hanging over the government’s handling of the bribery accusations has given rise to a number of civic movements such as the “Green Movement, with its Green Book and Green Marches that call for an end to impunity on behalf of the Dominican government. 

Many of these critics hope that at least the silence will end on Friday, 19 May 2017, when the Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez had said the company would deliver the names of the individuals who may have received bribes.  This disclosure is part of a plea deal in which the government has agreed not to prosecute company executives and will allow them to continue doing business or operating in the country. 

According to documents released by the United States Department of Justice, Odebrecht executives confessed that they had paid US $788 million to officials in 10 Latin American countries and two African nations in order to obtain lucrative contracts from their respective governments. In the Dominican Republic, starting in 2001, Odebrecht paid out US$92 million in bribes in order to obtain some 17 construction contracts for highways, dams and an electricity generating facility. 

One of the principles implicated in the bribery scheme, Joao Santana, worked as an advisor to President Danilo Medina in his two election campaigns. 

The current Attorney General of the Republic, Jean Alain Rodriguez, who is a member of the Central Committee of the PLD, signed in January an immunity agreement with Odebrecht executives that will allow the company to continue operations and its executives to remain free of prosecution in exchange for information that may implicate local officials who may have been involved in the scandal.  The agreement also includes the payment of a US $184 million fine (to be paid over eight years) for having provided money for the bribes. This is the first agreement of this type that the company has managed to obtain outside of Brazil. Civic groups such as the Green March, call this deal “an immunity agreement.”

https://www.diariolibre.com/mundo/la...rnos-JX7110856


Barricades impede entry to Attorney General Office
Army troops, Police and security agents are now stationed in the Centro de los Héroes government building area to restrict access to the Attorney General offices. These offices are located in the same building as the Supreme Court of Justice, a short distance from Congress. Metallic security gates were also placed to control access. 

The actions were taken after protestors sought entry to the installations at Av. Enrique Jiménez de Moya, between Juan de Dios Ventura and Rafael Damirón streets. The groups were awaiting the announcement by the Attorney General of the names of government officers who had received bribes from the Odebrecht Brazilian construction company. 

Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez had announced after a judge approved the deal reached with Odebrecht that as of 19 May 2017 he would reveal the names of those receiving bribes. Nevertheless, later, Rodriguez now states that what he said was that what was important is that justice prevail. 

The security forces are using tear gas to disperse any crowds that come near the Attorney General offices. 

http://elnacional.com.do/militarizan...-procuraduria/
http://www.elcaribe.com.do/2017/05/1...e-procuraduria
http://hoy.com.do/incrementan-presen...-procuraduria/


After firing, Diandino Peña feels the heat
The former director of the Santo Domingo Metro Office (Opret), Diandino Peña told reporters that after the airing of El Informe de Alicia Ortega on Channel 9 that revealed his alleged misdeeds and his subsequent firing by President Medina, he and his family have had to find spiritual solace and refuge in the church. 

Speaking to reporters at the swearing in ceremony of the new Opret director, Peña said that Medina is his friend and the President made a proper decision with regard to the Opret leadership. Peña was fired after the TV investigative report by Alicia Ortega revealed that the former official has 29 companies, none of which were disclosed in his sworn declaration of assets.  Peña stated he accepted the firing in the understanding it was done to protest President Danilo Medina. 

According to the journalist’s report, Peña reported that he had nothing more to live on except his salary of RD $150,000 that he received each month as the Opret director. 

The former official, who only gave brief comments to the press, said that he is gathering documents, but declined to reveal the for the purpose of the exercise. 

In the meantime, the new Opret director, engineer Manuel Saleta García said that he would concentrate on finishing the projects that the Santo Domingo Metro is now undertaking, which include a cable car system over the Ozama River.

https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...a-FE7107546e 


Preparing for the Sunday Green March in Azua
The Green Movement says that they are readying the next Green March for another major protest against corruption and impunity in government. They expect large crowds for the protest, given the government’s poor track record in investing in public projects in the region and the chronic mismanagement of funds destined for development works in Azua. 

Organizers of the Green March have set the protest for Sunday, 21 May 2017.  The Green March leaders, Yasel Marrero, Inabel Ramírez, Jocelin Melo and John Rossó said they are urging citizens of the region to turn out in force to support the Green Movement. 

The march will commence at 10 AM at the La Bombita school. From there, the protestors will walk two kilometers to the Parque Enriquillo in Azua. 

Some 100 buses will provide transportation to the March for people from 40 communities in Azua, Barahona, San Juan de la Maguana, Elías Piña, Pedernales and Bahoruco. 

The organizers highlighted the case of the regional hospital in Azua that despite a generous donation by the government of Taiwan, physicians and staff do not have enough materials or equipment to operate the facility. Likewise, the housing units built for the victims of floods of Via River and Rosario community, were instead distributed to legislators, government officers and city officers and even benefited a priest.  

Also mentioned is the public market, where the vendor spaces were distributed among people with influence in the government, with the true merchants being left out.  Another case of government mismanagement is the failed agrarian project, Azua II, that was to be created with the controversial Sun Land loan for US$130 million under the Office of Supervisors of Public Works (OISOE). 

http://hoy.com.do/sur-tiene-miles-de...-para-marchar/


24-hour strike at IDSS 
Doctors and staff have initiated a one-day work stoppage at hospitals, clinics and consultation offices of the Dominican Social Security Institute (IDSS). They are protesting the government’s failure to comply with the agreements signed last year with the different health unions. The representatives of the medical workers are asking authorities to comply with seniority payment, appointments of more doctors and administrators in the hospital and a better supply of disposable materials with which they work, among other issues. 

Perhaps the central argument for the protesting physicians and healthcare workers stems from their frustration at the reluctance of the officials at the National Health Service (SNS) to act on their demands, accusing the SNS to turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to their requests. They warned government that if their demands are not met after the 24-hour work stoppage, their protest actions will intensify. 

http://elnacional.com.do/pararan-man...icios-en-idss/


Turks & Caicos allows the return of dozens of Dominican fishermen
43 Dominican fishermen from the area of Puerto Plata returned on Tuesday, 16 May 2017, following their release by the government of Turks & Caicos. The men had been accused by Turks & Caicos authorities of clandestine and illegal fishing. 

As reported, the men obtained their freedom after proving their innocence in court. Luis Felipe Heredia Terrero, the president of the Small Boat Owners Association of Puerto Plata, told reporters that the fisherman had been defended by lawyer Glenna Clarke of the Turks and Caicos. 

The fisherman were part of the crew of the Captain Blaise ship and were found to be fishing in open waters of the Atlantic when they were arrested by units of the Turks & Caicos Coast Guard and accused of illegal fishing. Only the ship’s captain and first mate now remain in Turks & Caicos for a final hearing in order to receive their confiscated vessel that belongs to Dominican businessman Regino Martinez.

https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...icos-AX7110839


World Bank report alerts to downside to free higher education
In its “At a Crossroads, Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean” report just published, the World Bank indicates that higher education enrollment has expanded dramatically in Latin America and the Caribbean since 2000. It points out that while more students are studying in universities, there are concerns into the quality and the variety of these studies. 

Higher education enrollment among the population ages 18-24 years has grown from 21% to 43% from 2000 to 2013. There are around 20 million students in 10,000 institutions and 60,000 programs. 

The report says concerns about quality of instruction loom over the large equity gains experienced by higher education systems in the region. The rapid expansion of the systems, the characteristics of the “new” students, and perhaps the lax regulation of some higher education institutions have led many to question the quality of their programs and, thus, the equity of the studies.

In the study, the Dominican Republic is listed as the country with the lowest percentage of completed higher education, only surpassed by Honduras among countries where students are still enrolled. The dropout rate is average for the Dominican Republic. 

The report indicates that share of higher education graduates by field (around 2013) was: social sciences, business and law 46.8%, education 17.7%, humanities and arts 4.7%, science 4.6%, engineering, manufacturing and construction 9.8%, agriculture 0.7%, health and welfare 14%, services 0.6%. 

The report is critical about the free tuition offered by government educational institutions. The report states: With universal free tuition, the student no longer bears the cost of her education or the risk of failing to graduate. Hence, universal free tuition tends to attract many students who are likely to drop out. Furthermore, even some students who might succeed otherwise might take longer to graduate, or even fail. 

The state university, UASD, has expanded considerably around the country, offering free tuition to students. The university has the highest enrollment, but has the lowest completion rate and highest still in school rates. 

“Higher Education is key to boosting growth and reducing poverty and inequality,” said World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean Jorge Familiar. “To ensure equity of opportunities, the region has to enhance quality of education and provide students with better information on programs, adequate incentives and financing options, and connections to the labor market. Better regulation of higher education institutions is also needed to improve accountability for the services they provide.”

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/...=2&isAllowed=y


Undocumented Haitians arrested stealing in Santiago
The Police in Santiago announced the dismantling of a group of undocumented Haitians accused of robberies of churches and businesses. They are accused of robbing electronic equipment and computer accessories in Dajabón on the border. 

The Haitians were identified as Ocelito Pierre and/or Joselito Pierre and Jodnel Seselise.  They were arrested on Wednesday when they attempted to rob the Colmado Yamanaka and the Charlie Jewelry store on the corner of Duarte and Marcello Carrasco streets in Dajabón. 

The Police said that the suspects confessed that the electronic equipment was taken to Haiti where it was sold. The accused shared the money with Haitians Altagracia Cornielle and her daughter Josefina Altagracia Rodríguez Cornielle (Fifa) were parties to the sales of the stolen merchandise were arrested.


18-year student sentenced to one month in jail
For punching a 15-year old female classmate, Daniel Lopez Vasquez was sent to one-month preventive custody. He will serve the term at the Centro Correccional y de Rehabilitación in Monte Plata. The case went viral on social media after a video was shared. 

The students studied at the Liceo Félix Rafael Nova in Bayaguana. The parents of Lopez had asked that the student be allowed to apologize and that his studies not be affected. But the parents of the affected student 

http://eldia.com.do/estudiante-fue-enviado-a-prision/


Rains cause havoc in Valverde and Puerto Plata
Rains earlier this week together with sudden gusts of high winds have caused blackouts and property damage to more than 300 houses in the provinces of Valverde and Puerto Plata over the last 36 hours. In the northern part of the country, rains continue in many areas and the Center for Emergency Operations (COE) has reported that communities in Jaibon and Las Flores in the province of Valverde suffered from flooding of the Maimon River and in Baja Guayacanes some 200 residences were affected by a power outage caused by wind damage to light poles and electricity lines. 

In the same report by general Juan Manuel Mendez Garcia, the COE director, the agency notes that in Puerto Plata 23 houses were flooded in different Barrios by the Guananico and Caonabo rivers. 

The National Weather Office (Onamet) reports on rains in Santiago, Puerto Plata, Duarte, La Vega, Monsignor Nouel, San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana, La Altagracia, Azua, San Juan, and Barahona. Santo Domingo will be cloudy with possible rain showers with thunder and lightning. 

Temperatures will continue to be high, over 30°C as a low pressure front continues affecting our weather and causing these rains. The COE is maintaining 22 provinces under different alerts, among them Puerto Plata, Espaillat, Barahona (especially the area around Enriquillo) Valverde and San Cristobal who are under a yellow alert. Other provinces in the Cibao and the South remain under a green alert for River flooding and landslides. 
The COE director also told reporters that brigades from the Presidency, the Armed Forces, Public Health and Public Works together with aid workers from Civil Defense have been activated to offer assistance to those affected. Over 4 inches of rain have fallen in Barahona and Santiago and it is expected that Barahona will receive more rain.

http://elnacional.com.do/aguaceros-i...as-provincias/


Cibao FC draws in Trinidad
The Cibao Football Club is currently in Trinidad competing in the second phase of CONCACAF elimination tournament. This is the first time a Dominican football team (soccer) has reached the second stage of eliminations. More than 40 years ago the UCMM FC, the amateur national champions based at what is today the PUCMM, participated for the first time in the first round of the CONCACAF eliminations in Surinam. 

On Tuesday, 16 May 2017, the Cibao FC fought to a 2-2 tie with Grenade FC from Antigua and Barbuda, in spite of dominating most of the game. According to reports in 7 Dias, the Dominican side missed a half a dozen opportunities to open the score during the first half which ended at 0-0. In the second half the team from the Cibao took a 2-0 advantage only to see it disappear in the final minutes with a fine play by Stefan Smith. The games are being broadcast by CDN and are available on YouTube by Cibao FC. The next match is this afternoon against Central FC from Trinidad.

http://www.7dias.com.do/deportes/201...mpionship.html


AgroAlimentaria trade event is 18-20 May 2017
The leading food and agriculture fair held in the Dominican Republic, the AgroAlimentaria 2017 will take place this year from 18 to 20 May 2017, at the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel in Santo Domingo. This business platform brings together fresh fruits and vegetables and processed farm products, beverages and tobacco all in one place. The event is in its sixth edition. It is held every two years.  

Over 200 exhibitors are exhibiting at the event, said Claudia Chez, during a press conference by the Dominican Agribusiness Board (JAD), the organizer of the event. She highlighted the geographic positioning of the country makes possible year round production of many crops, and enables fast shipping to major markets. 

She said that during the event buyers and visitors will be able to see, taste, compare and buy tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples, mangoes, papayas, melons, and water melons, among others. Contacts can also be made for the purchase of vegetables such as greenhouse-grown bell peppers, tomatoes, oriental vegetables, aromatic herbs, eggplants, avocados, cucumbers and others. For sale will also be breadfruit, cassava (yucca), dasheens, yams, blue taro, squash, and ginger. 

Buyers are expected from 30 countries, including the Brazil, USA, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and The Netherlands. Among the buyers are representatives of high-level importers, supermarkets and distributors. 


Tropicaldreamsz at Casa de Teatro
Enjoy the art exhibition by Billy Kheel. The exhibit opens Thursday, 18 May 2017 at 7pm with live music by Charles Lavaigne. Sponsored by Ritmo Social of the Listín Diario. Calle Arzobispo Merinno 110, Colonial City. 


Centro León program for International Day of Museums
Participate in the International Day of Museums events organized by the Centro León when visiting Santiago on 20 May 2017. The cultural center will be open free to the general public from 10am to 7pm. On that day there will be an arts and crafts bazaar and enjoy as of 3pm the exhibition of the “Brilliant Cave” by Lidia León. In the afternoon there will be performances and theater presentations at the museum. See the ongoing exhibition sponsored by the Centro Cultural de España, “ Dalí ilustrando genios.” And much more at the leading cultural center in Santiago.