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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Tuesday, 6 June 2017

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Tuesday, 6 June 2017

    President Medina visits cacao farmers
    Dominican Republic forecast to lead regional growth
    Miguel Vargas meets with Kazakhstan Prime Minister
    New rules for installing fuel filling stations
    Chaos at the border again
    Big two PLD politicians meet on Sunday
    Less visitors to those detained in the Odebrecht scandal case
    Max Puig says prosecutors’ Odebrecht file is flawed on purpose
    Santiago senator denies charges and gives up immunity
    Hipolito accuses Attorney General’s office of political bias
    Deputy Josefa Castillo: The big fish have yet to be caught
    Marcos Vasconcelos says they paid Rondon, not government officers
    Nearly 5,000 deported in May 2017
    Dominicans in yola repatriated
    Spa center shutdown for unauthorized procedures
    Jose Miguel Patin of SAP pleads guilty to cocaine trafficking
    Finalists of BHD Women Who Change the World Contest

    President Medina visits cacao farmers
    On Sunday, 4 June 2017, President Danilo Medina resumed his Sunday visits traveling to Balatá, El Yayal, in the northern María Trinidad Sánchez province, where he offered more than RD$18 million in loans to 260 cacao producers to replant 8,000 tareas (1 tarea = 629 square meters). He also handed over title deeds for 42,000 tareas to benefit 800 farmers in the area.

    This was Medina’s 170th “surprise visit”.  He again told the farmers that the money was not a gift but a low interest rate loan. He also donated a truck and a bus as well as offered to provide farming equipment.

    Medina was accompanied by the Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta; Public Works Minister Gonzalo Castillo and Agriculture Minister Ángel Estévez. Also, José Casimiro Ramos; the administrator of the Agricultural Bank, Carlos Segura Foster, Senator Arístides Victoria Yeb and Carlos Pared Pérez, assistant to the president.

    Dominican Republic forecast to lead regional growth
    According to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects, the global growth will increase to 2.7% in 2017. The report states that in Latin America and the Caribbean the recovery will be both fragile and disperse and the larger countries will show the largest growth due to industrial production and exports. 

    The growth is attributed to a pickup in manufacturing and trade, rising confidence, favorable global financing conditions and stabilizing commodity prices. The Dominican Republic, it projects, will be the leader of the Latin American and Caribbean region. 

    The World Bank forecasts that growth in advanced economies is expected to accelerate to 1.9 percent in 2017, a benefit to their trading partners. Growth in emerging market and developing economies will recover to 4.1 percent this year, as obstacles to activity diminish in commodity-exporting countries.

    Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is projected to strengthen to 0.8 percent in 2017 as Brazil and Argentina emerge from recession and rising commodity prices support agricultural and energy exporters. In the Caribbean, rising tourism demand underlies an expected acceleration in growth to 3.3 percent in 2017 and 3.8 percent in 2018.

    In the case of the Dominican Republic, growth is expected to be 5.3% of GDP in 2017, 5% in 2018 and 4.8% in 2019. The Dominican Republic is forecast to continue to lead the region over the next three years followed by Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, among others.

    Miguel Vargas meets with Kazakhstan Prime Minister
    On Monday 5 June 2017, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev held a meeting with Miguel Vargas, Dominican Minister of Foreign Affairs in Astana, Kazinform. 

    They discussed trade and economic relations, access to regional markets, as well as opening a Dominican diplomatic mission in Kazakhstan. Also discussed was the easing of visa formalities between the two countries.

    Also discussed was the forthcoming exhibition EXPO-2017, in particular, the development of alternative energy sources and the launch of an International Centre for the Development of Green Technologies and Investment Projects under the auspices of the United Nations. . The Dominican Republic will be represented at the Latin America Pavilion with other nations of the region. The national day of Dominican Republic at the EXPO will be held on 7 August. 

    The Republic of Kazakhstan and Dominican Republic established diplomatic relations in 2011.

    New rules for installing fuel filling stations
    The Ministry of Environment announced changes to the requirements for the installation of fuel stations in order to reduce risks to the safety and health of the general public and the environment. The changes were reported in Resolution No. 00142017. The Ministry says the new procedure is more efficient. 

    Minister Francisco Domínguez Brito says the changes simplify the environmental impact assessment for the installation of the fuel stations (natural gas, propane gas, gasoline and diesel).

    Chaos at the border again
    Once again on Monday, 5 June 2017, Haitian authorities prevented Dominican products entering Haiti causing chaos at the border.  The situation was especially frenzied as the Haitian authorities had not advised Haitian shoppers crossing into the Dominican Republic in the morning that much of the merchandise purchased in the Dominican Republic would not be allowed to enter Haitian territory. 

    In Dajabon, the Haitian customs and immigration authorities had allowed the flow goods from the Dominican Republic to enter Haiti on the previous Friday. Market days are Mondays and Fridays.

    The products not being allowed into Haiti included live and frozen chickens, eggs, pasta, plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes, peppers, eggplant, green bananas, chayote, carrots, sausages and salami, cabbage, lettuce and flour. 

    Businessman Fernando Capellán urged more talks with the Haitian authorities. He said the Haitian authorities are seeking to collect taxes on the goods purchased not happening with the small merchant purchases of market days.

    Big two PLD politicians meet on Sunday
    On Sunday, 4 June 2017, President Danilo Medina, former President Leonel Fernandez and the president of the Senate Reinaldo Pared Perez met. The meeting coincides with the arrest of several government and former government officers, as well as legislators, and government suppliers related to the Odebrecht bribes and overpricing scandal. 

    Fernandez is the president of the PLD, the ruling political party. Reinaldo Pared Pérez is the secretary general of the PLD. Pared Pérez’s brother, Carlos Pared Pérez is President Medina’s personal assistant for the past 25 years. Another brother, Sigrido Pared Perez is the director of the National Investigations Bureau (DNI). 

    The meeting was confirmed by Reinaldo Pared Pérez who would not detail what was discussed. 

    El Día reports that last week, members of the Political Committee of the PLD, Francisco Javier García (Minister of Tourism), Bautista Rojas Gomez and Euclides Gutierrez Felix (Superintendent of Banks) met with President Medina at the Presidential Palace.

    Fewer visitors to those detained in the Odebrecht scandal case
    The ten government officials, former legislators and businessmen who have been in jail for more than a week in the Palace of Justice in the capital for supposedly accepting bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht have begun to receive fewer visitors than on previous days.

    On Monday 5 June 2017, the hallways on the third floor where the individuals are being held were quiet, with many less friends or family members visiting than last week. 

    The accused are scheduled to be in court on Tuesday, 6 June 2017, at the Supreme Court of Justice, where the presiding judge Francisco Ortega will rule on the conditions of the coercive measures for each individual. This will be the third hearing in connection with the case.

    Max Puig says prosecutors’ Odebrecht file is flawed on purpose
    Former Minister of Environment and president of the Alianza por la Democracia (APD) political party, Max Puig pointed out the many contradictions in the Odebrecht bribery scandal case presented by the Attorney General Office, as reported in Acento. 

    Puig says that a first analysis of the Odebrecht case reveals it is plagued by serious contradictions and shows a complete lack of rigor, as well as being characterized by huge gaps and lack of fundamental data and implications. The media have been pointing out the many errors in the submission. 

    Puig speculates that the lack of key information in the submission could mean that the main purpose of the agreement between Odebrecht and the Medina administration was to ensure the impunity of the Brazilian company and its executives and, in exchange, the Odebrecht officers would essentially protect senior Dominican government officials who may have been involved in illegalities related the case. 

    Puig said that the file has been manipulated to incriminate opposition political leaders, with the clear intention of discrediting and weakening the opposition political forces. He said this most evident in the case of Andrés Bautista, president of the Partido Revolucionario Moderno (PRM). Puig believes specific actions have been taken to confuse the general public and play-down the responsibilities of actual government officers who may have accepted bribes or purposefully overvalued the public works projects. 

    He mentions that the Attorney General accusatory file acknowledges that bribes were paid for the granting of the Punta Catalina thermoelectric central contract, and observes that the direct responsible for the power plant should be the first seated in the bench of the accused.

    Santiago senator denies charges and gives up immunity
    The senator for the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) for Santiago, Julio César Valentín, has revealed that he sent a letter to the Senate president Reinaldo Pared Pérez asking him to lift his parliamentary immunity. He insists on his innocence in the Odebrecht bribes scandal. 

    Talking to journalists in a press conference, together with his lawyer, Jorge Luis Polanco and his wife Rosira Pichardo Raful, he said he would exercise his rights as a senator to avoid justice in the Odebrecht case.

    Valentin added that the amount of assets the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) reports he has does not correspond with reality and that the RD$29.7 million that PPS alleges he owns actually belongs to his wife as a result of a divorce settlement from a previous marriage.

    He said he actually had RD$20.2 million in assets and not the RD$49.9 million the Attorney General’s office states.

    Hipolito accuses Attorney General’s office of political bias
    Former President Hipólito Mejía has accused the Attorney General’s Office of managing the Odebrecht case in what he calls an “erratic, manipulative and inconsistent manner” and has demanded that the rights of those accused be respected. 

    He said in his Twitter account that the prosecutors have invented evidence for political purposes, while creating a situation of confusion.

    Four members of the Revolutionary Modern Party (PRM) are under arrest, including the party president, Andrés Bautista, a former president of the Chamber of Deputies. Mejia went on to demand that the case be conducted according to the law and that the rights of those arrested should be respected. He said that the case should be conducted with transparency and that justice must not been used as a form of political retaliation.

    Deputy Josefa Castillo: The big fish have yet to be caught
    Referring to the Odebrecht corruption scandal, opposition party deputy Josefa Castillo (PRM-Santo Domingo Province) said on Monday, 5 June 2017 that "the big fish have yet to be caught” (Los pejes gordos faltan por caer). 

    Castillo said she expects true justice but observed that the accusatory file of the case has been poorly constructed and the lawyers of the defendants will take advantage of this. 

    She said the first error of the Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez was that he said that the files prepared by the Public Ministry were inclusive – implying that no other cases exist.

    Marcos Vasconcelos says they paid Rondon, not government officers
    El Dia published on Monday, 5 June 2017, the statements made by Marco Antonio Vasconcelos Cruz, president of Odebrecht operations in the Dominican Republic, where he acknowledged the firm transferred funds to lobbyist Angel Rondon for securing the approval of the contracts and the financing for several of the Odebrecht works in the Dominican Republic. 

    In the statements, Vasconcelos said Rondon was hired as a consultant for the great access he had in the legislative and executive branches of the Dominican government. He said Rondon was paid 2% of the total of the public works that covered the obtaining of the contract, the execution and any other effort in favor of Odebrecht. "I have made illicit payments to public agents and neither have I witnessed these types of payments being made. I assure that these payments were not made to favor the company," he said according to the translation published in El Dia. 

    Vasconcelos told the Brazilian judiciary that as a result of the efforts of Rondon with the ministers of Hacienda the process of the approval of funding of the projects was expedited.  Fifteen of the 18 projects assigned to Odebrecht went to Congress and he remembers interacting with the members of the finance commissions to expedite several of these contracts. 

    Angel Rondon has maintained that he did not receive bribes but rather was paid for his services to Odebrecht. 

    Read more details at

    Nearly 5,000 deported in May 2017
    During last month, May, according to the Migration Department, the Dominican authorities deported 4,966 people of 12 different nationalities who were in the country illegally. In April there were 4,787 deportations. The countries where the deportees came from are Armenia, Canada, China, Colombia, Spain, Greece, Haiti, India, Italy, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.

    Migration went on to say that the number of people arriving by air in May was 484,343 with 513,545 people departing from the country. The busiest airport was Punta Cana followed by Las Américas (Santo Domingo), Santiago, Puerto Plata, Romana, El Catey (Samaná), La Isabela (Santo Domingo) and Barahona.
    At the border with Haiti there were 16,152 people entering and 14,195 leaving from Jimani.

    When it comes to entry by sea there were 46,307 entering and 52,533 leaving mainly from the cruise terminals in Maimon, Puerto Plata and La Romana. 

    Finally the report states that 251 people were denied entry to the country during the month and another 23 were returned to their point of boarding. In total 261 Dominicans were repatriated to the Dominican Republic having completed prison terms in other countries.

    Dominicans in yola repatriated
    The United States Coast Guard has repatriated 25 Dominicans found on a boat in the Mona Channel heading for Puerto Rico. 

    The interception operation occurred on Saturday, 3 June 2017, and those repatriated were handed over to a Dominican patrol boat. Five of travelers were detained by the US Coast Guard and transported to Puerto Rico to face US government charges.

    Spa center shutdown for unauthorized procedures
    The Ministry of Public Health announced the temporary shutdown of Stefani Stetic beauty center, located in the Paraiso neighborhood, for carrying out unauthorized invasive procedures or treatments. The shutdown came after the Ministry determined that the procedures could put at risk the health of customers. The center had a license issued from June 2015 to June 2020 covering spa and non-invasive cosmetic procedures and nutrition counseling. The center is headed by physician Pamela Stefani.

    Jose Miguel Patin of SAP pleads guilty to cocaine trafficking
    Aviation company owner, José Miguel Patín, pleaded guilty to trafficking 500 grams of cocaine to the United States as part of a plea bargain negotiated with a Florida court on 20 May 2017. Patín, owner of Servicios Aereos Profesionales (SAP) agreed to handover two of his company’s airplanes,– a Hawker Siddeley 700A and a Canadair CL 600-2B16. He also agreed to pay US$3.5 million in fines, reportedly the total of his earnings. The final judgement is due to be delivered on 25 July 2017. 

    In the same case, 33-year old Dominican, Wilkin de Jesús Matos Felix, a pilot of the company Servicios Aéreos Profesionales (SAP), was also detained. Both Patín and Matos had initially pleaded not guilty.

    Finalists of BHD Women Who Change the World Contest
    The BHD Leon bank announced the finalists of the third edition of their Women Who Change the World Award. 

    They are: Cristina Francisco Reyes, Eugenia Beltrán, Ivonne García Ricardo, Juana Ferer (Negrita), Kathleen Martínez, María Crisálida Díaz, Olga Noboa de Fernández, Prxeaxedes Roa (Virtudes), Silvia Denisse Pichardo and Sister María Marciano. 

    The finalists were chosen by the juror of the award on criteria based on the profile of the nominee, their specific contribution, commitment and sustainability of their contribution, that is evidenced by changes in quantitative and qualitative terms. 

    Steven Puig, general manager of the bank, observed that this is an award by the people because many of these exceptional women have been nominated by grateful communities that have seen the positive changes brought by the work of these women, which go beyond their professional and personal interests, contributing to the welfare of the country.
    Last edited by Dolores; 06-06-2017 at 02:24 PM.

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