DR1 Daily News next update on 1 May 2018
JCE: Open primaries would cost RD$5.6 billion
Dominican taxpayers contribution to politics: RD$13 billion in 20 years
Political Parties Bill not yet in the Chamber of Deputies
DR has low levels of child abuse: World Vision
Non-financial sectors open doors to money laundering
Lawyer agrees with IMF call for “fiscal adjustment” in DR
Odebrecht payment is a “maybe”
Customs agents seize US$1.4 million hidden in auto parts
Priests subjected to pressure for their rejection of expansion of mining
Percival bank robbery gang goes on trial
Marlon and Marlin Martínez accused of Emely Peguero murder
Keep your umbrella handy today
Best weightlifters in the Americas coming to compete



DR1 Daily News next update on 1 May 2018
The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Tuesday, 1 May 2018. The Tuesday issue will compile headline news for the previous Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Monday, 30 April 2018 is a national holiday, celebrating Labor Day in the Dominican Republic that actually falls on Tuesday, 1 May. Breaking news can be followed 24/7 in the Forums. See the DR1 Forum at http://www.dr1.com


JCE: Open primaries would cost RD$5.6 billion
The president of the Central Electoral Board (JCE), Julio César Castaños Guzmán estimated at RD$5.6 billion the cost of celebrating simultaneous open primaries to choose the presidential candidates for political parties in the Dominican Republic. Castaños has held a position against the open primaries on grounds that these would be very costly. He says if the bill passes in Congress, the simultaneous open primaries would be held on 17 November 2019, just three months before the municipal elections that are scheduled for February 2020.

Speaking at the luncheon of the American Chamber of Commerce on 25 April 2018, Castaños said this could mean that the electoral system would have to tackle four major election processes between November 2019 and June 2020. These would be the new preferential vote for councilors, the presidential and legislative elections in May, and even the possibility of a second round vote if a candidate does not receive 50%+1 f the vote in June 2020.

He urged the legislators to pass the Political Parties Bill and the Electoral Regimen Bill in time to begin preparations.

The political system in the Dominican Republic has had a high cost. It is estimated that from 1998 to 2017, officially recognized political parties alone have received RD$13.48 billion that will increase to RD$17.9 billion by 2020. Some 7,834,000 Dominicans are estimated to be eligible to vote in 2020.

https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...rias-DF9722647


Dominican taxpayers contribution to politics: RD$13 billion in 20 years
The president of the Central Electoral Board (JCE), Julio César Castaños Guzmán, said it is only reasonable to put a limit to electoral campaign spending in the country. He said since 1998, the political parties have spent RD$13.48 billion of taxpayer money on election campaigns. He said so far they estimate that to carry out the 2020 general election another RD$4.5 billion would need to be spent.

The law obliges use of taxpayer money for electoral campaigns in the proportion to votes received in the previous presidential election.

"We must be alert to the new reality: offers of illegal money, product of international drug trafficking, money laundering, illicit trafficking in persons and other criminal activities, that become attractive temptations that could contaminate the will of some candidates and future officials, and that, in exchange for these obsequious and immoral dispensations, they compromise their future public will, which eventually turns them into transgressors,” said the JCE president, at the lunch event organized by the American Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, 25 April 2018. "Irrationally, so much money is not budgeted, seeking the favor of a political will, when there comes a time when the saturation in the use of propaganda in the media becomes counterproductive," said the public official.

https://www.listindiario.com/la-repu...nes-en-20-anos


Political Parties Bill not yet in the Chamber of Deputies
The much discussed Bill on Political Parties, Groups and Movements was not submitted as expected by the Senate on 25 April 2018. The Senate signed off on the bill that incorporates the controversial rule that requires all political parties to hold simultaneous open primaries to choose their presidential candidates for the 2020 general election. The bill is supported by legislators loyal to President Danilo Medina. However, PLD members who back the potential candidacy of former President Leonel Fernandez in 2020 are less than enthusiastic supporters of the proposed law.

The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Ruben Maldonado said he would announce when the bill reaches the lower house.

El Nacional newspaper reports that the Senate has another week to send the legislation to the Chamber of Deputies according to Article 180 of the Senate Rules. The article in the El Nacional points out that there it is possible that the arrival of the legislation to the lower chamber may be delayed. However, the general opinion seems to be that it will be sooner rather than later that the bill will reach the Chamber of Deputies.

https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...arde-AM9718031
http://elnacional.com.do/senado-aun-...y-a-diputados/


World Vision: DR has relatively low levels of child abuse
A study put together by World Vision under the auspices of the Dominican Vice President’s Office in the country, shows that the Dominican Republic is at a moderate risk level in the index of violence and exploitation of children in comparison to other countries in Latin America. The survey reveals that in the context of Latin America, the Dominican Republic is shown with an average risk of violence against children at 20%. The other scores for the region were Mexico 34%, Guatemala 27%, El Salvador 25%, Honduras 16%, Nicaragua 13, Costa Rica 12%, Colombia 26%, Ecuador 15%, Peru 29%, Bolivia 26%, Chile 22%, Brazil 26%.

The survey, called “Violence Against Children and Child Protection Systems: Public Perceptions in Latin America and the Caribbean” – report of the results in Dominican Republic 2017” concludes that in order to prevent and eliminate violence against children and guarantee a network of safe systems, it is necessary for increased networks and inter-disciplinary action between the government, the private sector and nongovernmental organizations.

The survey polled 503 Dominicans online last year and found that 67% of the participants perceived that violence against children is increasing, 43% knew a victim of violence and 88% were in agreement that the child would be impacted in future relationships as an adult. Almost everyone agreed that violence has a negative impact on a child’s health and certainly has a reflection in his education. Ignorance was pointed out as one of the causes of child abuse. Around 97% of citizens believe that this issue should be a priority on the agenda of every sector of society.

https://www.wvi.org/sites/default/fi...%20OCT%205.pdf
https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...inez-KY9717936
https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...ades-YF9722670


Non-financial sectors open doors to money laundering
Although there are laws against money laundering, such as Law 155-17, there is no regulator or superintendent that watches over the economic procedures for the non—financial sectors such as car dealers, casinos, real estate operators and many others, which leaves the door open for illicit operations that could be having a negative impact on the social development of the Dominican Republic, putting long-term economic growth at risk, according to a report in the newspaper, El Dia.

Law 155-17, that deals with money laundering, classifies those sectors as being under obligatory observation, which means they are required by law to report financial transactions of their companies and their clients that are more than US$1,000 within 24 hours of these being made. According to the law, the failure to comply with the requirement could result in fines and jail sentences.

According to Juan Carlos Medina, a corporate vice president for Compliance for the BOD Financial Group, this situation indicates that the system for the prevention of money laundering is not exclusive to the financial sector or the banks. He noted that the sectors mentioned above needed to fall into line and that the government and the private sector will have to train these actors in order for them to become familiar with the law and reporting system.

Medina told reporters that “the country is in a strategic position in Latin America due to its geographical location, and because of that it is vital to improve its efforts for the implementation, control and punishment of money laundering. Law 155-17 grants a period of one year for individuals or companies to report suspicious operations or transactions, including activities that lack a legal economic justification. The penalties for violating Law 155-17 include up to 20 years in prison and fines of as much as 400 base salaries (in the neighborhood of RD $2 million) for violations. These and other issues will be on the agenda at the IX BankAmerica Congress on money laundering which will be held 16-17 May 2018, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Santo Domingo.

http://eldia.com.do/sectores-no-fina...a-para-lavado/


Lawyer agrees with IMF call for “fiscal adjustment” in DR
Lawyer Albert Fiallo, a tax specialist, said on Wednesday, 25 April 2018, that he agrees with the proposal by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that has suggested that the Dominican government carry out significant tax reform. Generally speaking, most Dominicans do not understand the term “fiscal reform” as defined by the government, equating it instead to tax increases.

Fiallo says that tax reform is urgent because 45% of the income of the state comes from direct taxes and 55% is obtained indirectly. He cited an example in which a worker who finishes his or her day and has a beer pays the same value added tax (ITBIS) as the richest Dominican, and he said this is simply unfair.

Appearing on a radio talk show (La Super 7 en la Mañana on 107.7FM), Fiallo rejected the thesis that the poor do not pay taxes, taking a different point of view that they are the ones who pay the most as well as those people on a salary. He made it clear that when the IMF proposes to expand the base of the value added tax they do not say that starting now this tax will be paid for milk, as an example, but rather that the tax exemptions should not be generalized. He said the Dominican Republic is one of the countries with the largest amount of tax exemptions in the region (91), which represents a tax loss of RD $211 billion each year or about one third of the National Budget. He noted that the industrial free zones represent one of the sectors most benefited by these tax exemptions. He finished by saying that the Dominican Republic has to rethink its economic model and the country’s leaders in the public and private sectors must propose reforms of the nation’s tax system. The tax system according to Fiallo cannot be sustained on the indirect taxes paid by the poor because this is simply unfair.

http://www.7dias.com.do/economia/201...to-fiallo.html


Odebrecht payment is a “maybe”
The US$30 million payment that Odebrecht owes to the Dominican Republic and that is to be paid in July 2018 is, at this time, a “maybe” after the huge construction company announced that it would not meet a US$144 million payment on outstanding overseas debts on time (which was Wednesday, 25 April 2018).

Although the Dominican Republic is not included in this particular debt payment, it is fairly certain that the Brazilian company might have problems paying the US$30 million, a part of the US $184 million, on 30 July of this year. The company announced in a press communiqué that it was seeking additional financing to meet its obligations and that the Odebrecht group continues to carry out its projects and that its negotiations are coming along fine. The company said that these new round of negotiations will “ensure additional support for their continued sustainable growth and permit the company to honor their obligations.” The company said it would make the payment, but not within the previously agreed upon timeframe. They said that the US $144 million represents that only short-term debt and is only 5% of all the debt bonds issued by the company. In the Dominican Republic, Odebrecht is the lead company building the Punta Catalina generating station.

http://elnacional.com.do/pago-odebre...ia-en-veremos/


Customs agents seize US$1.4 million hidden in auto parts
After an intensive multi-agency investigation, members of the Customs Agency (DGA) successfully located the sum of US$1,456,000 stashed in four 55-gallon drums as part of cargo that arrived from the United States, delivered by a freight consolidation company at the Port of Haina Oriental. The money was prepared in 163 rolls of various denominations and wrapped in plastic before being placed inside driveshafts as part of a shipment of auto parts.

Members of the Military Intelligence Agency (J-2), the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD), the National Investigations Agency (DNI) and other agencies worked together in this case.

According to the documentation accompanying the shipment, the drums were sent by Francisco Vargas to Marcos Peña, who lives in Santiago, and the contents were listed as “tanks with steel pieces”, referring to the spare parts for automobiles and carried into containers brought by the Salcedo Cargo Express. The shipment was supposed to go to a freight forwarding company in Santiago.

According to the Diario Libre, criminal elements often use the shipments that are intended to provide assistance from Dominicans living in the United States to their families in the country, in order to get around taxes or introduce illegal items such as firearms, ammunition and money, many times associated with money laundering. For this reason the DGA is intensifying inspections of shipments brought in by different shipping companies in order to bring about compliance with the laws regarding this commercial activity.

https://www.diariolibre.com/economia...ulos-YY9717450


Priests subjected to pressure for their rejection of expansion of mining
Priests of the Movimiento Sacerdotal Helder Cámara accused mining companies of employing intimidation tactics against them to muzzle opposition to certain mining projects. The religious organization says that the intention of the mining companies is to discredit the outspoken priests, implying that the priests may have even been physically threatened. The priests have been active in opposing the expansion of mining activities in the country.

In a signed document, the priests warned the public that the companies that seek to exploit mining resources in Loma Miranda and southern mountain areas have attempted to intimidate them, but that they would remain firm in their opposition to the expansion of the mining by these companies. The priests say their protests face seemingly overwhelming economic and political powers, but reiterated their resolve to defend humanity, and that water is more important than gold.

The priests who signed the document are Ramon Abreu Suriel, Agapito Antonio Ramos, Roberto Quezada Abreu, Ramon Alejo de la Cruz, Regino Martinez Breton, Ramon Ramos and Martin Luzón.

https://www.listindiario.com/la-repu...presas-mineras


Percival bank robbery gang goes on trial
On Wednesday, 25 April 2018, the Second Collegiate Tribunal of the National District opened its trial against the alleged members of the gang headed by John Percival Matos. The gang is accused of several assaults on commercial centers, bank branches and the death of a watchman at Bella Vista Mall. More than 30 persons have been listed by the District Attorney of the National District as witnesses for the prosecution.

Facing these charges are Bryan Peter Felix Paulino, Reyvi David Corporán Adames, Javier de Jesus Fernandez and Army major Elvin Rogers. The prosecution will also present as witnesses, the Chinese owners of the motel in Bonao where a team from the Armed Forces killed the alleged assailant John Percival Matos. Percival’s girlfriend Ana Iris Linares Ramirez is also expected to be heard. The remaining members of the gang are facing charges of assault with deadly weapons, murder, and criminal Association.

http://elnacional.com.do/inicia-juic...anda-percival/


Marlon and Marlin Martínez accused of Emely Peguero murder
San Francisco prosecutors placed formal acusations against Marlon Martínez and his mother Marlyn for the murder of 16-year old pregnant teenager Emely Peguero in Duarte province. The prosecutors have asked for 30 years for Marlon and 20 years for his mother. The prosecutors desisted from making accusations against the two maids of the Martínez household and the brother of Marlin, Henry Martínez. They also did not press charges against Simón Bolívar Ureña (El Boli), initially accused of having disposed of the corpse. Ureña reached a deal with the prosecutors to tell all he knew. The case is heard by Judge Isolina Peralta.

Peguero was murdered when seven months pregnant of Martínez’s child. Initially she had been reported missing by Martínez and his mother. Ureña later helped locate the corpse that had been left inside a suitcase in a farm in nearby Espaillat province.

https://www.listindiario.com/la-repu...nos-de-prision
https://www.diariolibre.com/noticias...rlin-EY9724897


Keep your umbrella handy today
Rains are expected to continue today over a large part of the national territory, caused by a low pressure trough located over Haiti, according to the National Meteorological Office (Onamet). Most of the rains are expected to fall in Santiago, La Vega and Monsignor Nouel (Bonao), and will slack off during the afternoon. Rains are also expected in Hato Mayor, El Seibo, Monte Plata and Maria Trinidad Sanchez. The area around Santo Domingo is expected to be cloudy with possible scattered showers during the day.

The Center for Emergency Operations (COE) is maintaining a green alert for the provinces of La Vega, Santiago, Monsignor Nouel, Hato Mayor and San Cristobal because of possible urban flooding, together with rivers and creeks overflowing their banks and possible landslides.


Best weightlifters in the Americas coming to compete
Twenty-six countries and around 250 weightlifters are registered to participate in the 12-18 May 2018 Panamerican Weightlifting Championship to take place at the Pabellon Jose Joaquín Puello in the Parque del Este. The event is a qualifier for the 2019 Panamerican Games that will take place in Lima, Peru. The number of countries bests the record of 22 that had been set in the Miami, Florida championship when this took place in 2017.