Daily News

Daily News - Monday, 25 May 2015 (Archived Daily News)

Mike Dawes en Casa de Teatro
(Image courtesy of mikedawes.co.uk)

Leonel Fernandez TV talk tonight

Former President Leonel Fernandez, who is the president of the ruling PLD party, has announced that he will be speaking on television at 10pm this evening, Monday 25 May 2015. The speech on Channel 5 can also be followed online at leonelfernandez.com and pld.org.

Fernandez is expected to set out his position on the possibility of changing the 2010 Constitution, which allows him to run for President in 2016 but bans consecutive re-election, thus preventing President Medina from running.

Ruling party opinion on the issue is split between supporters of changing the 2010 Constitution to allow the popular President Danilo Medina to run for re-election, and supporters of former President Leonel Fernandez's aspirations to be the PLD candidate in the 2016 presidential election.

The influential party Political Committee ruled in favor of the re-election bid on 19 April 2015, but this has been rejected by Fernandez's supporters in Congress. The National Constitutional Revisory Assembly has yet to be convened.

Diario Libre reports that the speech comes after discussions between Franklin Almeyda Rancier and Rafael Alburquerque, representing former President Fernandez, and Jose Ramon Peralta and businessman Jose Miguel Gonzalez Cuadra for President Medina.

An editorial in El Caribe newspaper today, Monday 25 May 2015 comments that former three-term President Leonel Fernandez faces one of the most difficult times in his very successful political career.



Investigations continue into Dario Contreras remodeling

The Dominican College of Engineers, Architects and Surveyors (Codia) is carrying out a technical evaluation of the expansion and remodeling of the Dario Contreras Trauma Hospital in Santo Domingo. Hospital staff and watchdog organizations have been raising questions about the high cost and poor quality of the expansion works.

Codia president Jose Espinosa criticized the fact that the remodeling was not under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Health. However, he disclosed that a visit by Codia experts to the hospital had observed the quality of the finishing works, but said that they will not be commenting on organization and distribution of space, as reported in Listin Diario.

The Institutionalism and Justice Foundation (Finjus), Dominican Alliance against Corruption (Adocco) and the Dominican Medical Association (CMD) criticized the program by the Presidency Public Works Construction Office (OISOE) now headed by engineer Miguel Pimentel Kareh. This is the same government office that during the Fernandez administration was headed by current senator Felix Bautista, known as the most outstanding case of rags-to-riches in the PLD governments.

The cost of the work doubled, but making matters worse, doctors say that serious basic mistakes have been made, making it difficult for them to provide quality services.

Investigative TV journalist Alicia Ortega toured the hospital and confirmed there are areas that were budgeted but not built, fewer beds, fewer offices for attending physicians, pediatrics left out and a cafeteria right next to the morgue. Her report will be broadcast this evening, Monday, 25 May 2015 at 9pm on Color Vision (Channel 9).



30 of 35 PLD political committee members hold senior government posts

It used to be said that one could not hold a public post to be a member of the influential PLD Political Committee. However, everything has changed and an overwhelming majority of 30 of the 35 Political Committee members now hold key government posts.

Meanwhile, PRM presidential candidate, Luis Abinader has criticized the fact that most government officials are dedicating long hours to re-election or politics, which is affecting the flow of government and national affairs.

The PLD Political Committee members are:

Reinaldo Pared Perez, party general secretary and National District senator
Vice President Margarita Cedeno
Minister of Sports Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal
Minister of Women Alejandrina German
Minister of Environment Bautista Rojas Gomez
Minister of Hacienda Simon Lizardo
Minister of Education Carlos Amarante Baret
Minister of Tourism Francisco Javier Garcia
Minister of Economy Juan Temistocles Montas
Minister of Interior and Police Jose Ramon Fadul
Minister of Public Works Gonzalo Castillo
Minister of Public Administration Ramon Ventura Camejo
Chamber of Deputies president Abel Martinez.
Senate president Cristina Lizardo
National District Deputy Miriam Altagracia Cabral Perez
National Deputy Radhames Camacho Cuevas
Santiago Senator Julio Cesar Valentin
Chamber of Deputies Vice president Lucia Medina Sanchez
Dominican consul in New York Eduardo Selman
Dominican ambassador in the United States Jose Tomas Perez
Ethics Commission Director Jose Joaquin Bido Medina
INAVI Director Alma Fernandez
Insurance Superintendent Euclides Gutierrez Felix
CDEEE Executive VP Ruben Jimenez Bichara
Dominican Petroleum Refinery President Felix Jimenez
Santo Domingo East Mayor Juan de los Santos
President Medina's Personal Assistant, Carlos Pared Perez
Presidency Legal Advisor Cesar Pina Toribio
Special Projects Director Lidio Cadet

Also former President Leonel Fernandez, former Vice President Rafael Alburquerque, former Attorney General Radhames Jimenez, former executive VP of the CDEEE Radhames Segura, and former Minister of Interior and Police Franklin Almeyda Rancier.



Proposals for business development on the Haitian border

Dominican businesspeople working together as the Quisqueya Bi-National Economic Council presented their proposals for investment on the border with Haiti to visiting commissioners from the Club de Madrid, former President Andres Pastrana of Colombia and former President Sebastian Pinera of Chile last week. Juan Vicini headed the presentation of the project, which is aimed at development and job creation, during a recent meeting at Casa de Campo. As reported in Diario Libre, the project will be implemented in four sectors and geographical areas: Dajabon-Ouanaminthe for industrial development, Comendador-Belladere for farming, Jimani-Malpasse for energy, and Pedernales-Anse-a-Pitre for tourism development.

Vicini said that the Quisqueya Bilateral has already invested US$3 million in technical studies. He said the plan is to develop a US$5 billion investment fund for the projects.

PRSC deputy Victor Bisono, who is the president of the Public Policies Analysis Center (CAPP), coordinated the meeting, which took place on Saturday, 23 May 2015.


Panama extends work and stay permits

The government of Panama has announced that it will not be suspending the benefits granted under the Crisol de Razas program that began in 2010. This will benefit 61,000 foreigners, including thousands of Dominicans who registered for the three and ten-year residence permits.

A decree establishes the renewal of the permits for six years so holders can continue living legally in Panama.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said it was a new program that seeks to reduce the number of illegal residents. Opponents to the extension of the program view the permits as a threat to jobs for Panamanians.

Ibero-American judicial ministers meet in Santo Domingo

The Conference of Ministers of Justice of Ibero-American Countries (COMJIB) is meeting in Santo Domingo from tomorrow, Tuesday 26 to Thursday 28 May 2015. The event at the Hotel Embajador will bring together attorneys general and judicial authorities from 16 countries in the region.

A delegation from Poland will also be attending the conference. Headed by Attorney General Andrzej Seremet, their agenda includes visits to the parents of children who were victims of sexual abuse by Polish priest Wojciech Gil, serving a seven-year jail sentence for the crime in his home country. Seremet will also sign a memorandum of judicial cooperation with the Dominican Republic Attorney General Office. The DR delegated the processing of the priest, who fled home to Poland after TV journalists exposed the case and that of Polish papal nuncio Jozef Wesolowski, also accused of sexual abuse in the Dominican Republic, whose trial was delegated to the Vatican authorities.


Eurochamber meeting to support small business in the DR

The European Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic is organizing an 8-10am breakfast-conference for 1 June 2015 to discuss ways of improving the positioning of micro, small business and medium enterprises (MSME) in the Dominican Republic. Chamber president Hans Witsenboer said that the event seeks to propose ways of creating a better environment for small business. Witzenboer highlights that the small business sector contributes 50% of jobs and 27% of GDP. "We have around 1.4 million micro, small business and medium enterprises and around 19,000 small and medium businesses but 96% of them operate outside the formal sector. Escipion Oliveira, director of Caribbean Export, which is supporting the event, said that it seeks to streamline the national development vision of Dominican business for presentation at the EU-CELAC summit of heads of state of the European Union and Latin America and the Caribbean taking place in Brussels on 10-11 June 2015.



Market days at the border with Haiti

Today, Monday 25 May 2015, Diario Libre publishes an extensive feature on the weekly markets that take place on the border with Haiti. These bi-national markets started in 1993 when the late President Joaquin Balaguer announced that Haitians would be allowed cross the border without paperwork to purchase food and return the same day. The authorization for the market day dates back to a time when there was an international embargo on Haiti. The first market day was held in Dajabon. Now the market day in Dajabon is held in a building constructed with financial support from the European Union, and is managed by the city government of Dajabon that receives around RD$9 million a year in rent from vendors. An expansion costing EUR5 million is underway for the congested facility. There is a proposal to build a similar facility in Haiti, also funded by the European Union.

Diario Libre reports that there are currently 14 market day points, of which 12 are in the Dominican Republic and two in Haiti. The market points and estimated number of visitors according to a 2010 census of vendors and buyers of bi-national markets on the border carried out by CEI-RD are:

Dajabon (24,856), Jimani-Malpasse (23,974), Pedernales (5,249), Hondo Valle (6,266), Banica (3,289), Restauracion (2,251), Tilory (1,383), Los Cacaos (906), Guayajayuco (804), Canada Miguel (527), El Corozo (478), Hato Viejo (301) and El Cacique (226). The census found that there were 5,221 vendors, of whom 51% were Haitians and 48% Dominicans, and most were women.

Diario Libre reports the Haitian authorities complain they are not able to tax sales on these informal markets of which the total volume transacted is not known. However, the CEI-RD estimates that exports to Haiti were US$1.05 billion in 2014. Haiti is the second largest export market for the DR.


Holdup at vocational school in Tenares

Teachers meeting at the Vicente Aquino Santos Vocational School in Tenares, Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo) province were victims of an armed robbery on Saturday, 23 May 2015. The thieves stole money, jewelry, credit cards and cellphones. A parent who was also present and tried to resist was beaten, school principal Daniel Almanzar told the francomacorisano.com website. The thieves arrived and left on a motorcycle. As reported, the security guard had left the gate to receive a delivery of the school breakfast. National Police northeast regional director General Neivis Luis Perez Sanchez is heading the investigations.



Actor Frank Perozo weds hotelier Dominique Colussi

Famous Dominican actor Frank Perozo (of Quien manda, Al sur de la inocencia and many other films) married Dominique Colussi in Bayahibe on Saturday, 23 May 2015. The prolific actor has taken a break from filmmaking. The couple was married at Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach Resort, which is owned by the bride's family.

The bride's parents are Ettore Colussi and Grisel Espinal.



Ari Barshi places second in North American Laser Masters

Dominican sailor Ari Barshi from Cabarete was the runner up in the North American Laser Masters that took place in South Carolina last week. The Charleston Carolina Yacht Club was the operations base.

10 races were held over the course of three days. The winner was Ernesto Rodriguez of Miami followed by runner-up Ari Barshi of the Dominican Republic and in third place defending champion Charles Buckingham of Haiku, Hawaii was fourth with an adjusted total of 70.


Mike Dawes en Casa de Teatro

English guitar virtuoso Mike Dawes will be at Casa de Teatro in Santo Domingo's Colonial City on Wednesday, 27 May at 8:30pm. Tickets are RD$750 and are for sale at the venue. Tel 809 689-3430. Dawes' music is influenced by folk, pop and rock. The show is being organized by Ocama Project.


Jordi Masalles at Lulu Tasting Bar

Mondays are a good time to take a break and stop by Lulu Tasting Bar in Santo Domingo's Colonial City to listen to good jazz music by architect Jordi Masalles and his quartet. This evening, Monday, 25 May 2015, jazz session (jazz, blues, swing, funk, bossa and more) is dedicated to mothers, in celebration of Mother's Day in the Dominican Republic on Sunday, 31 May. From 9pm. Calle Arz. Merino at the corner of Padre Billini. No cover. For reservations, phone 809 687-8360.


For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar

To read more news, see the DR1 News Archives at: http://dr1.com/premium/news/2015/index.shtml