Commemorating 30 March battle against Haiti|
President Danilo Medina headed the Sunday, 30 March afternoon parade for the commemoration of the 30 March Battle of Santiago. The battle was crucial in influencing Haitian troops to return to Haiti. The DR had proclaimed its independence on 27 February. History tells that on 30 March 1844, in Santiago, Dominican troops led by General Jose Maria Imbert defeated Haitian troops led by General Jean-Louis Pierrot.
For the occasion, President Medina inspected the military-police-student parade that commemorated the 170th anniversary of the epic battle, accompanied by the armed forces chiefs of staff.
In addition, most cabinet ministers were present, including Minister of Defense Sigfrido Pared Perez, Minister of Interior and Police Jose Ramon Fadul, Police chief Major General Manuel Castro Castillo, Santiago governor Aura Toribio, Santiago senator Julio Cesar Valentin, bishop of Santiago Ramon Benito de la Rosa y Carpio, Santiago mayor Gilberto Serulle, Presidency administrative minister Jose Ramon Peralta, along with Public Health Minister Freddy Hidalgo, Education Minister Carlos Amarante, Higher Education Minister Ligia Amada Melo, Minister of Women Alejandrina German, Agriculture Minister Luis Ramon Rodriguez, and Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito.
CDEEE head forecasts fix up for electricity sector|
Ruben Jimenez Bichara, the general manager of the Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) says that negotiations are in process for expanding the use of natural gas, which he described as key to resolving the deficient electricity sector. He told the press that the government is working on signing for the supply of at least 10 ships of natural gas as of 2016 so that power generated in the eastern area of the country is natural gas-fired. The government is also hoping to complete the installation of coal-fired generators by the end of Medina's term in August 2016. Jimenez says that the 50 hydroelectric generators will also contribute to the Dominican electricity park becoming "one of the most efficient in the world," as reported in Hoy.
On Friday, 28 March, Jimenez presented an Overview on the National Electricity Sector detailing the advances of the Medina government plan for the comprehensive solution of the Dominican electricity sector. He said the threefold plan consists of changes in the generation matrix, losses reduction and efficiency in management. Jimenez said that the CDEEE would be starting a nationwide campaign this month to sign up new paying consumers. He said that brigades would be visiting areas in the country starting the second half of the year to ensure that more consumers who receive the service are paying for it, as reported in Listin Diario.
Economic growth increases, poverty also|
The talk of the day is the statistics that show that the Dominican Republic's sustained high economic growth has been accompanied by an increase in poverty. Javier Baez, economist and poverty specialist for the World Bank attributed the contrasting numbers to the low social spending and the poor quality of spending of Dominican taxation resources. He said levels of spending for water, education, health and electricity are below averages for other Latin American countries, as reported in Hoy.
He said that the report "When Prosperity is not Shared", released in February 2014, found that on average Latin American countries showed a reduction poverty, but in the Dominican Republic the trend was inverted. The World Bank report suggested major institutional reforms in the Dominican Republic as a way of accelerating poverty reduction and shared prosperity.
The report highlighted that while having one of the fastest growth rates in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), above 5% per year from 2000 to 2011, many of the 10 million Dominicans missed out on the benefits of economic development.
The report highlighted that GDP per capita rose 50% as opposed to a 26% increase in LAC in the last decade. Yet, only 2% of Dominicans escaped poverty compared to the 40% of poor Latin Americans.
Baez said that three out of every 10 people in the DR were poor in 2000, but as of 2010, four out of every 10 are poor.
Herrera Industries Association spokesman Victor Castro said that growth had been and continues to be "perverse" while there is so much inequality and the highest social immobility in Latin America and the Caribbean. He said that in the past decade 19.3% of the population, especially the middle class, has lowered their economic capacity compared to 1.5% in Latin America and the Caribbean.
"We are building a social time bomb. Inequality accompanies economic growth, the middle class is smaller, employment levels are stagnant and the market is weakening. We have to stop and urgently build a new model," he said. He said only 2% have improved their status in the Dominican Republic.
Working to save the Ozama and Isabela Rivers|
The Commonwealth of Greater Santo Domingo, the Municipality of Santo Domingo East, the Ministry of Environment and other institutions are working on the recovery of the La Lechuga gully, to the south of Cachon de la Rubia in Santo Domingo East as part of the plan to recover the Ozama and Isabela rivers.
Commonwealth director Onofre Rojas said that the recovery of La Lechuga is part of a master plan to environmentally rescue the polluted rivers. There is the possibility that the French Development Agency will contribute EUR500,000 toward designing the recovery plan. The Municipality is providing a truck to collect garbage to ensure the upkeep. The Dominican Red Cross, Ciudad Alternativa and other entities are also taking part.
Public Health Ministry announces traffic accident prevention action plan|
The number of traffic accidents in the Dominican Republic has increased to the point where it is now seen as a national health issue. Minister of Public Health Freddy Hidalgo announced on Saturday, 29 March that a new multi-sectorial commission has created an action plan to deal with the issue. "The government invests around RD$800 million in caring for patients affected by traffic accidents. The statistics show that accidents are the leading cause of death in the country," said Hidalgo.
Turtles return to Dominican beaches to lay eggs|
The Ministry of Environment, through its Coastal Resources Program, has announced the start of the turtle-nesting season and called on the public to protect this endangered species. The leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) is the largest of all living turtles and lays its eggs on Dominican beaches.
The Ministry seeks to raise public awareness of the turtle's importance. Threats to the turtle include solid waste, mainly plastics, deforestation of the coastal vegetation and human turtle eggs and meat consumption.
The Ministry says that it has already registered nests of turtles on Playa El Valle in Samana, La Vacama in La Altagracia, north of Punta Cana, Isla Saona and the Parque Nacional Jaragua in the southwest.
The leatherback turtle can reach a length of two meters and weigh as much as 1,000 pounds.
JCE gets quality assurance certificates|
The Central Electoral Board (JCE) has announced the European Quality Assurance has certified it in the ISO/DIS 17582 and ISO9001-2008 systems. JCE president Roberto Rosario says that this is a reflection of the efficiency, transparency and honesty of the JCE systems. The work was funded by the Organization of American States (OAS).
The ISO 17582 certificate specifies the requirements for a quality management system where an electoral organization can demonstrate its ability to manage elections by secret ballot, which provides reliable, transparent, free and fair results that comply with electoral requirements. The certificate also establishes that the organization, within the established legal framework, aims to enhance the trust and confidence of citizens, candidates, political organizations, and other electoral interested parties through the effective implementation of the electoral quality management system, including processes for continual improvement.
The JCE said that the quality management system covered the processes of electoral registration (civil registry and ID cards), registration of candidates, recognition of political parties, electoral logistics, voting, vote count and issuing of bulletins, electoral and political education, delivery of funds to the state and political parties.
The ISO 9001:2008 specifies the requirements for a quality management system where an organization can demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
Migration director on chaos in management and Deguis being used|
The director of Migration Jose Ricardo Taveras has admitted the Dominican government has mismanaged migration for more than 100 years. He said the present authorities now needed to make amends for the shortcomings. In a TV interview with Hector Herrera Cabral on Sunday, 30 March, Taveras said that one of the ways to get around it would be to integrate these people into Dominican society. He made the point, nevertheless, that Constitutional Court Ruling 168-13 needs to be respected.
"The Dominican state has to pay some price for the errors of its predecessors. We have had chaos in migration policies for more than 100 years and it is a moral duty to integrate those who are in the civil registry," said Taveras.
He said in the government there is a firm will to resolve the human issues within the nation's sovereignty.
Taveras defended Migration inspectors for not allowing Juliana Deguis to leave the country without a passport. He said all migration policies around the world rule that travel documentation is required, and in this case a passport. He criticized the attitude of US authorities that issued Deguis with a visa without her having a passport and then attributed her with Dominican nationality in the visa. "That was an unacceptable lack of courtesy, an unfortunate excess by the United States against a country like the Dominican Republic that has always showed solidarity and acted warmly and with respect," said the officer.
He said that Juliana Deguis's legal status could be regularized in less than 20 minutes but she has not wanted to and is being used by groups that profit from the situation and tragedy of the Haitian people.
The unexpected virtue of Constitutional Court Ruling 168-13|
In Diario Libre newspaper's editorial today, 31 March 2014, executive editor Adriano Miguel Tejada writes that the great virtue, the great discovery of the Constitutional Court Ruling 168-13 is that it has brought to the forefront a reality that many did not want us to see until it was too late, if it is not already too late.
"It is all about political power, that is, to give the capacity to vote in the national elections to people who respond to another nation, even if they have been born here, so that they can influence the Dominican political system," he writes.
He said that the same thing happens with Dominicans in the United States, with the difference that that system is not affected by foreign influences as ours is.
"That scandal is not linked to humanitarian issues. If you want to see how it works, just propose that those people will not be allowed to vote in the elections or become candidates for legislators to see the reaction," he writes.
"We are to blame for having allowed the peaceful invasion, for not having instilled Dominican values in so many children of Haitians who were born and live here. We never made them swear for the Dominican flag. They were invisible while they lived in the sugar towns, but 15 years ago this was no longer the case, and nothing was done," he writes.
He concludes: "Now, as the director of Migration says, 'some price will have to be paid' for the errors of the past."
"But do not wrongly judge the ruling that is not to blame. The decision of our High Court simply took the blindfold away and forces us to act. That is its great merit," he writes in the editorial.
DR strengthens its ties with T&T|
Trinidad & Tobago Trade Minister Vasant Bharath has announced that the DR will have a strong presence at the Trade and Investment Convention organized by the government of Trinidad from 2-5 July 2014.
Dominican ambassador in T&T Jose Serulle Ramia announced a large delegation from the Dominican Republic would attend the TIC 2014 to promote investment while enhancing and extending bilateral relations. The DR is a major importer of natural gas from Trinidad & Tobago.
Paying by mobile increases in DR|
Dominicans are increasingly using the facility of paying bills through their mobile phones. Diario Libre reports that the first system was introduced in July 2010 with tPago through the Popular and Reservas banks and Claro telecom. In 2014, Orange M-Peso with Orange telecom and Popular bank offered another option. The mobile payment systems now have extended to other banks, including the Progreso, Banco Union, Lopez de Haro, BDI, Ademi, Adopem and Alaver, as reported.
Manuel Grullon of tPago says that the program affiliates now total 500,000 and 9,000 businesses have been affiliated. Central Bank statistics show that as of December 2013, there were 512,579 mobile payment plan users. Grullon said that in 2013, some 13.7 million transactions for RD$3 billion were processed.
Confiscated ranch is women's correction center|
The ranch where a drug lab was found in September 2013 and confiscated from Colombian brothers Huber and Angel Maria Buitrago, charged with drug trafficking, has been converted into a Correction and Rehabilitation Center for Women by the Attorney General Office. The property covers an area of 62,900 square meters in Sabana Toro, San Cristobal. Women who have served three quarters of their terms in the Najayo and Bani jails are relocated there. Most of the women are in jail for acting as drug smuggling "mules" and had been arrested at Dominican airports. During their time in jail the women can take courses in beauty, recycling, arts and crafts, can learn to swim and there are aerobics classes, said the director of the new center, Cristiana Martinez, as reported in Hoy.
Thief killed after making a fatal jump|
A man who had stolen RD$25,240 from a spare parts business at Km. 3 of the San Francisco de Macoris-Santo Domingo highway has been found dead on the pavement. He is suspected to have died from head injuries suffered as a result of the fall when trying to reach the roof of the Repuesto Patsu Auto Parts. As reported, he miscalculated when trying to escape after committing the robbery. The deceased was identified as 21-year old Samuel Cruz Olivares (alias Sandy).
The preliminary police report on the case says that on Friday, 28 March, Cruz broke into the business and took the money and then tried to leave unnoticed. He chose to climb up the back wall to get to the roof. But he missed and fell to his death.
The body was found on Saturday morning, 29 March by company personnel.
Rains forecast for Monday and Tuesday|
The Weather Department (Onamet) says that a frontal trough will be bringing continuous light rains to the northwest, north, west and northeast of the country. The rest of the country will be affected by high humidity. There will be short showers in the east and southeast.
The rains are welcome. Onamet director Gloria Ceballos told Diario Libre that the drought has been severe this year. She said the southwest and the northwest have been the most affected areas. She was optimistic that the rains will come in the first days of April.
Bachata, merengue, salsa and reggaeton at Jet Set|
This Monday evening, 31 March with music starting at 10pm, Jet Set Club at Av. Independencia presents Ramon Orlando with his popular merengue songs, Sexappeal with its romantic salsa sounds and La Nueva Escuela with urban music (reggaeton).
Pavel Nunez on stage after returning from Italy|
Dominican contemporary musician-composer Pavel Nunez is just back from Turin where he was working on his latest production. To warm up for the introduction, he will be sharing his Greatest Hits with his fans in a performance on Wednesday, 2 April at Hard Rock Cafe by Columbus Park in Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone.
Book Fair readies for 24 April opening|
The most popular cultural event in the Dominican Republic, the Santo Domingo International Book Fair (FILRD14) is set to take place at the grounds of Plaza de la Cultura opening on 24 April and running through 5 May. The event is organized by the Ministry of Culture and its Book and Reading Department. This year the fair is dedicated to poet Domingo Moreno Jimenez and Panama is the guest country. The government is focusing on education as a priority for society and the Dominican government, domestic violence and young people.
There will be areas dedicated to literature, arts, gastronomy, and the life and work of poet Domingo Moreno Jimenez. A special pavilion will be dedicated to the memory of Belgica Adela Mirabal (Dede), the late sister of national heroines the Mirabal Sisters.
For more on upcoming events, see www.dr1.com/calendar
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