Navarro to uphold ethics and calls for changes|
New Minister of Foreign Relations Andres Navarro, who was sworn in at the Presidential Palace yesterday, Tuesday 16 September 2104, stated that ethics and morality would guide his administration. He also spoke of the need for teamwork and working in coordination with other nations. Navarro said he would be implementing guidelines received from President Danilo Medina who is the chief of foreign relations. Navarro said it is time for using new logic in the implementation of foreign relations.
The new Minister takes over from former Vice President Carlos Morales Troncoso who was in the post for 10 years. Navarro is a 50-year old urban planner who has spent most of his career in the city government of Santo Domingo. From 2005 to 2008 he was assistant director of the government reforms program. At the time of his appointment he was chief of staff at the Ministry of Public Relations. He has also served as general secretary at the city government of Santo Domingo.
Rafael Ovalles promises transparency|
After being sworn in as the new director of the Institute of Technical Professional Training (Infotep) yesterday, Tuesday 16 September 2014, journalist Rafael Antonio Ovalles Rodriguez stated his belief that transparency is the cornerstone of good governance. "I take on this post convinced that dialogue, harmonizing different points of view and fluid relationships between labor-government-private sector will define my administration," he said.
Critics of his appointment say that someone with academic experience should have been chosen for this post. Law 116-80 establishes that the director general of Infotep needs to have had at least 10 years experience or knowledge in the management of institutions of the nature of Infotep. Ovalles was deputy press director at the Presidency at the time of his appointment, by means of decree 328-14.
Spotlight on Andres Bocio Fortuna for people trafficking|
President Danilo Medina appointed Andres Bocio Fortuna counselor minister in charge of the consulate in Belladere, Haiti (Decree 330-14) earlier this week, but news media have dug up reports of his arrests for smuggling Haitians in 2007 and 2014. The media also reports that Bocio Fortuna was also investigated for trafficking in visas for travel to Spain.
A consul in 2007 during the Leonel Fernandez government, he was dismissed after charges of operating a clandestine consulate were made.
Acento reports that on 5 May 2014 he was arrested by army intelligence (G2) agents after for transporting 15 undocumented Haitians from Comendador on the border with Haiti to Santo Domingo.
Charges were never brought against him in the courts. Acento says that he was able to evade justice thanks to his connections in the PLD and the government, as he is a member of the ruling party's Central Committee.
It also reports that in January 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Relations dismissed him as Dominican consul in Belladere, Haiti for operating two clandestine "consulates" managed by Haitian nationals and from where Dominican visas were issued without Ministry of Foreign Relations authorization.
His appointment by Medina returns him to the same consulate from where he was fired during the Fernandez government, now in the category of counselor minister, a diplomatic post.
When asked about the appointment, new Minister of Foreign Relations Andres Navarro said he was not informed about the situation.
Bocio Fortuna defended himself by saying he had worked in government all his life and had "no tail to be stepped on."
Finjus criticizes draft for political parties bill|
The Foundation for Institutionalism and Justice (Finjus) has described the proposal by the leadership of the ruling PLD party as a step back in politics and democracy.
Finjus vice president Servio Tulio Castanos Guzman said: "We have no doubt that if this bill were approved many of the situations that we want to correct will be perpetuated."
He criticized the proposed draft of bill for its lack of transparency and accountability in the management of public funds, the limited opportunities for women's participation in party politics, the inadequacy of the political candidates, the perpetuation of political patronage, and the low quality of political training, among others. He said the bill restricts the Central Electoral Board's remit over the political parties.
Castanos Guzman commented that the bill reduces internal democracy within the political parties and criticized the inclusion of a provision where if a person resigns from the political party, they must also resign their government post.
Industries call for meetings for signing of the Electricity Pact|
Dominican Republic Association of Industries vice president Circe Almanzar is calling on President Danilo Medina to convene the Economic and Social Council for the signing of the multi-sectorial electricity pact "as soon as possible".
As set out in the National Development Strategy Law, the pact seeks to harmonize positions for a comprehensive reform of the complex electricity sector and improve the country's competitiveness.
"We have been waiting for the announcement since January... we have done preliminary work, even the initiative of a draft of the executive order in the Economic and Social Council, there have been debates... all is ready. We do not understand the reasons for the delay," she said.
Colonial City to focus on pedestrians|
The Colonial City will become a "30 Zone" area where vehicles will not be allowed to travel faster than 30 kilometers per hour.
Colonial City tourism renewal program coordinator, architect Maribel Villalona, said that the aim was to create a European-type city that was more human-centered and had more character than US-influenced cities in Latin America.
Villalona said that although the plan was to preserve the city's historical essence, it also incorporated new ideas such as bollards to stop vehicles from parking in and around pedestrian areas. She said that they did not plan to pedestrianize the area, but to ensure that drivers realized that pedestrians should come first.
She said that power cables would be buried underground, and that the area would be restored to its original beauty, adding that shopkeepers would have the best area in the country for selling their wares.
Villalona said that some deliveries were now being made by bicycle rather than motorbike.
Prosecutors should receive pay rise|
Dozens of prosecutors across the country went on strike yesterday, Tuesday 16 September 2014, demanding a pay rise.
Attorney General Francisco Dominguez Brito said that he thought their demands were fair and that he would ask the government to add a salary increase to the 2015 budget.
According to reports, there was a good turnout for the strike, which took place peacefully with some strikers holding banners and placards outside courthouses. In Santiago the prosecutors were asking for the same salaries as the judges, on the grounds that they are exposed to the same risks.
A spokesman for the prosecutors, Patricio Rodriguez, said that their salaries were low considering the long hours they have to work and the risks to which they are exposed.
Changes in National Police|
National Police Chief Major General Manuel Castro Castillo has announced a series of changes within the institution.
General Boris C. Goico Campagna was appointed director of the Southeast Region, taking over from General Franklin Vittini Duran who moves to direct Support and Services. He replaces General Juan Pilarte Feliz who will be heading the Central Office specializing in Children and Adolescents, previously held by Goico Campagna.
General Juan Geronimo Brown Perez, the former head of the Metropolitan Transport Authority (AMET), becomes the Official Liaison between the Ministry of Defense and the National Police, taking over from General Julio F. Campos Rodriguez, who at the moment does not have another position.
Colonel Jose Antonio Ceballo becomes Director of the Central Criminal Intelligence unit, taking over from General Pablo Arturo Pujols, who was recently appointed AMET director by President Danilo Medina.
Colonel Lea E. Figuereo de La Paz takes over from General Ramon Alcantara as Director of the Police Museum.
Colonel Wascar Roa de los Santos becomes Director of the Police Health Unit, taking over from Dr. Maria Diaz de Gonzalez, and Dr. Luis Alfredo Cruz Guerrero becomes Executive Director of the General Police Hospital, a post previously held by Roa de los Santos.
Colonel Paul Cordero Montes de Oca is the new deputy director of the Central Criminal Intelligence Unit, taking over from Colonel Elvin F. Soriano Familia who moves to International Affairs, replacing Colonel Amauri Vantroi Tejada Cruz.
Colonel Miguel A. Jimenez Cruz becomes Administrative Director of the Police Reform Commission taking over from Colonel Francisco Ventura de Leon.
Finally, Rafael B. Ortega Martinez was appointed Director of the Academy of the Institute of Human Dignity (IDIH) replacing Colonel Maria Altagracia Ynfante Reyes.
Telecom interference from Haiti|
Claro, Viva, Tricom and Orange telecoms company executives say that telephone signals in five border provinces are affected by interference from Haitian communications companies.
Orange vice president Eduardo Valcacer, in his role as spokesman for the telecoms companies, said that there was interference in Elias Pina, Jimani, Pedernales, Dajabon and Montecristi.
According to Valcacer, the interference is caused by poor calibration or bad spectrum management by the Haitian communications companies and that all of the Dominican telecoms companies had tried to discuss this with them via email, calls and other methods but nothing had been done.
He asked the Senate to become involved to sort out the problem along the border, which would benefit all their clients as well as those who lived in Haiti.
Valcacer said that they and the other companies had received numerous complaints that affected them both economically and in terms of customer service. He went on to say that in this country the calibration was correct, as was the use of the band spectrum they were allocated, but the Haitian systems were interfering with it.
He said that the only time there was coverage in the border area was after the earthquake when the Haitians telecoms systems were down, but once they were repaired and the antennae were replaced then the interference started again.
Senator Adriano Sanchez Roa is asking the Senate Transport and Telecommunications committee to investigate and solve the issue.
Committee chairman Dr. Jose Rafael Vargas said that the Haitian authorities have told them that they did not have the equipment to sort out the frequencies in the country.
Sanchez Roa, speaking on behalf of the PLD said that although the Dominican Telecommunications Institute (Indotel) was not represented at the meeting, its involvement was essential so they have asked their president Gedeon Santos to be there next week.
Too many students taking drugs|
National Drug Council president Fidias Aristy says that around 200,000 Dominican students are involved in drugs and crime.
Speaking to the Senate Permanent Education Committee, chaired by Manuel Paula, he said that the rate of drugs being used in state schools, colleges and night schools around the country was a major cause for concern.
Fidias Aristy told the committee members that the highest rate of drug use was found among adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19, whereas only 3% in the over 20 age group used drugs.
Manuel Paula called on parents to become more involved in their children's education and to try and keep them away from using drugs.
Senators Rafael Vargas, Amarilis Santana, Felix Maria Nova, Ivonne Chahin Sasso and Jose Maria Sosa were present at the meeting. The commission chairman said that they hoped that Education Minister Carlos Amarante Baret would be present to discuss the issue next week.
DR is ranked 20th in world basketball|
After its performance in the FIBA World Championship 2014, the Dominican Republic is ranked 20th in the world. The DR finished 13th of 24 participating countries. The president of the Dominican Basketball Federation said the goal is to climb up to the 12-15 positions. In the Americas, the DR is behind the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
International Dance Festival at Bellas Artes|
Dance companies from Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Martinique, Norway, Puerto Rico, Spain, Switzerland and host Dominican Republic are participating in the 9th International Dance Festival (Edanco 2014).
The event opened yesterday at the Palacio de Bellas Artes and performances will continue through 28 September. The festival is organized by Edmundo Poy. Tickets are RD$100. See the schedule at http://festivaledanco.jimdo.com
Drama at Teatro Guloya|
Teatro Guloya presents "Juana, una locura de amor" by Pepe Cibrian Campoy performed by the Teatro Alternative. The play is based on the legendary Joanna the Mad who was the Spanish queen of Castile from 1504 and of Aragon from 1516. Starring roles by Lorena Oliva and Canek Donis, directed by Manuel Chapuseaux. Thursday, 25 September through Sunday, 28 September. Performances on Thursday to Saturday at 8:30pm, Sunday at 6:30pm.
"Attention, Attention" is a children's play produced by Edith Smester to be shown at the National Theater. Tickets: RD$3,000, RD$1,500 and RD$800 are for sale at the box office and at UEPA tickets. Performances at 3:30 and 7pm on Saturday, 27 September 2014.
For more on ongoing and upcoming events, see http://www.dr1.com/calendar
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