DP World CEO visits Medina and Ikea facilities at Caucedo Logistics Center
DR looking to increase benefits from mines
Unicef announces soap opera campaign to reduce teenage pregnancies
Inflation up .64% in September 2017
DR is ideal for connecting UK with Latin America
Three lawyers proposed to review open primaries proposal
Copardom Congress to deal with sustainability
Official says government trying to cut down bribes and corruption
Coopnama: the newest government scandal
El Dia: Groups that should be setting the example
Entertainment commission suspends Alvaro Arvelo
Naco Golf & Country Club hearing postponed for November
COE issues warnings for 19 provinces
Luis Severino turned boos to cheers
Merengue exhibition at Galeria 360
Los Ilegales at Hard Rock Live
Dominicana Moda - 18-21 October 2017

DP World CEO visits Medina and Ikea facilities at Caucedo Logistics Center
The CEO of DP World, the fourth largest operator of port terminals around the world, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem visited President Danilo Medina at the Presidential Palace on 10 October 2017. DP World operates the Punta Caucedo Multimodal Port, the most important in the country.

The Presidency reported that the visiting executive expressed his intention to continue investing in the Dominican Republic. He expressed that more and more, a presence for companies in the Dominican Republic will not be a choice but a necessity for those who want to grow their business.

As reported, the Sultan said the plan for DP World in Caucedo is to develop a port that is more than a transshipment point. He said that in July of this year, Ikea became the first multinational to set up a logistic hub at the Caucedo Logistics Center at the Caucedo Multimodal Port. Ikea opened the hub based on the strategic geographic location and the expedited customs procedures in the country.

Ikea is planning to enter South America in its quest to dominate the world’s home furnishings market, Bloomberg recently reported. Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru are among the first countries Ikea may enter in Latin America, Inter Ikea Chief Executive Officer Torbjorn Loof told Bloomberg. So far the only full Ikea store in the Latin American and Caribbean region is in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

During the visit to President Medina, the Sultan was accompanied by Samuel Conde, president of Multimodal Caucedo and Morten Johansen, DP World local general manager. Also, participating in the meeting were Luisa Fernández, executive director of the National Free Zone Council and Enrique Ramírez, director of the Customs Agency (DGA).

The sultan had been in the Dominican Republic in October 2015 for the opening of the Caucedo Logistics Center at the Caucedo Multimodal Port.


DR looking to increase benefits from mines
The first draft of the National Mining Bill, now in public comments phase at the Ministry of Energy and Mines, proposes to establish a new series of benefits for the Dominican state on the exploitation of its mines, including a government profit sharing provision that ranges from 40% to 60%. The bill creates the concept of Participation in the State Mining Income that seeks to improve government earnings from mining.

According to the El Dia newspaper, this new concept will function inside the framework of a new tax regime that is described in the first draft of the legislation.

The bill draft establishes that for mining companies or refineries the Participation in the State Mining Income can in no case be less than 40% of the total mining income at each concession. The proposal also talks about state participation that might vary from 44% to as much as 60% depending on markets and other circumstances, in the case of exceptionally favorable prices, for example.

The proposal that is currently at the Presidential Ministry, also establishes the obligatory quarterly publication of the financial statements of the mining enterprises as part of a transparency program.

Illicit mining is also covered and can be penalized with as much as a 15-year suspension of any licenses or permits, plus indemnities.

The bill draft proposes a maximum duration of a mining concession be 25 years. In the current Mining Law 146 – 71 mining concessions can be granted for 100 years.

Unicef announces soap opera campaign to reduce teenage pregnancies
Vice President Margarita Cedeño was present for the launching at the Silver Sun Gallery Cinema theater on 10 October 2017 of the United Nations Children’s Fund campaign to change the early cohabitation that affects a third of girls under 18 years in the Dominican Republic.

“The Worst Soap Opera” is the name of the drama that tells the story of two teenagers. These are 14-year old Kenia, who lives with her mom in a rural community. The mother, seeking a better life for both, hands her daughter over to live with a 55-year old man. Paola is another teenager who chooses cohabitation to escape a family life of psychological, physical and sexual violence, hoping that her life will improve with marriage.

The soaps have five chapters lasting a minute each. They will be passed on Telesistema (Channel 11), Telemicro (Channel 5), Channel 4, Channel 9 and several online media starting Monday, 16 October 2017.

“It is time to break the silence, without cynicism, to defend the right of these girls to have a happy childhood; we are the second region in the world with the greatest incidence of this great problem," said the regional director of Unicef for Latin America and the Caribbean, María Cristina Perceval at the launching of the TV series.

The ambassador stressed the "pure coincidence" that Unicef, the local government, media and civil society organizations, have joined forces to carry out this campaign in favor of Dominican children.

According to data admitted by the authorities, by the year 2014, 37% of women between the ages of 20 and 24 stated that they had been cohabiting before the age of 18, and 12% before the age of 15. Data shows that early “marriages” in the Dominican Republic result in pregnancies in two of three teenagers.

The DR is one of the countries with the highest rates of child “marriage” in the Latin American and Caribbean region. "Child marriage, far from benefiting girls, truncates their future and deepens them in poverty, because it is duly documented that those who suffer from this situation are at the lowest levels of income," said Rosa Elcarte, the director of the Unicef office in Santo Domingo. She remarked that the TV serial drama will not have an echo in society until there is a change in mindset. "As long as we assume as normal that a girl has to marry or unite before age 18, we will not move forward in eradicating this problem,” she observed. “We all have to stop thinking like this so things really start to change," she insisted during the presentation.


Inflation up .64% in September 2017
The Central Bank reports that rises in the cost of fuel in the Dominican Republic had the most important effect on the Consumer Price Index increase in September 2017. The CPI was up 0.64% compared to the indicator for August 2017.

The Central Bank says that accumulated inflation from January to September is 2.42%, and inter annual inflation (September 2016-September 2017) is at 3.80%. The Central Bank had estimated yearend inflation would be 4% (± 1.0%).


DR is ideal for connecting UK with Latin America
On occasion of the celebration of Dominican Week in the United Kingdom, the president of the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic (AIRD), Campos de Moya, highlighted the Dominican Republic is an ideal destination for trade connections between the United Kingdom and the Americas. De Moya highlighted that the Dominican Republic has the infrastructure and benefits necessary for British companies to base their Latin American business operations here. "Our country has the ports and logistical facilities that allow the UK and the region to be connected and thus increase the commercial development of our industries," he said.

Dominican ambassador in London, Federico Cuello Camilo, added that the Dominican Republic is one of the few countries in the region that has a direct maritime connection with the United Kingdom.

De Moya and Cuello Camilo spoke at the Canning House in London in the framework of the 6th Dominican Week in the United Kingdom. Present were Minister of Industry and Commerce Nelson Toca Simó and the president of the British Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic, José Rodríguez.

"On our south coast, DP World Caucedo has a direct connection to DP World London Gateway, with two ships, one from Hamburg Sud and another from CMC-CMG. And in the north, Manzanillo has weekly Geest Lines service to Portsmouth Harbor. These services guarantee less than 9 days of transit time to the United Kingdom, the lowest in Latin America and the Caribbean," said the diplomat.


Three lawyers proposed to review open primaries proposal
Member lawyers of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) have proposed attorneys José Manuel Hernández Peguero, Namphi Rodríguez and Ramón Núñez to be the members of a commission of constitutional experts that would render a report to the Political Committee of the party on the model of political party primaries that should be included in the Political Parties Bill. The names of the propose nominees were sent to the PLD in a letter addressed to the president of the organization, San Juan de la Maguana senator Felix Bautista, former President Leonel Fernandez who is president of the PLD and secretary general, National District senator Reinaldo Pared Perez.

The Political Party and the Electoral bills have been stuck in Congress for over 20 years due to particular interests of the ruling parties. This time around it is the PLD where the two leading factions have differences over how the primaries should be organized.

The Medina faction within the PLD favors that the political primaries be organized with any person eligible to vote in the general election being allowed to vote in the primaries of each political party. And since the Medina backed PLD members have the majority in the National Congress, this faction could force through its primary structure preferences. The Fernandez faction of the PLD differed, but agreed that a commission made up of at most five constitutional experts review the proposal of the open primaries.

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Justice (SCJ) already had declared a bill that sought to institute open, simultaneous primaries that were organized by the Central Electoral Board (JCE), as again proposed by the Medina faction, was in violation of the Constitution, indicating that this would violate more than one fundamental right.

Former presidential candidate and National District prosecutor, Guillermo Moreno alerted that with an open primaries scheme only pre-candidates who could afford a national campaign and to mobilize millions to vote will be able to successfully run for a party. “One does not have to be a genius to know how the campaigns of those pre-candidates will be financed. Because of that, open primaries will deepen the legitimacy and representativeness crisis of the so-called representative democracy,” he wrote in a commentary in Diario Libre. “Danilo Medina is insisting on the open primaries scheme because he knows that a broad band of the population is vulnerable to political patronage and government welfare, which will allow him to have a mass of voters to build majorities within his party and in other parties,” he observed.

Luis Abinader, former presidential candidate for the leading opposition party, the Revolutionary Modern Party (PRM) proposed that a Bicameral Commission of the Congress undertake reaching a consensus for the passing of the Political Parties Bill and that this not be a decision of the Political Committee of the ruling PLD party nor any group in particular.


Copardom Congress to deal with sustainability
The yearly congress held by the Management Confederation of the Dominican Republic (Copardom) will deal with the issues such as preventing labor risks (injuries etc.) as an important strategy for sustainability in most companies. The 15th Copardom Congress will be held on 17 and 18 October at the Hotel Jaragua Renaissance in Santo Domingo and will include both and national and international experts together with the traditional commercial expositions. The inauguration of the activity will be headed by the Minister of Labor, José Ramon Fadul (a.k.a. Monchy) and the President of Copardom Fermin Acosta. There will be conferences by speakers from Colombia, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Spain, Panama as well as the Dominican Republic.

Specialists will also share their knowledge about the identification of ergonomic risks, rescue procedures and national policies for risk prevention together with strategic management of the environmental risks.

Taking advantage of the enactment of new Traffic Law 63-17 there will be a talk on the legislation.


Official says government trying to cut down bribes and corruption
The director of Governmental Integrity and Ethics, Lidio Cadet, told reporters on Tuesday, 10 October 2017, that the government is working hard to be more efficient and transparent. Cadet made his statements after the release a publication that reported that the Dominican Republic is ranked 2nd in corruption in Latin America. The publication is entitled: Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer, People and Corruption: Latin America and the Caribbean Index 2017.

Cadet pointed out: “Where there is the most corruption, where there is the real corruption is in purchasing, contracts for projects, services and concessions by the state.” He said that the Medina administration has been taking strong measures against corruption and the noose is tightening for those who chose to break the law regarding the honest handling of government business.

He said that recently President Danilo Medina issued a decree that includes procedures for purchases and contracts, establishing the complete process of procurement and reporting procedures for official government contracts.

Cadet said that now people can access public information and that the Directorate of Governmental Integrity and Ethics has just launched a website with detailed information about government agencies and programs so that the public has easy access to the official business of the government.

He said that the Transparency International survey also features different institutions that are not part of the Central Government. He said people that were polled were also talking about the Justice Branch of government. He said that working for the state there are people doing things right just as there are others who are doing things improperly. He noted that the report also refers to the private sector, adding that when there is corruption in the public administration there’s always a private person or group involved in the illicit activities.


Coopnama: the newest government scandal
An audit carried out by the Ministry of Education under architect Andrés Navarro has revealed several irregularities. A red flag is now out on the Cooperativa Nacional de Maestros (Coopnama), an entity whose budget is larger than 14 ministries of state, as reported in El Dia.

El Dia reports that the Ministry of Education retains 20% of the payroll that is transferred to the public teacher cooperative. With the public teacher payroll at RD$5.47 billion, the retentions amount to about RD$15.6 billion for 2017, or about 10% of the RD$152 billion the Ministry has budgeted for 2018.
In addition it is now publicly known that the Ministry of Education also delivers RD$25 million a month to the ADP for payments of cooperative membership quotas.

On 10 October 2017, the Dominican Alliance Against Corruption (Adocco) requested that the public teachers’ cooperative share their financials. Adocco says that the cooperative has refused to reveal how it has spent the teachers’ money from January 2012 to September 2017 the sum of RD$1.16 billion received from the Ministry of Education for the payment of public school teacher membership quotas.

Coopnama has a board presided by Valentin Medrano, Francisco Santana, Fernando Rodriguez and Mario Olivo.


El Dia: Groups that should be setting the example
An editorial in El Dia newspaper on 11 October 2017 focuses on three important professional unions that should be setting an example for the rest of society and are doing the contrary. These are:
Dominican Medical Association (CMD) that groups medical staff at public hospitals. El Dia reports that the strike called this time by the CMD is for the difference of a wage increase for a handful of physicians that the board of the CMD has not been incapable of providing. The National Health Service that overseas public hospitals in the country, says that 369 physicians have not received the 15% increase because they show up with irregularities in the payroll and that the situation of each is being investigated.

The Dominican Federation of Students (FED), the student body at the state UASD university, announced it will not suspend their president, despite the later being under arrest for accusations of student fraud. Last week, the FED motivated student uprising at the UASD, forcing the closing of classes in protest of the case being heard in court.

It is now known that the Dominican Association of Professors (ADP) that groups public school teachers receives around RD$1.3 billion in quotas from the National Teachers Cooperative (Coopnama) over the past five years. The public school teachers cooperative receives more than RD$16 billion a year in retentions carried out by the Ministry to the wages of the public school teachers. El Dia reports that the teachers have the right to demand transparency in the way these funds have been managed.


Entertainment commission suspends Alvaro Arvelo
The Comisión Nacional de Espectáculos Públicos y Radiofonía (CNEPR), the national commission of public entertainment, suspended broadcaster Alvaro Arvelo from speaking on radio or TV for having offended and denigrating the figure of founding father Juan Pablo Duarte in Resolution 002-17. The action was taken after the Duarte Institute protested Arvelo’s remarks.

The commission ruled that Arvelo used expressions contrary to morals and good customs when referring to Duarte when hosting historian Roberto Cassá, of the National Archives, on the Gobierno de la Mañana talk show on Z101.

In commenting on Duarte, Arvelo had called the founding father a “coward”, “who did not have character nor balls” and had preferred exile for 20 years in Venezuela, rather to fight in the restoration wars. He also called Duarte irresponsible, depressive and homosexual for having abandoned his ailing money and his family in the Dominican Republic.


Naco Golf & Country Club hearing postponed for November
The court hearing the case of alleged fraud against purchasers of real estate in the Naco Golf & Country Club promoted by the Club Deportivo Naco was postponed after one of the key defendants failed to appear in court. Alejandro (Chito) Asmar, former president of the Club Naco, filed a motion claiming illness. This led to the case being postponed until 24 November 2017.

The court named a commission made up of representatives from the National Forensic Medicine Institute (Inacif), National District prosecutors, and a physician suggested by plaintiffs to evaluate and render a report to the court on the health of Asmar.

A large number of those purchasing property have sued the Club Deportivo Naco and members of its board during the periods 2006-2011. On 31 August 2017, Judge Vladimir Marx Rosario García of the 9th Court of the Penal Chamber of the National District had rejected the arguments presented by Alejandro Asmar, Antonio Alma, Omar Awad, Rafael Emilio Moscoso Silva, the Club Deportivo Naco and San Andrés Caribe Country Club and accepted the arguments and evidence presented by those suing. The accused had alleged they were not aware of the charges filed against them and at the time the judge postponed the start of the hearing of the evidence for 10 October.


COE issues warnings for 19 provinces
The Emergency Operations Center (COE) increased to 19 the number of provinces under weather alerts and warnings due to a low pressure system currently over the country. Provinces under yellow alert are: Hato Mayor, Monte Plata, El Seibo and Monseñor Nouel. The green alert extends to San Juan, Sanchez Ramirez, Duarte, La Romana, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, the Altagracia, Samana, San Pedro de Macoris, Santiago, Santo Domingo, National District, La Vega, San Cristobal, San Jose de Ocoa and Azua.

According to the bulletin issued by the COE, a possible small tornado located in the Batey Los Chicharrones in the municipality of Consuelo, San Pedro de Macoris affected seven houses, four of which were repaired by their owners who had to find refuge in houses belonging to friends and family.

The Emergency Operations Center also reported the collapse of the bridge over the Cienfuegos irrigation canal that communicates the village of Villa Hermosa with the Rieles in the province of Santiago.

The rains are expected to continue on Wednesday, 11 October 2017, falling sporadically throughout the country as the low pressure system moves over the country according to the National Meteorological Office (Onamet).

There is also a tropical wave, to the East of the Lesser Antilles, which is approaching Dominican territory and promising a continuation of these rain showers.

Onamet is maintaining its alert for possible flooding of some rivers and streams in 15 of the 32 provinces, among these Duarte and Samana and Hato Mayor that were the provinces most affected last month by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The Onamet bulletin requests that the people who live in these flood prone areas to be alert. At this time no small craft warnings have been issued for any of the coastline.


Luis Severino turned boos to cheers
In the American League Wild Card playoff game, Luis Severino the opening pitcher for the New York Yankees, lasted less than an inning having given up three runs and getting only one out and left the field to what is popularly known as Bronx cheers (really loud boos). Up to that unfortunate game, he had been known as the best opening pitcher for the Yankees throughout the regular season. Fortunately for Severino, the Yankees came back and won the playoff game over the Minnesota Twins.

After losing two games in Cleveland the Yankees came back to New York where they won game three and then it was time for game 4, and the ball was given back to starting pitcher Luis Severino. This time, instead of hearing the Bronx cheers, the stadium was rocked with calls of “SE-VE-RI-NO” as he pitched seven innings, striking out nine as he helped the Yankees win 8 to 3 in the Division Series.

Luis Severino is only 23 years old and he is from Sabana de la Mar. In this crucial game 4, Severino conquered his nerves as he got really good advice from the two other Dominicans on the Yankees, catcher Gary Sanchez and second baseman Starlin Castro. With his help he mowed down the Cleveland batters and pushed team to victory.

A fifth game will be played on 11 October 2017 in Cleveland.


Merengue exhibition at Galeria 360
An exhibition ongoing at the Galeria 360 shopping mall renders tribute to merengue as universal cultural heritage. In 2016, the UNESCO added merengue to its Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The exhibit, “Dominican Merengue: Intangible Cultural Heritage is organized by the Ministry of Culture and the United Nations System on occasion of their 72nd anniversary. The exhibition will be shown from 9 to 20 October 2017.


Los Ilegales at Hard Rock Live
With an Ilegales Concert Party, the popular merenhouse Ilegales group will be performing again for Dominican audiences at the Blue Mall’s Hard Rock Live. The show is set for 9:30pm on Saturday, 14 October 2017 with the opening act by Patty M. The concert is a benefit for Fundación Botas de Esperanza and Best Buddies RD.

Illegales is led by singer-songwriter Vladimir Dotel, and others are Junior Pimentel and David Díaz. Some of their best hits are: “La morena”, “Fiesta caliente”, “Taqui taqui”, “No toy’ pa’eso”, “Trueno”, “Sueño contigo”, “Haciéndome el loco” and “Chucuchá”.

Listen to their music at:

Dominicana Moda - 18-21 October 2017
The Fortaleza Ozama in the Colonial City is hosting the leading fashion week in the Dominican Republic, Dominicana Moda from 18-21 October 2017. This year the closing runway show is by Silvia Tcherassi. Other guest designers with runway shows on the program are Marisol Castillo (Nicaragua), Maria Bendeck (Honduras), David Antonio and Victor Lopez (Puerto Rico), Victor Lopez (Dominican diaspora).

Dominican designers, nevertheless, are the focus of the event. These include Cayena, Jenny Polanco, Leonel Lirio, Giannina Azar, Rubenny Garcia, Wanda Rosario, Vanessa Leaño, Yanill Luciano, Johanna Alba, Patricia Martínez, María Fernanda, Rafael Rivero, Camila, Arcadio Díaz, Cosita Linda, Jacqueline Then, Carlos de Moya, Fancy Sinner, Zahira Castillo, Diana Veras, Samaniego, Ariel Encarnación, Maru Jordan, Mayle Vasquez, Moisés Quesada, Jusef Sánchez, Jose Jhan, Paola Ready to Wear, Linandra Javier, Dixie Kids, Little Tales, Le Banc, Arnaldo Ladies Wear, Blue Country among others.

The event is sponsored by the City Government of the National District (ADN) and Mayor David Collado. Dominicana Moda was begun in 2006 to position Dominican fashion. It is still produced by its founders Socrates McKinney, Fidel Lopez and Mirka Morales.

Dominicana Moda is the most important fashion event held in the country and in the Caribbean. In addition to the runway shows, there is a trade exhibition, DMall, featuring fashion and beauty companies.

See the program: