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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 7 February 2018

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 7 February 2018

    Political Committee wants to let legislators decide about open primaries
    Talks on Venezuela ready to resume, but opposition not signing
    Maternal and infant mortality is avoidable
    Miguel Ceara Hatton urges reduction in government spending
    More time needed for Odebrecht case
    Maldonado denies lunching with Rondon
    The high cost of traffic accidents
    Accident victim at Las Americas Airport dies
    Major accident in Bavaro
    Suspect murderer of lawyer Yuniol Ramirez could be in Holland
    Where is Quirinito?
    Jose Miguel Patin fined US$100,000 and 6-1/2 years in jail
    DR to host Caribbean Baseball Series in 2022
    DR advances in CONCACAF Caribbean Club Championship

    Political Committee wants to let legislators decide about open primaries
    The Political Committee of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) met on Monday 5 February 2018, and agreed to discard the committee of lawyers that would be charged with determining whether open primaries are constitutional, as had been agreed at the previous meeting. Instead, the committee of the ruling political party agreed to leave the decision of whether to allow open primaries or primaries of only registered party members up to legislature, once the National Congress begins a new session after 27 February. Tops on the agenda of Congress are the Political Parties Bill and the Electoral Bill. In 2005, the Supreme Court of Justice had ruled out open primaries for choosing the presidential candidates of political parties.

    PLD Secretary General, Reinaldo Pared Pérez, said that it was also agreed during the meeting that Labor Minister José Ramón Fadul (Monchy) would replace César Pina Toribio as the party’s delegate to the Central Electoral Court (JCE). Pina Toribio was named ambassador to Argentina. In addition, José Manuel Hernández Peguero was appointed the PLD’s delegate for the elections and Sports Minister Danilo Díaz was ratified as supplementary delegate.

    Talks on Venezuela ready to resume, but opposition not signing
    On Tuesday 6 February 2018, everything was set for the sixth round of talks between the Venezuelan government and the opposition at the Ministry of Foreign Relations in Santo Domingo at 2pm, but a postponement was given for 10:30am on Wednesday. President Danilo Medina, former President of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Minister of Foreign Relations Miguel Vargas Maldonado of the Dominican Republic had served as mediators in the drafting of the agreement. Sources indicate the agreement was signed on 6 February by the representatives of the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Jorge Rodríguez and his sister, Delcy Rodríguez, who is the president of the government elected Asamblea Nacional Constituyente.

    The opposition nevertheless has asked for the presidential election to be convened for September and not April as announced by the Maduro government. Sources for the opposition said they would not sign because the document does not represent Venezuelans. “We have an enormous responsibility and it is to achieve that Venezuelans have the right to elect a future full of opportunities, progress and justice. We consider that what has been written there is not worthy,” stated Julio Borges, who has represented the opposition in the talks, as reported in Listin Diario.

    President Danilo Medina, who is hosting the meetings, recently said that he has faith and hope that an agreement will be reached which would allow peace and tranquility to return to Venezuela.

    Maternal and infant mortality is avoidable
    The government has published guidelines for physicians, nurses and staff at public and private clinics that are focused on the adoption of practices that will assure the health and safety of patients. The guidelines are aimed at reducing infant and maternal mortality. Failing to follow these guidelines could result in sever sanctions, including the loss of license to practice. Maternal mortality stands at 88 for each 100,000 live births and infant mortality which is 25 for each 1,000 live births.

    Presenting these statistics, Public Health Minister Altagracia Guzmán Marcelino said that having analyzed the files, 88% of the deaths were deemed avoidable, with the main cause of death being arterial hypertension, at 64%, followed by hemorrhaging and miscarriages. Most of the deaths occurred in Greater Santo Domingo, Central Cibao and the eastern region of the country.

    Miguel Ceara Hatton urges reduction in government spending
    Economist Miguel Ceara Hatton has said that the public deficit could be eliminated by 2024 if the government eliminates wasteful spending. Ceara Hatton says that the consolidated public debt is now at US$37 billion, equal to 50% of the GDP. Ceara Hatton advocated for the government reducing the pace of public spending to three quarters of the pace of tax revenues. He presented the proposal in the report “A Proposal to Correct the Fiscal Situation and Public Debt” on 6 February 2018.

    The economist said that the Dominican public debt had grown at around US$2.4 billion a year over the past 58 months, from the end of 2013 to October 2017, creating an unsustainable situation that will force market adjustments.

    Ceara Hatton was referring to debt generated by government monetary policy and the sale of certificates of the Central Bank. These certificates originated in the 2003-2004 Baninter bank fraud. He criticized the government has not complied with agreements to capitalize the Central Bank to deal with this debt. This Financial Public Sector Debt (SPF) is equal to US$10 billion, or 14% o the GDP.

    He said on the other hand there is the public deficit that growths given the relationship between taxation revenues and government spending. Of this, US$29 billion is the Non-Financial Public Sector Debt, or 39% of the debt.

    Ceara says that if the government reduces the growth of public spending to 3.1%, fiscal balance would be achieved by 2020.

    He observed the outstanding economic growth of the country has not served to finance improvements in the quality of life in the country. He said that economic studies have shown that the Dominican Republic is the seventh country in the world to least take advantage of opportunities for increases in wealth per inhabitant to improve quality of life, principally in the areas of education and health.

    He forecast that if the present government fiscal policies are maintained, the government deficit would stay between 2.3 and 2.4% of the GDP from 2018 to 2024. He forecast the Non-Financial Public Sector Debt would increase to 42% of the GDP in 2022 and 43% in 2024.

    More time needed for Odebrecht case
    On Tuesday, 6 February 2018, Supreme Court judge Francisco Ortega announced the hearing on the request for four more months for the Attorney General to prepare the case against the 14 accused in the Odebrechts bribes case.

    The Attorney General’s Office has formally requested the Supreme Court judge tpostpone the hearing of the case in order to have more time to present the Odebrecht bribery case. The AG’s Office wishes to carefully analyze four CDs presented by the defense for Andres Bautista. The lawyers of the other accused men have asked Judge Francisco Ortega Polanco to reject the request and continue with the hearings.

    Maldonado denies lunching with Rondón
    The president of the Chamber of Deputies, PLD deputy Rubén Maldonado, has denied the rumor circulating on social media that he met with businessman Ángel Rondón yesterday. There is a photograph of Rondón meeting with his lawyers and journalist Danny Alcántara, while having lunch at a capital city restaurant.

    Alcántara confirmed the version of Maldonado saying that yes Maldonado was at the same restaurant but was having lunch with his wife and other family members, and that he greeted him and former deputy Ruddy Gonzalez as well as Rondón and his lawyers.

    Alcántara said that the appointment was made by Rondón’s lawyers to go through their defense plan. Rondón is a lead suspect in the Odebrecht bribery scandal, who has acknowledged he received a sum around the US$92 million bribe figure mentioned in a New York, USA court, but has claimed this was in payment for his services as commercial representative of Odebrecht in the Dominican Republic.

    On 2 February 2018, Diario Libre carried a report from the Attorney General that it had requested from the Tax Agency (DGII) information on 74 companies linked to Rondón in the Dominican Republic and the latter’s tax returns from 2000.

    The high cost of traffic accidents
    Dr. Héctor Quezada, deputy minister of Public Health for collective health, again has highlighted the high cost of traffic accidents for the country, in an interview with El Caribe reporters. He said that the annual yearly cost of traffic accidents now ranges between 2.3 to 5% of the Gross Domestic Product. He said this total is even more than the sum of RD$60 billion the director of the Ney Arias Lora Trauma Hospital, Dr. Amaury García Silverio, had relayed to the media last week. García pointed out that the cost of traffic accidents to the country is almost comparable to the total RD$75 billion budget allotment of the Ministry of Public Health.

    Quezada observed recent efforts by the government, including the creation of the new National Transport and Transit Institute (Intrant) that seek to increase vehicle and transit safety.

    Quezada said that in 70% of the road accidents can be attributed to human error. He said that accident victims who spend just a few days in the intensive care unit could incur costs to the State well over RD$500,000.

    He said the DR has an average of 29 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, when the global average is 16 deaths per 100,000. The DR is ranked 14th in the world in number of traffic mortalities. This is down from 41 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013.

    In 63% of the deaths, there was a motorcyclist involved. In the DR, the Intrant statistics indicate there are 2.7 million registered motorcycles in circulation. The Intrant is working on a plan to reduce road collisions in the Mobility and Transport Plan to complement the Road Security Strategic Plan.

    Quezada said the number of tragic events is so high that the 400 available beds in the three specialized trauma hospitals are insufficient. He said greater road safety awareness among drivers is critical.

    Accident victim at Las Americas Airport dies
    French citizen, 37-year old Maurois Alain Siounanda, who fell three stories inside the the Las Americas International Airport on 5 February, died while being treated at Dario Contreras Trauma Hospital. He was at the airport to take an Air France flight back to Paris after vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

    According to Clarence Veras, spokesman at the hospital, the death of Siounanda was due to multiple blunt force trauma that he experienced when falling off the escalator and down the three floors. Veras said Siounanda was intoxicated at the time of the accident. His body was sent to the National Institute of Forensic Science (INACIF) to determine the definite cause of death.

    Major accident in Bavaro
    On Tuesday, 6 February, one person died and at least ten were injured, some seriously, in an accident involving a minibus and another vehicle on the Otra Banda-Veron road, near Los Burritos, in La Altagracia province. One of the injured was the minibus driver. The injured were taken to the Nuestra Señora de La Altagracia Hospital in Higuey.

    The collision caused a big traffic jam on the road from the hotels to the Punta Cana airport. The collision was between a truck-commuter that lost control and skidded into the minibus that had around 16 bus drivers on board who were returning from working in the tourist area.

    Suspect murderer of lawyer Yuniol Ramirez could be in Holland
    The Attorney General denied that the Dutch authorities have confirmed that the man accused of carrying out the assassination of lawyer and university professor Yuniol Ramírez in October last year, is in Holland (The Netherlands).

    Diario Libre had reported that Dominican Ambassador in Holland, Guillermo Piña Contreras, had asked the Dutch authorities to request the necessary paperwork to arrest Argenis Contreras, who is suspected to have fled soon after he had committed the murder.

    According to revelations by José Antonio Mercado (El Grande), another of those implicated in the murder, he together with Argenis Contreras, kidnapped Ramirez on the UASD campus. Mercado says that Ramírez was then killed by Contreras in the vehicle they were in.

    Ambassador Piña Contreras had stated that the Dutch authorities need proof of the accusations against Contreras to arrest him, and following that the Dominican Republic can request his extradition. He went on to explain that in 2016, the Dominican Republic signed an agreement with the Netherlands that citizens of both countries who were convicted could complete their sentences in their home countries.

    Where is Quirinito?
    It has been seven months since the convict Pedro Alejandro Castillo Paniagua (Quirinito) disappeared and the investigation by the Public Prosecution service is apparently under wraps, since no one in the general public knows what is going. The Public Prosecutor has confirmed that Quirinito is still alive.

    It appears that RD$40 million was paid in bribes for Quirinto’s escape and those who received the bribes have been threatened if they talk to authorities. One of the government officials suspended for having taken part in the escape said he would prefer to go to jail than put his family in danger. According to sources at Hoy newspaper, he received $40,000 for his part in the escape.

    In the Quirinito case, several people have been suspended including medical examiner Orlando Herrera Robles; prosecutors Felipe Restituyo and José Calazán; judges Aleyda Jiménez, and Willy de Jesús; and Franklin Ortega, head of the supervision of the inmates on part time release at the Vista al Valle jail.

    Jennifer Domínguez Hernández, wife of Quirinito, insists that her husband is dead but will not say where his remains are. Elizabeth Ramirez, assistant to Domínguez Hernández, stated that her employer is still under medical treatment but would offer no more information. In October last year Domínguez was hospitalized reportedly suffering from mental health issues, but overcame this some ten days later.

    Jose Miguel Patin fined US$100,000 and 6-1/2 years in jail
    A Miami Southern District Court in Miami sentenced Dominican-American Jose Miguel Patin to 78 months in jail for trafficking in cocaine. Patin declared himself guilty of possession with the intention of distributing at least 500 kilograms of cocaine. He was also fined US$100,000 in ruling 09740-104. After serving the 6 and a half years in jail, Patin will be eligible for conditional leave for four years during which he cannot be involved in the aviation business nor take on debt through bank loans or credit cards. Patin, owner of the Servicios Aereos Profesionales (SAP) aviation group in the Dominican Republic was arrested in Miami in possession of more than five kilograms of cocaine.

    DR to host Caribbean Baseball Series in 2022
    The Caribbean Baseball Confederation that presides over winter professional baseball in the Caribbean announced the rotation for the hosting of the Caribbean Series. The Dominican Republic will have to wait until 2022 to host the championship among Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.

    The hosting schedule will be: Venezuela (2019), Puerto Rico (2020), Mexico (2021), Dominican Republic (2022). It was decided that Cuba would not host the championship until regularizing its reentry as a full rights member of the Caribbean Baseball Confederation.

    DR advances in CONCACAF Caribbean Club Championship
    Atletico Pantoja of the Dominican Republic earned seven points to move to the top tier of the 2018 Caribbean Club Championship (the 2018 FLOW CONCACAF Caribbean Club Championship). After the 3-0 loss to the Atleticos de Pantoja, Trinidad & Tobago W Connection head coach Stuart Charles-Fevrier said that Pantoja played more consistently. Luis Espinal, the player who scored two goals in the deciding game, attributed the win to team unity.

    The Tier 1 Caribbean Club Championship had launched on 31 January 2018, with the participation of eight professional clubs from four member associations – the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. Also securing a spot in the top tier is Jamaica’s Arnett Gardens.
    Last edited by Dolores; 02-07-2018 at 09:37 AM.

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