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Thread: DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 20 June 2018

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    Default DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 20 June 2018

    Farm sector is stable, says new minister
    Briunny Garabito Segura named ambassador to China
    Expanded heliport ready for October 2018
    Follow Chamber of Deputies bills online
    Promoting medical devices free zones at Medical Tourism Conference
    City park for eastern side of Santo Domingo
    Colonial City improvements come to a halt
    Intrant delays cause tourist buses to be operating without licenses
    Haitians complain about Barahona consulate
    Don’t ask for a straw
    Telecom cabling is out of control
    Another restaurant closed for lack of hygiene
    Victor Diaz Rua claims money in his bank account is not his
    Antonio Taveras Guzmán: Corruption is main obstacle to development
    El Conde Street killer was “possessed”
    San Francisco court orders start of son and mother murder case
    Ten provinces on alert
    Tribute to Pavle Vujcic at the National Theater

    Farm sector is stable, says new minister
    According to new Agriculture Minister, Osmar Benitez, the agriculture sector has maintained its stability during the first half of 2018. He said the Banco Agrícola has lent 11.5% more this year than last, with RD$2.75 billion in loans in May alone, and RD$8.62 billion for the first five months of the year.

    He went on to say that the Dominican Agrarian Institute (IAD) had handed over 1,346 title deeds, that 101 cooperatives had been set up and 137 associations to the benefit of 10,744 partners, including 27 women only associations.

    In his wrap up of his first month on the job, he said that the Price Stabilization Institute (Inespre) had set up 18 permanent agricultural markets and 64 popular sale markets as well as 50 mobile stands during May alone.

    In the Santo Domingo market (MERCADOM) sales in 2018 to date has increased between 25% and 30% and in May this year operations registered around RD$3 billion.

    Also the Special Agricultural Development Fund (FEDA) had invested more than RD$4.92 billion through the Sunday Surprise Visits (Visitas Sorpresas program) to producers by the President. Benítez said that fish production had reached around 25,000 pounds in 2018 so far.

    Benitez went on to say that in the first six months of this year some 106,000 pounds of rabbit meat had been produced and in May there were around 17,000 pounds of rabbit produced that was more than the total for 2016.

    He said that all of the above accomplishments have led to stability in the national production, which allowed the country to satisfy 86% of the national demand for food as well as to comply with the export needs to international markets.

    Briunny Garabito Segura named ambassador to China
    President Danilo Medina appointed career diplomat Briunny Garabito Segura as the country’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. Garabito is from San Juan de la Maguana, home town of President Danilo Medina.

    In 2013 he was named ambassador in Colombia. In May 2017 he was appointed Dominican ambassador in Canada. The appointment is in Decree 231-18. The Dominican Republic announced diplomatic ties with China on 30 April 2018, after ending diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

    Expanded heliport ready for October 2018
    Marino Collante, director of the Airport Department, announced an investment of RD$37.6 million to improve the Santo Domingo Heliport currently under construction. The new facilities, that will cover an area of 20,000 square meters, should be operational by October 2018.

    Collante said once completed it will be the most modern in the Caribbean and Central America in terms of services, international standards and eco-friendliness. The construction includes a new terminal with connecting facilities, three helipads with five positions for the parking of helicopters. There are two helipads with diameter of 18 meters and a larger one with span of 25 meters for larger helicopters.

    Once the renovation is completed, nighttime operations will be possible at the new facility since a new lighting system is planned as part of the expansion project.

    The project is responsibility of the Ministry of Public Works.

    The Santo Domingo Heliport is located at Km. 6.5 of the 30 de Mayo Highway, near Av. Núñez de Cáceres in the National District.

    Follow Chamber of Deputies bills online
    The Chamber of Deputies announced online tracking of legislative bills is now possible. The new Sistema Informático Legislativo (SIL) URL is:

    The service will enable anyone with access to the Internet to follow the legislative initiatives and the work of the legislators and the commissions.

    The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Rubén Maldonado called the start day “a historic day for the Chamber.”

    Engineer Angela Jaquez was the lead consultant for the project. She said the new platform brings citizens closer to their legislators and now the initiatives can be followed from when they are submitted to when they are rejected or approved.

    Promoting medical devices free zones at Medical Tourism Conference
    The National Export Free Zone Council (CNZFE) announced it will be participating in the panel on Free Zones as Platforms for Investment and Development of Medical Devices Companies during the 4th International Health and Wellness Tourism Conference set for 5, 6 and 7 September 2018 at the Jaragua Renaissance Hotel. Luisa Fernandez Duran, director of CNZFE will be the moderator of the panel.

    The event is organized by the Asociación Dominicana de Turismo de la Salud that groups medical tourism organizations in the country.

    City park for eastern side of Santo Domingo
    A large area adjacent to the Santo Domingo East municipality’s Dirección General de Embellecimiento is being turned into what will be the main recreational, cultural and environmental focus for residents in the eastern side of the city of Santo Domingo.
    The plans are to invest RD$40 million to convert 56,000 square meters of land on the premises of the Dirección General de Embellecimiento into an eco-park. The park is being developed at Km. 9 of the Carretera Mella.

    The National Botanical Gardens is helping to name trees throughout, there will be farming plots to teach about vegetables and other plants. Students will be able to complete their school required 60 hours service there. The project also contemplates a small amphitheater for artistic presentation.

    Architect Belkis Ramírez said illuminated trails, environmental music, sidewalks, and other pedestrian areas are being incorporated in the new eco-park. She says the area is being prepared for weddings, birthdays, retreats, religious activities, the practicing of musical instruments, and more.

    Nevertheless, César López Jiménez, director general of the entity, told Hoy that the project is advancing at a slow pace because of lack of budget. The project was begun two years ago.

    Colonial City improvements come to a halt
    The second stage of the Program for Tourism Development in the Colonial City by the Ministry of Tourism (Mitur) is on hold, having been paralyzed due to differences between the government institutions and the sectors involved, a report in Diario Libre on 19 June 2018 reveals.

    For this reason, the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) that is funding the project has not handed over the US$90 million of the second loan, due in March of this year. With the disbursement deadline past, the authorities have still not agreed on the government institution that should head up the second stage of the works. The first part was managed by the Ministry of Tourism.

    The support of the IDB has been in two parts: one for US$30 million, plus support from the Dominican government of US$1,150,000 and was to be used for the restoration and refurbishment of museums, streets, houses, lights and the installation of security cameras in the Colonial City. The second part, for US$90 million has not been disbursed by IDB.

    Maribel Villalona, director of Planning and Projects for Mitur, and coordinator of the US$30 million first project, explained that the plan has been to create a trust between the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and the National District City Hall and that the changes planned were complex, leading to the delay. The second phase was contemplated in both the 2016 and 2017 budgets. But apparently there are differences regarding if Mitur would continue to lead the second part of the project to be funded by the US$90 million loan.

    Villalona explained that the new loan would be used to improve nine kilometers of roads, renovate plazas and homes and to integrate commercial and tourist activities as well as the refurbishment of the Ruins of San Francisco and to improve parking.

    Over the last three years, Santo Domingo and the Colonial City have received more than a million tourists and the numbers of visitors have increased each year.

    According to the Bulletin from the Tourist Observatory of the Colonial City in 2017 there were 1,499,083 tourists of whom 43% came from the United States, 20% from Europe, 15% from central America and the Caribbean and 21% from the rest of the world. In addition 528 new businesses were created.

    Intrant delays cause tourist buses to be operating without licenses
    The national president of the Association of Tour Operators for Incoming Tourism (Opetur), Michel Musa Banks, complains that 70% of the local transport companies that carry tourists are circulating in vehicles with expired licenses and do not comply with the legally established requirements to transport tourists.

    He said that hopefully there will not be an accident involving one of these non-compliant buses as the international insurance that many tourists purchase would not be valid if they were travelling in an unlicensed bus.

    He said that all vehicles should have current licenses issued by the National Transit and Ground Transport Institute (Intrant). In the past the control of tourist transport was under the Ministry of Tourism but with the enactment of Law 63-17 this responsibility has been transferred to Intrant. To date, Intrant has not issued licenses to the owners of the tourist buses.

    Musa Banks complained that because of apparently lax enforcement policies at Intrant, tour operators could be the object of million dollar lawsuits if an uninsured or unlicensed tour bus had an accident that led to tourists being injured or killed, it would reflect badly on our country if Intrant had not even begun to process the renewals and issuances of licenses. Banks concluded that the licensing of tour buses should have stayed within the Ministry of Tourism.

    Haitians complain about Barahona consulate
    Hundreds of Haitian immigrants in support of the Committee of Human Rights “Development Without Frontiers” movement carried out a march yesterday, Tuesday, 19 June 2018, from the Duarte Park in Barahona to the Haitian consulate. The demonstrators were protesting the alleged corruption and irregularities taking place at the Haitian consulate and the apparent indifference of the Haitian government and the Dominican Foreign Ministry in addressing the needs of Haitian immigrants traveling between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

    Spokesmen for the group, Augustin Moises and Silvestre Joseph, accused the Minister and Haitian consul in Barahona, Therese Longchamp, has carried out innumerable irregular diplomatic actions that include increasing of the prices for passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates. In addition, the group accuses the Haitian consul of handing out of diplomatic cards to undeserving individuals. Moises and Josepha also claimed that bribes and the general misuse of funds from Haiti is a problem at the consulate.

    According to the demonstrators, in Washington D.C., United States, the charge for the issue of passports by the Haitian government is US$45, but the Haitian consulate in Barahona allegedly charges Haitians US$80 and US$120 for the same type of passport.

    They cited as an example that in the last four months of this year, Washington, D.C. embassy has issued 425 passports that were sold by the consulate for USD$80 and US$120. “Development Without Frontiers” which is a committee of Human Rights which is operating in Barahona and the Enriquillo region, said that they had discovered a check for RD$974,860, issued by the Central Sugar Company for diplomatic services to provide passports to Haitian employees who cut sugar cane and it was issued in the name of Noelsaint Kerlain and not the Haitian consulate.

    Another check was issued to Poulardr Dermelie Virjulia by the same company for birth certificates for the Haitian workers for RD$527,500 that she refused to cash and resigned from the consulate in Barahona.

    Don’t ask for a straw
    A local initiative is following the global effort to discourage the use of plastic straws. The move was started locally by the Samana Environmental Forum that is promoting online the “Mejor sin calimete” campaign (Better Without a Straw).

    The campaign seeks to eliminate the use of the disposable plastic in favor of just sipping or biodegradable alternatives in paper or bamboo.

    The effort now has the backing of the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Tourism and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

    Telecom cabling is out of control
    There is chaos in the telecom cabling, it is visual contamination but also a health and safety problem for urban dwellers. Diario Libre reports that mostly to blame are the telephone and cable TV companies.

    The feature in Diario Libre calls the situation a lack of responsibility of the companies, government authorities (city governments, Ministry of Environment, Dominican Telecommunications Institute and Police) and citizens. The writer, Alejandro Dipré Sierra, makes the point that the bad practices of the telecom companies have surpassed those of the electricity companies in the chaos in wiring on city streets.

    Dipré Sierra urges: “It is important to start with a pilot plan to eliminate and reorganize the wiring in the Dominican Republic in general. It is important to have a working table where the EDEs (electrical service providers) and the companies providing Internet services, cable and telephone services, representatives of civil society together with the state institutions come together for solutions, in which one way or another they should be regular in this sense, in order to follow up and solve this problem. Responsibility must be established to remove those cables that are in disuse, poles in poor condition and poorly installed from the streets.

    “We citizens must have greater participation in the solution of this type of problem, since it affects the health of our family and that of our fellow citizens,” he concludes.

    Another restaurant closed for lack of hygiene
    The National Institute for the Protection of Consumer Rights (Pro Consumidor) has closed another restaurant, Karbón and Leña, located in a Plaza Central in the National District for operating under poor hygiene conditions, lack of security and quality.

    This brings to a total of four establishments closed over the past two weeks by Pro Consumidor. ProConsumidor says the most recent shut down order came after an inspection in May.

    The restaurant in question was notified and after a follow up visit in which cockroaches were found, no written pest control program, lack of hygienic practices, and lack of organization and good food conservation practices were lacking. The restaurant was closed immediately after the inspection and will remain closed until the faults are corrected.

    Victor Diaz Rua claims money in his bank account is not his
    Former Minister for Public Works, Víctor Díaz Rúa, has explained that the RD$35 billion that he has in his Banco Popular account, that led to an accusation of illegal enrichment, does not belong to him, but rather to the Dominican Liberation Party. He said the account was never managed by him.
    In order to prove this, his lawyers Miguel Valerio and Ramón Núñez have asked Supreme Court Judge Francisco Ortega Polanco to call Ramón Rivas Cordero as a witness in the Odebrecht case.

    His written defense also asks for the witness statements Diego Hugo de Moya Sander, Rosa Nidia Vicente, Pedro Delgado Malagón and José Miguel Ureña Sosa, which will, the defense maintains, exonerate Díaz Rúa from all penal responsibility.

    With the declarations by De Moya Sander, he says it will be determined that the accused put no pressure on Diego de Moya Canaán to give up his contract for the construction of the Coral Highway and that the halting of the projects was done by Public Works.

    With the statement of Nidia Vicente, Díaz Rua’s defense seeks to demonstrate that she was the supervisor of the Casabito-Constanza and El Río-Jarabacoa roads and that the increases were justified.

    In addition, Delgado Malagón was the supervisor of the Coral Highway and Duarte Corridor and that the increases in cost were justified.

    The lawyers for Díaz Rúa have said they may bring forth more evidence in the case and have asked the judge to declare the charges against their client to be null and void.

    Antonio Taveras Guzmán: Corruption is main obstacle to development
    The president of the Association of Industries of Herrera and the Province of Santo Domingo (AEIH), Antonio Taveras Guzmán says that corruption in government and the private sector has become the main obstacle for the development of business by 98% of the business sector and for the social progress of the nation.

    He said that corruption makes all transactions more expensive and has a major impact on production costs. He said it reduces the competitiveness of the majority of business people that are not participating in the illegal distribution of government assets.

    He lamented that a large part of the yields from corruption are exported to tax havens abroad as the money cannot be justified before the local tax authorities.
    Taveras made his comments when participating during the talk :Impact of Corruption and Impunity in the Dominican Economy.”

    He said corruption causes a vicious circle in the economy because it generates a fiscal debt that is covered with debt. It reduces the capacity of the state to invest in quality services and it discourages the paying of taxes.

    “If all the local and international studies tell us that the main obstacle to doing business in the Dominican Republic is corruption, then it is a necessity and the duty of small, medium and large entrepreneurs and citizens in general to demand an independent justice and the end of impunity. We need a new democratic institutionality and an active citizenship to put a stop to this serious cancer that is eating away at our present and threatens our future," he commented when visiting the Green Camp, that is camping out in front of the Supreme Court of Justice.

    El Conde Street killer was “possessed”
    The lawyer of 21-year old Henry Daniel Lorenzo Ortiz, Héctor Acosta, has claimed that when his client stabbed Anneris Peña, in the jewelry shop in El Conde in the Colonial Zone he was possessed by a strange spirit and was acting in a state of dementia.

    The lawyer for the victim, David Brito, called the statement a fairy tale and suggested that Acosta only suggest to his client to ask forgiveness from the family and society. He went on to say that Lorenzo Ortiz was a committed and cold blooded criminal and that after the crime he had gone for a drink and shopping, to enjoy the fruits of his crime. On the same day of the murder, he spent RD$30,000 shopping for clothes and shoes.

    Judge Jose Alejandro Vargas ordered Lorenzo Ortiz serve a year in preventive custody at the Azua jail. Reportedly, in addition to the murder of Anneris Peña he stole RD$140,000 in cash and US$560 dollars, in addition to gold university graduation rings, gold chains and pearls. The first hearing of the case was set for 17 September 2018.

    San Francisco court orders start of son and mother murder case
    Judge Isolina Peralta ordered on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 the start of the hearing in the murder case of 16-year old Emely Peguero that occurred on 23 August 2017. The judge says there is sufficient evidence for the accused, 18-year old Marlon Martínez and his mother Marlin Martínez, as an accomplice, to be sentenced. The state prosecutors seek sentences of 30 and 20 years, respectively for the mother and son. The Martinez’s are accused of torture, barbaric acts and the murder of the pregnant teenager. Prior to her death, she suffered through a makeshift abortion.

    Ten provinces on alert
    The heavy rains which have been ongoing since Sunday in some parts of the Cibao, have continued to cause flooding in areas of Santiago, causing landslides in some neighborhoods and affecting traffic due to flooded roads.

    The Emergency Operations’ Center (COE) has issued a yellow alert for the province of La Vega, especially in the mountain area of Constanza, and a green alert for Santiago, Monseñor Nouel (Bonao), Sánchez Ramírez (Cotuí), Hermanas Mirabal (Salcedo), Puerto Plata, Duarte, Espaillat (Moca), María Trinidad Sánchez (Nagua) and Valverde, due to a tropical wave that is bringing more rain.

    The rains have been worst in Santiago, La Vega, Espaillat and Puerto Plata leading to overflowing rivers and streams in the municipal districts of Pedro García and Yásica, in Santiago and in Puerto Plata, causing small landslides on the tourist road that links the two provinces.

    Tribute to Pavle Vujcic at the National Theater
    Musicians of the National Symphony Orchestra will be rendering a tribute to master violinist Pavle Vujcic, the Yugoslavian who died on 27 July 2017, and had served 32 years as concertmaster violinist with the orchestra. The initiative is coordinated by Maestro José Antonio Molina, director of the symphony orchestra. Professor Zvezdana Radjokovic, Vujcic’s widow, will be presenting the program that includes Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a favorite of the deceased musician.

    Vujcic moved to the Dominican Republic, accepting an invitation by the late Maestro Carlos Piantini to join the National Symphony Orchestra.
    Last edited by Dolores; 06-20-2018 at 07:37 AM.

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