DR1 Daily News next update on 9 July 2018
President Medina inaugurates Nestlé production line
Center for Emergency Operations connected even in the worst of storms
Export manufacturing impacts the economy
Merchants and Colonial City capstone demand IDB loan approval
Mixed patrols to improve security
Dominquez Brito calls for thorough reform of National Police
Legislators criticize crime-combatting efforts by government
Candid camera keeps young employee safe
Former Mayor accused in RD$45 million swindle of Minerd case
Haitians complain about services from their Embassy
Francisco del Rosario Sanchez was executed 157 years ago
Jail sentences handed down in case of murder of Swiss Embassy legal advisor
Not much rain in sight but lots of heat
Bahamas defeats DR in Americas basketball qualifier
Birds in all their splendor at Colonial City exhibition

DR1 Daily News next update on 9 July 2018
The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 9 July 2018. The Monday issue will compile headline news for the previous Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Breaking news can be followed 24/7 in the Forums. See the DR1 Forum at http://www.dr1.com

President Medina inaugurates Nestlé production line
President Danilo Medina was in San Francisco on Wednesday, 4 July 2018, for the inauguration of the flexible UHT packaging line for Nestle dairy brands – Carnation, Nesquik, Impulso and others in Duarte province. Laurent Freixe, Nestlé CEO for the Americas, came for the ribbon-cutting event that marked the start of operation of the modern production line, a US$10 million investment. The new line has capacity to package 12,000 ready-to-drink products per hour, meeting the highest global quality standards. Freixe highlighted the high growth trends of the Dominican market.

Also speaking at the event, Alexandre Carreteiro, general director for Nestlé for the Caribbean and Latin America, says the increased capacity makes exports to the Caribbean feasible. Carreteiro said the company purchases around 40 million liters of milk from dairy farmers in the north and northeast of the country, with a major positive effect on the local economy.

Also speaking at the event, Agriculture Minister Osmar Benítez said the investment means around 1,300 cattle ranchers that supply milk can expand their production. He said Nestlé pays on time and well for the supply of milk.

Swiss Ambassador Urs Schneider expressed his satisfaction that Nestle has operated in the Dominican Republic for over 100 years.


Center for Emergency Operations connected even in the worst of storms
The Dominican Department of Airports (the local Airport Authority) will be donating a high-tech communication system for real-time communication nationwide to the Center for Emergency Operations. The Center for Emergency Operates commands prevention and relief operations in times of natural disasters.

The new system will allow streaming of audio, video and data through a satellite connection and would allow any community affected by a natural disaster to communicate with the COE even if the electricity network or telephone lines are down.

The announcement was made on 3 July 2018, during the signing of an inter-institutional agreement between the airport authority and the COE. The two entities agreed to develop joint activities and share logistics in order to reduce risks that could affect the nation’s airports.

General Juan Mendez Garcia noted that the Center for Emergency Operations gathers 22 institutions and is the agency that coordinates preparation and response in the face of natural disasters. At the same time he extended his sincere appreciation for the support and collaboration provided by the Airport Department.


Export manufacturing impacts the economy
The board of the Dominican Association of Export Free Zones (Adozona) highlighted the importance of the sector in a visit with governor of the Central Bank Hector Valdez Albizu on Wednesday, 4 July 2018. The Adozona board of directors, head by president Federico Domínguez, highlighted the current economic stability and the existing legal security are very positive, and made a presentation on jobs, exports, accumulated investment and the contribution of the GDP of the free zones, that amounted to RD$117.08 billion in 2017.

The companies operating in industrial export free zones are 665 that are located in 26 of the 31 Dominican provinces and National District. The number of existing direct jobs amounts to 165,724. Exports last year were US$ 5.70 million that was 56% of the total Dominican exports.

The free zone model has made it possible for the Dominican Republic to be the global leader in cigar exports, the second largest exporter of electrical switches to the United States, the third largest exporter of footwear in Latin America, the third largest supplier of women's coats to the United States, and the third Latin American exporter of medical instruments.

Central Bank governor Hector Valdez Albizu highlighted during the meeting the favorable economic situation of the country. He said in the first five months of the year the country registered average growth of 6.6%, measured by the Monthly Economic Activity Indicator (IMAE). He said the country continues to be the leader in economic growth in Latin America. Valdez mentioned that free zones if the second most important factor contributing to growth, with 10.6%, only behind the construction sector that has posted 15.1%.

Free zone exports from January to March were up 12.6% compared to the same period in 2017.

The sector has increased its diversification in recent years. While in 2010 the free zone exports were 53% apparel, today this is broken down in medical instruments and pharmaceuticals 26%, apparel 19%, electrical devices 16%, tobacco and by products 14% and jewelry 7%.

Present for Adozona in addition to president Domínguez were board members Pedro Manuel García, first vice president; José Manuel Torres, executive vice president, José Clase, past president; José Tomás Contreras, past president; and Eduardo Bogaert, director.

For the BCRD, were Governor Valdez Albizu, Deputy Governor Clarissa de la Rocha de Torres, Manager Ervin Novas, Deputy General Manager Frank Montaño, Economic Advisor Olga Díaz, Deputy Manager of Monetary, Foreign Exchange and Financial Policies Joel Tejeda, and directors Ramón González, of National Accounts, and Rafael Capellán, of International department.


Merchants and Colonial City capstone demand IDB loan approval
The merchants of El Conde Street and the Colonial City capstone are demanding the approval of a US$90 million loan for the second stage of the renovation of historic Santo Domingo. Emilio Torres, the president of the Merchants Association stressed: “It is important to move on this process to not lose the Interamerican Development Bank financing.”

The merchants noted that the loan approval project is currently in the “political arena”. During the press conference the merchant leader said that the first phase of the project financed by the Inter-American Development Bank for US$30 million was very good for the area, and the second phase should get underway as soon as possible.

As reported, different government entities, including the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and the city government of the National District dispute who should head the renovations to be carried out with the US$90 million loan. The first phase was commanded by the Ministry of Tourism that seeks to continue leading the second phase.


Mixed patrols to improve security
Minister of Defense, Lieutenant General Ruben Dario Paulino Sem and the director general of the National Police, Major General Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte, met on Tuesday, 3 July 2018 answering a call from President Danilo Medina for the security forces to “take back the streets.” There has been an outbreak of criminal and violent activities recently that has received a lot of coverage in the media highlighting a lack of resolve of security forces to improve public safety.

General Bautista Almonte said that the planning and operations divisions of both the police and the armed forces were meeting to coordinate a joint plan to attack crime through the use of mixed patrols and intensifying these patrols in areas where crime has been more prevalent.

The general also admitted that recent incidents involving his agents in the search and capture of the assailants of two banking entities (Popular and Vimenca) did not follow official protocol and as such will require the retraining of many police officers.

Listin Diario points out the recourse of reinforced mixed patrols has been used by the security forces in the past when outbreaks of violence occur. Listin Diario reports that the government has spent RD$694.9 billion on security over the past 17 years in during which violent crime has gradually increased. Of the total, RD$373.9 billion were managed by the Ministry of Interior & Police, RD$218.5 billion by the Ministry of Defense, RD$60.9 billion by the Judicial Branch and RD$41.5 billion by the Attorney General Office.

El Dia pointed out this is the fifth time in four years that the Medina administration orders a mixed patrols operation to quell crime.


Dominquez Brito calls for thorough reform of National Police
In spite of the ban imposed by the Centro Electoral Board (JCE) on all political campaigning before the “official” start of the electoral process next year, Francisco Dominguez Brito, who as aspires to obtain the presidential candidacy for the PLD, launched his campaign on 4 July 2018 at his headquarters in Santiago. During his speech he indicated that his government would be characterized by the strict application of the law, the untiring prosecution of crime in all its forms and the firm application of justice to street crime as well as those “white-collar” criminals.

Domínguez Brito’s very “law and order” speech echoed the sentiments of President Danilo Medina that there is an outbreak of crime and violence currently going on in the Dominican Republic. He promised an overhaul of the National Police to bring positive change in police work.

He said: “Our objective is the complete and definitive modernization of this institution and all its personnel in order that they can respond to the requirements of our society in the 21st century. All police investigators will be university graduates or graduates of the Police Academy who must pass a polygraph test each year.

Readers will remember that Dominquez Brito is the former Attorney General of the Republic.


Legislators criticize crime-combatting efforts by government
Deputy Pedro Botello (PRSC-La Romana) called “another hold up” the action carried out in the Los Mina neighborhood by police officers supposedly to capture those suspect of assaulting a Banco Popular branch in Ensanche La Isabelita, in eastern Santo Domingo. "Who can believe that once the robbery suspects are located, without a judicial order, without a judge, prosecutor, without any legal conditions set, these men just show up,” he said. “It is clear that this was just another robbery,” he observed. He made the comment when asked about the increase in crime and the order issues by President Danilo Medina that troops be sent to the streets to stop the outbreak.

Senator Winston Guerrero (PLD-Peravia) speculated on Wednesday, 4 July 2018 that the intention of the officers that sped to a house in Maleconcito in Los Mina Norte was for a search was to raid and grab the cash stashed there by those who had committed a robbery at the Banco Popular in Ensanche Isabelita. He said this explains why they were not accompanied by a prosecutor. The legislator criticized that the director of the police had appointed a brother of one of the police injured to head the commission that is investigating the case.

Meanwhile, senator for the province of Elías Piña, Adriano Sánchez Roa, said that the police needs an internal purge and that the current head of the institution has all the conditions to do so. He said there are a number of officers that are part of the negative status quo that have to leave.

Deputy Elpidio Baez (PLD) said that this is yet another example of the runaway crime problem, with an additional ingredient: that a weapon of war from the Haitian Police was recovered at the crime scene."

Fidel Santana, deputy for the Frente Amplio, said that crime is one of the great failures of the government.

The president of the Chamber of Deputies Ruben Maldonado observed that permanent and constant actions are necessary.


Candid camera keeps young employee safe
It went viral. A young employee used “high tech” to defend himself from the police! The video captures how he was stopped by the police, interrogated, and threatened without cause.

In the midst of the incident, Edwin Cordero informed the policemen that a camera was capturing all their words and actions during the stop and that the images and sound were being broadcast on his Facebook page. Almost immediately, the demeanor of the policemen changed and the unwarranted threats were replaced with sweet talk and broad smiles. The officers then sent Cordero on his way, with best wishes.

"By the tone of [officers] words, I believed their intentions were not good. Since they approached me, the first thing they said that the scooter would be sent to the police station. But once I told them I was transmitting on my Facebook page, they changed the subject completely,” Cordero explained. He says he has the habit of keeping a daily record of his route, a habit from his days when he was a sports cyclist.

The event happened in early May on Av. 27 de Febrero almost corner Barahona. The video went viral recently and has increased the sales of similar equipment for others on the road who want to stay safe.

Some say that the video, that went viral, is another black eye for on the police in the Dominican Republic.


Former Mayor accused in RD$45 million swindle of Minerd case
The Ministry of Education (Minerd) was apparently swindled out of some RD$45 million in the purchase of land in the community of Las Placetas in the municipality of San Jose de Las Matas, in the province of Santiago.

The lawsuit was filed in the Santiago Land Court against several persons accused of selling 4,200 m² to the Ministry of Education without having proper title. The lawsuit was filed by lawyers representing Juan Antonio Espinal against the former Mayor of San Jose de La Matas , Enerio Antonio Rodriguez Rodriguez and a dozen other persons.

According to the case file, the former Mayor Rodriguez Rodriguez bought the land from Maria Selina Taveras who did not possess title. The lawsuit accuses Rodriguez Rodriguez of then selling the land to the Ministry of Education. The lawsuit alleges that Rodriguez Rodriguez was aware that land actually belonged to Juan Antonio Espinal and the plaintiff knowingly committed fraud by selling the land to the Ministry of Education.

This is the second case of the Ministry of Education being cheated in the purchase of land to be used for building a public school.


Haitians complain about services from their Embassy
Haitian students and workers demonstrated on Wednesday, 4 July 2018, in front of the Haitian Embassy in Santo Domingo about the very poor services that they receive from the embassy. Engineering student Aven el Archelus, noted long delays at the Haitian Embassy to issue certificates or any type of official documents. In addition, the demonstrators complained that they needed greater protection from actions carried out by the personnel of the Migration Agency.

Archelus explained that Haitian students and workers are often stopped in the streets in spite of having their papers up to date, and even when many of them present their National Status Legalization Plan (PNRE) temporary card to the authorities they continue to be hassled.


Francisco del Rosario Sánchez was executed 157 years ago
One of the Dominican Republic’s founding fathers, Francisco del Rosario Sánchez, was executed by firing squad acting under the orders of General Pedro Santana during the War of Restoration against the Spanish annexation of the Dominican Republic in 1861. In 1844, Sanchez and Ramon Mella initiated Dominican independence from Haiti. As a founding member of the group known as the Trinitarios, Sánchez along with Mella and Duarte had sworn to create a free, independent and sovereign Dominican Republic and end of Haitian domination.

In the very early days of 1844 Francisco Del Rosario Sánchez served as the president of the Provisional Governing Board. After the bankrupt Dominican Republic was returned to Spanish rule by President Pedro Santana in 1861, Sánchez was one of the first to organize a rebellion against this annexation. He was captured at the Battle of El Cercado, taken before a military tribunal in San Juan de la Maguana, and on orders from General Pedro Santana who was serving the Spanish army, taken to the local cemetery and was executed by firing squad.

Many historians feel that the country would be better served to commemorate such an anniversary rather than see full-page advertisements in newspapers announcing “fourth of July sales.”


Jail sentences handed down in case of murder of Swiss Embassy legal advisor
Judges of the First Collegiate Court of the National District sentenced five men who were found guilty of the murder of legal advisor of the Embassy of Switzerland in the Dominican Republic, German national Wolfgang Heimann. Heimann was murdered in his residence in Los Ríos, Santo Domingo on 13 June 2016. The assailants stole his vehicle, a safe box, firearms and other belongings of the victim.

Judges Esmirna Gisselle Méndez, Ingrid Fernández and Claribel Nivar sentenced the accused Brayan Rafael Ortiz Serra (aka Chaparro) to serve 30 years in jail. Félix Carlos Sterling Amaro (aka Cacu), Richard Anthony Perdomo Castillo and Félix Antonio Sterling (aka Coco or Pelotero) were each sentenced 15 years in prison. Bryan Bernardo Santana Marmolejos (aka Diablito) was sentenced to 5 years in jail. All sentences are to be served at the La Victoria jail.

The men were found guilty of criminal association, voluntary homicide, theft, illegal possession of firearms.


Not much rain in sight but lots of heat
According to the National Meteorological Office (Onamet), temperatures between 33 and 35°C (between 91 and 95°F) will continue for most of the country, and there is little possibility of rain. Onamet also announced on Wednesday, 4 July 2018, that a low-pressure area has about a 30% possibility of becoming the first tropical cyclone to arrive here from the waters off of the western coast of African.

Onamet also said that the current lack of rain is due to a high pressure area at the medium and high levels of the atmosphere and this interferes with cloud formation.

Nonetheless, some showers might fall in Santiago, La Vega, Peravia, San Cristobal, Azua, San Juan de la Maguana, says the weather forecaster Felix Rodriguez. The low-pressure area off the coast of Africa lies to the west -southwest of the Cape Verde islands and is moving west.


Bahamas defeats DR in Americas basketball qualifier
The national basketball team of Bahamas defeated the Dominican Republic 83-82 in their second match of the qualifying tournament for the FIBA 2019 World Cup. The match took place at the Palacio de los Deportes in Santo Domingo. The Dominican team was the favorite to win the game, but strong defense from Bahama squad made the difference. The DR had won their first four games in the qualifying round, only to lose to Canada and Bahamas. The DR now stands at 4-2 in the round, while Bahamas was eliminated with a record of 1-5 in Group D. Canada led the round with 5-1, while the US Virgin Islands posted a record of 2-4.
Bahamas was eliminated from the qualifiers but had the satisfaction of going out with a win.

The Dominican Republic basketball team (4-2) still aspires to be one of seven teams from the Americas that qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The team now moves to Group F, advancing with 10 points. Others in the group are Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Canada, US Virgin Islands.

The Second Round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers has three windows taking place in September and November 2018 and February 2019. The next matches of the second round of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup will take place 13-17 September 2018. The three (3) highest-placed teams from each group and the best 4th-placed team (a total of seven (7) teams) shall qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019.

Eduardo Najri, executive director of the national team has hopes that Dominican NBA players, including Karl-Anthony Towns, Al Horford, James Feldeine, Angel Delgado might join the team for the September window.

The schedule for the second round includes a 13 September game at the Palacio de los Deportes in Santo Domingo against Chile.

The 31 best teams of the qualifying rounds will join host China at the first-ever 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup, taking place from August 31-15 September 2019.


Birds in all their splendor at Colonial City exhibition
The Palacio Consistorial, across from Columbus Park in the Colonial City, presents the exhibition of the illustrations and photographs that are part of the “Alas y Colores, Aves Endémicas de La Española” publications. The photographs of Dominican birds, in all their splendor, seeks to create awareness of the need to preserve these. The exhibition is open from 4 July 2018 until the first week of August 2018. The photographs are by Eladio Fernández, Mario Dávalos, Dax Román, Guillermo Armenteros, Rafael Arvelo and Miguel Landestoy. The illustrations are by artist Alex Warnick.

Santo Domingo Mayor David Collado was present for the opening of the exhibition that is sponsored by the Inicia initiative.