DR1 Daily News - Thursday, 11 July 2019



Next DR1 Daily News Update: Monday, 15 July 2019
DR seeks oil exploration partners in Houston licensing round
Will a bid to reform the Constitution be submitted?
Vargas Maldonado says he supports Medina
Green March calls Santiago protest on Sunday, 14 July
Baní chosen for 2020 National Sports Games
Seasonal ban on conch
National District government removes informal vendors from Naco
Modern care for mental illness patients at Km 28
Security chiefs changed at all airports in the country
Small business discouraged by increases in wages without reclassification
Kah Kow opens in Brooklyn
DR stands to loose RD$500 million for not getting new Netflix production
Prosecutors could appeal order allowed suspects of tourist murder to be free on bond
Dominicans in volleyball Pan Am Cup semifinals after beating Canada
Andy Montañez at Hard Rock Live
“Will Anyone Go to Jail?” at the National Theater
Manny Manuel and Miriam Cruz at Hard Rock Live
Yiyo Sarante stars at Mi Bloque 23 in San Pedro de Macorís

Next DR1 Daily News Update: Monday, 15 July 2019
The next DR1 Daily News update will be published on Monday, 15 July 2019. The Monday issue will compile headline news for the previous Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Breaking news can be followed 24/7 in the DR1 Forums. See DR1 Forum at https://dr1.com

DR seeks oil exploration partners in Houston licensing round
The Dominican Republic opened the bidding process for the auction of 14 onshore and offshore previously identified oil blocks on 10 July 2019. As reported, licensing terms include a minimum investment of US$2 million for onshore blocks and US$4 million for offshore blocks.

The process will continue through 13 October. The auction will be held on 27 November when the companies will deliver the bids for the blocks and the winners will be announced. Once auctioned, the companies will sign seven to ten-year hydrocarbon exploration contracts with the Ministry of Mines & Energy and the President of the Republic and these will be sent to National Congress for approval.

Energy and Mines Minister Antonio Isa Conde spoke of the interest and optimism about the potential of the country in terms of oil and gas shown by the companies that attended the Hyatt Regency licensing oil round in Houston, Texas. "We are receiving very good signals," said the official, who heads the Ministry of Mines & Energy delegation at the Houston round.

Some 26 companies linked to exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons participated in the first round sponsored by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. As reported, the companies that attended the opening of the round were Anadarko, Apache, CGG, Enersep, ExxonMobil, Global Integral Supply, GTC, IHS Markit, Ion Geophysical, Mertz Energy, Midland Oil Tools Intl, Noble Energy and PGS, from the United States; Repsol, from Spain; Wartsila, from Finland; WesternGeco, Tullow Oil and Cairn Energy, from the United Kingdom; CNOOC, from China; Eni, from Italy; Geopark and Trans-Globe, from Canada; Transocean, from Switzerland; Total, from France; Shell, from Holland; and Sertecpec, from Ecuador.

There are 14 blocks on offer. Six are located in the central Cibao Basin; three in the southwestern Enriquillo Basin; one in the southcentral Azua Basin; and four in the southeastern San Pedro de Macorís Basin. As reported, bidders can also propose their own geographic blocks in the next two months if they do not like the original areas.

Since 2015 the global firm Schlumberger has carried out a process of analysis of seismic data in the Dominican Republic, to determine possible hydrocarbon exploration blocks. The data is in the National Hydrocarbon Database that was uploaded to the Internet in 2016.

In its coverage of the event, Reuters reported that the licensing round comes at a time when Brazil, Guyana and Mexico have already attracted billions of dollars in oil investment. Reuters reported that Cuba and Panama have also taken steps to lure producers with new areas and by making seismic exploration data available.


Will a bid to reform the Constitution be submitted?
The nation was abuzz with rumors that Wednesday, 10 July 2019 would be the day. Nothing happened. Speculation is now that the request to start the process to reform the Constitution would be submitted on Friday, 12 July. Media is reporting on the tense situation in the inside and outside of Congress. The area is militarized.

During a morning session with a large attendance, 96 deputies voted for a 30-day extension for applicants to the position of ombudsman. Deputies that are loyal to former President Leonel Fernandez and those of the largest opposition party, the Modern Revolutionary Party did not vote. But the motion passed with 96 votes of Medina followers and allies from the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC).

Shortly afterwards, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Radhamés Camacho suspended the session early on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, and convened a Friday session for 10am. Rumors abounded that President Danilo Medina supporters had carried out a rehearsal and were readying to submit the call for the constitutional amendment process to begin to the Senate that day. Deputy Fidel Santana of the Frente Amplio speculated that this would give time that same week to then move the motion to a session of the Chamber of Deputies that was extraordinarily called for Friday, as reported in Hoy. Deputy sessions are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and very rarely on a Friday.

The rules establish that once the proposal is approved in one legislative chamber, it must reach the other within 24 hours, there after opening the floor for discussions of the proposed amendments to the 2015 Constitution.

Santana says that he has information that up to RD$70 million is being offered to legislators for their vote to amend the Constitution so that Medina can be the presidential candidate of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) in the 2020 general election.

The PLD will be holding its primary on 6 October 2019, but the present constitutional ban impedes President Danilo Medina from being the presidential candidate. Parties need to register their presidential candidates by 22 August 2019.

The 2015 Constitution establishes that in order to convene the National Assembly for Constitutional Revision, the presence of more than half the members of each house of Congress is needed (Art. 271). Once this is called, Congress has 15 days to decide on the proposed amendments or introduce others. Constitutional amendment decisions need the affirmative vote of a two-thirds majority.

Followers of President Danilo Medina have enough votes to pass whatever motion in the Senate. Nevertheless, there is speculation that Medina followers have not ensured enough votes among the dissident followers of former President Leonel Fernández and opposition members to pass the desired amendments in the Chamber of Deputies.

So far, deputies loyal to former President Leonel Fernández and members of the largest opposition party, the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), have presented a united front against the amendment of the Constitution.

There is talk that on the agenda for constitutional reform is a change in the makeup of the National Council of the Magistracy (CNM). This is backed by civic society in the Dominican Republic. A constitutional change in the 2010 Constitution had enabled then President Leonel Fernández to eventually control the court that chooses the superior court judges. The proposed amendment would reverse the Executive Branch’s deciding power over the judicial system.

Also on the constitutional reform agenda would be the unifying of the municipal elections with the congressional and presidential elections for the 17 May 2020 date. 2020 would be the first year in which the modality would be implemented.

And, most importantly on the constitutional agenda is the amendment that would enable President Danilo Medina to seek a third term in 2020 or be eligible to run for President in 2024.

Time is running out. The regular working period for Congress ends on 26 July 2019. The Presidency could order the term be extended to14 August 2019. The presidential candidacies need to be registered at the Central Electoral Board (JCE) no later than 22 August 2019.

In a late development, on Wednesday, 10 July 2019, the presidential pre-candidate for the opposition PRM party, Luis Abinader called for people to congregate as of 9am on Friday, 11 July in front of the National Congress to protest against the possible convening of the constitutional assembly. "I want to make it clear that continuity does not have the necessary votes and could only be achieved through bribery," Abinader said.

Supporters of former President Leonel Fernández say they would appeal to the Constitutional Court if a motion to amend the Constitution is presented to Congress. Diario Libre reported that legislators that are loyal to former President Leonel Fernández met yesterday evening at the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (Funglode). Leonelistas argue a meeting of the expanded Central Committee of the PLD is required to revoke the pact. They argue that the 34-member Political Committee cannot decide. That 15-point pact signed in 2015 enabled Medina to run for a second term in 2016 election and limited presidential terms to two periods.

Tourism Minister and member of the PLD Political Committee, Francisco Javier García has called for disciplinary measures within the party. García says the Political Committee should decide the differences. Medina has majority in the Political Committee.

It was reported that Reinaldo Pared Pérez, the president of the Senate, met with President Danilo Medina at the Presidential Palace on Wednesday, instead of attending the Senate session of the day.


Vargas Maldonado says he supports Medina
Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado, who is also the president of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), an ally to the PLD, says the party support is exclusive to President Danilo Medina. PRD legislators in 2015 voted in favor of changing the 2010 Constitution so that Medina could run for his first re-election.

Now Vargas Maldonado said the PRD backs the second re-election of Danilo Medina. Vargas said he favors the reform of the Constitution to enable Medina to be the PLD presidential candidate in the 2020 general election. The push for Medina to continue in power has generated considerable controversy within the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), opposition party members and members of civil society.
Vargas Maldonado said that the PRD will only appeal to its members to vote for the PLD if Medina is the candidate.


Green March calls Santiago protest on Sunday, 14 July
The civic movement Green March (Marcha Verde) is convening a "great march of the Cibao" for Sunday, 14 July 2019 in the city of Santiago. The march is to protest against impunity for administrative corruption and attempts to amend the Constitution to enable Medina to run for a third term.

The march is called for the area of the Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration in Santiago. The tour will begin at Del Sol Street on the corner of Daniel Espinal (in front of the Gran Teatro del Cibao). The participants will walk down Del Sol Street until Presidente Antonio Guzmán Avenue (former General López), and turn right onto Antonio Guzmán Avenue, until arriving to Hermanas Mirabal Avenue where the platform for speakers will be installed.


Baní chosen for 2020 National Sports Games
The Ministry of Sports announced the 15th National Sports Games are scheduled for 2-11 July 2020 in southeastern Valdesia region. Sports venues in the provinces of Peravia (Baní), Azua and San José de Ocoa will be prepared to receive thousands of athletes from all around the country. The previous bi-annual games took place in the Hermanas Mirabal region in the northeast, and the set date was postponed on several occasions.

Seasonal ban on conch
Do your share contributing to the environment by not consuming conch from now through November. The Ministry of Environment announced the start of the seasonal ban on capture and consumption of conch. The ban is in effect from 1 July to 31 October. The ban is intended to protect and manage the nation's dwindling conchs (lambí and burgao in Spanish).

The ban includes the harvesting of conch in any stage of their life cycle. The protected species are Charonia variegata, Cassis tuberosa, Cittarium pica and Astraea coelata.

The Ministry urges owners and managers of supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, fish and seafood shops and fishermen to refrain from fishing, storing, acquiring or marketing conch during the seasonal ban.

Shop and restaurant owners are required to communicate to the Dominican Council for Fisheries and Aquaculture (CODOPESCA), their present stocks of conch for inspection, verification, monitoring and control purposes. After verification, the business has 20 days to sell the produce.


National District government removes informal vendors from Naco
Responding to complaints by neighborhood groups, the city government of the National District forcefully removed several informal vendors in the Naco commercial and residential area. City residents had complained the vendors caused hygiene and mobility problems in the area and for months had campaigned against them.

City government Public Spaces division brigades (Dirección de Espacios Públicos) carried out the operation. Nine vending points were removed from sidewalks at the Heriberto Pieter street in Naco.

Aníbal Díaz, the director of Public Spaces who headed the dismantling operation, said: "The city government does not seek to take food from families whose livelihood depends on informal trade. However, we must educate society and make people understand that there is an established order even for informal trade.”

Díaz said the city government division would be vigilant to prevent the vendors from returning to the sidewalks.


Modern care for mental illness patients at Km 28
The Centro de Rehabilitación Psicosocial is the renovated Psiquiátrico Padre Billini that dates back to 1959. In the renovation, only the location at Km. 28 of the Duarte Highway is the same, as reported in Listín Diario. The 57-year old mental illness center is no longer a “crazy house,” but rather a modern rehab center for short, medium and long recovery stays.

The center primarily cares for homeless people, but the patient needs to be referred and a rigorous health assessment is carried out to rule out any physical illness before patients are admitted. The center cares for persons from 18 to 60 years old. Those that seek recovery from drug addiction are not admitted unless they have a dual psychiatric illness.

At the center, patients can participate in courses in arts and crafts, theater, literacy, and IT, gardening, hairdressing, barbering, and others. Those who work in cleaning, gardening, cooking and laundry services receive a small remuneration.

The center has 78 residents of which 40 were inherited from the old center and are homeless persons with no contact with their families.

Furthermore, to care for the mentally ill, the Ministry of Public Health has installed special mental health units in public hospitals. The units are located in the Darío Contreras, Francisco Moscoso Puello, Jacinto Mañón, Vinicio Calventi, Santo Socorro and San Lorenzo de Los Minas public hospitals in Greater Santo Domingo. There are also units in public hospitals in Barahona, San Juan de la Maguana, San Cristóbal, Santiago, Puerto Plata and San Francisco de Macorís.


Security chiefs changed at all airports in the country
The director of the Specialized Airport Corps (Cuerpo Especializado de Seguridad Aeroportuaria y de la Aviación Civil - CESAC) announced the change of the security chiefs of all the country's international airports on Tuesday and that a new public relations officer has been appointed.

Air Force Brigadier General Aracenis Castillo de la Cruz said the changes are routine. The new appointments were previously approved by Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Rubén Darío Paulino Sem.

The new directors are:
Las Americas International Airport (SDQ) in Santo Domingo: Colonel Juan Ramón Lizardo Pérez
La Isabela International Airport (JBQ) in Santo Domingo: Colonel Jhojany Suriel Otañez
Cibao International Airport (STI) in Santiago: Colonel Francis Figueroa Roque
Casa de Campo International Airport (LRM) in La Romana: Colonel César Valenzuela Galván
Gregorio Luperón International Airport (POP) in Puerto Plata: Colonel Junior García Gómez
Catey International Airport (AZS) in Samaná: Colonel Jow Lee Mejía Díaz
Arroyo Barril International Airport in Samaná: Colonel Francisco Valenzuela Vicente
Director of public relations: Colonel Martha Puente Castillo.

Small business discouraged by increases in wages without reclassification
Raising the minimum wage without complying with Law 187-17 on the reclassification of companies, as the National Wage Committee (CNS) did on Tuesday, 9 July 2019 will directly affect the competitiveness and development of the MSMEs sector, Dinorah Subero said on Wednesday, 10 July.

The president of the Dominican Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises (Codopyme) said that the raise without the application of Law 187-17 that calls for setting wages by company size is unsustainable. Subero said that a reclassification of companies would encourage the formalization of MSMEs, among other advantages for companies and workers.

"This [present] situation will be causing small businesses to go bankrupt and thus increases the likelihood of mass layoffs and labor lawsuits," she said. She says it will lead to increased unemployment.

The Ministry of Labor said when announcing the minimum wage increases that the talks on the reclassification of companies would be convened in 60 days.

Likewise, the president of the National Council of Merchants and Entrepreneurs of the Dominican Republic (Conacerd), Antonio Cruz Rojas, also considered that the decision to increase the minimum wage by 14% "was not the right one". The business leader said that the Ministry of Labor has again ignored Law 187-17 that establishes a business classification for companies according to the number of workers and gross sales.

Law 187-17 classifies companies as:
Microenterprise: Company with up to 10 workers and gross annual sales of up to RD$8,000,000.00
Small: Company with 11 to 50 workers and gross annual sales of up to RD$54,000,000.00.
Medium: Company with 51 to 150 workers and annual gross sales of up RD$202,000,000.00.


Kah Kow opens in Brooklyn
Local cacao and chocolate producers, the Rizek family, were in New York City for the opening of the first Kah Kow franchise abroad in Brooklyn. The company seeks to introduce the Dominican brand to US audiences.

Hector José Rizek, on behalf of the Rizek family, said: "For us, this is a historic moment. The opening of this store pays tribute to the great risks taken by our great-grandfather Salomón in 1895 and by grandfather Nazario, who in 1905 founded our cacao company.”


DR stands to loose RD$500 million for not getting new Netflix production
DGCine in the Dominican Republic announced the country failed to attract a new unnamed Netflix production. The company had filmed 10 captures of a series in 2018 without any incidents. Yvette Marichal, director of DGCine, had confirmed the company had expressed concern after the deaths of US citizens at a southeastern resort. She said the company is awaiting the results of the toxicology study carried out to the US tourists.

The production would now be filmed in Indonesia, as reported.

DGCine said that the company had been scouting and had not made known the name of the production for which the country was being considered.

The TV production would have meant over RD$500 million in subcontracting to local providers.


Prosecutors could appeal order allowed suspects of tourist murder to be free on bond
The Public Ministry in La Altagracia said it would appeal the order of the Judicial Office of Permanent Attention Services of La Altagracia (Oficina Judicial de Servicios de Atención Permanente de La Altagracia) that allowed Barbados citizen 28-year old Qwamme Lee Archer and his US spouse 22-year old Brianna Alexandra Richardson to post a bail of RD$50,000. The charges are sexual assault, attempted murder, violence against women and robbery.

The judge also ordered legal impediment to those accused from leaving the country without the due judicial authorization and periodic presentation to the Public Ministry for six months.

The couple is accused of having raped and thrown US citizen 51-year old Ashley Rachel Caban from a second-floor balcony of a hotel room. Caban was hospitalized with several injuries.

Pre-trial custody had been requested by state prosecutors in the case. But the judge allowed the lesser coercive measures, arguing that the victim did not attend the hearing. The victim's attorney argued the couple never should have been released on bail, based on the evidence and is fighting to get the order reversed.

The tourists were at the same resort, Ocean Blue in Punta Cana.


Dominicans undefeated in volleyball Pan Am Cup
The Dominican senior women’s volleyball team passed undefeated to the semifinals of the Norceca 17th Senior Women’s Panamerican Cup from 4-15 July 2019. The tournament is played in Trujillo and Chiclayo in Peru.

With the Tuesday, 9 July 2019 defeat of Canada 3-2 (25-18, 25-27, 21-25, 25-14, 15-13). The "queens of the Caribbean" moved on to the second round of the championship that is a preparatory event for the Lima Pan Am Games. The Dominican team would next on Wednesday, 10 July defeat host Peru 3-0 (25-22; 25-22; 25-18).

The DR played in Group A and won all its games against Canada, Argentina, Cuba, Peru and Guatemala. The USA also won Group B undefeated, playing against Puerto Rico, Mexico, Colombia and Trinidad & Tobago.

http://www.norceca.net/Dominicans qualified unbeaten to semifinals after beating Canada.htm
http://www.norceca.net/Dominican Republic wins undefeated Pool A of Pan American Cup.htm

http://www.norceca.net/2019 Events/...-3/Calendar-Women’s Pan American Cup 2019.htm

Andy Montañez at Hard Rock Live
Dance to classic salsa at the Hard Rock Live at Blue Mall in Santo Domingo. Puerto Rican salsa singer Andy Montañez and his La Dimensión Latina band take the stage on Friday, 12 July 2019 for an evening of memorable salsa hits. Orquesta Adolescencia from Venezuela is a special guest performer for the evening. Showtime is 10pm. Tickets are for sale online at Uepa Tickets starting at RD$2,165. Tickets are also for sale at CCN Servicios, Supermercados Nacional and Jumbo stores.

Sexappeal and The New York Band at Jaragua Casino
The Jaragua Renaissance announces the presentation of the salsa group Sexappeal and The New York Band. The performance will be on Friday, 12 July 2019 as of 10pm.

“Will Anyone Go to Jail?” at the National Theater
Starring José Roberto Díaz, Brian Delena, Gianni Paulino, Amauris Perez and Exmin Carvajal, “Quién irá a la cárcel” (7 Años) continues at the Sala Ravelo of the National Theater on 12, 13, and 14 July and then 19, 20, 21 July 2019. The play is by José Cabezas and Julia Fontana based on a Netflix movie. It tells the story of four business partners accused of tax evasion and what they are capable of doing to not go to jail.

The play is a benefit for the Fundación Manos Arrugadas that helps senior citizens. Shows are at 8:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 6:30pm on Sundays. Tickets are RD$1,300 and are for sale online at Uepa Tickets for at CCN Servicios, Supermercados Nacional and Jumbo stores.


Manny Manuel and Miriam Cruz at Hard Rock Live
Puerto Rican Manny Manuel and Dominican Miriam Cruz are booked for an evening of lively romantic merengues at the Hard Rock Live of Blue Mall in Santo Domingo. The concert, "The King and her Majesty“ (El rey y su majestad) will be on Saturday, 20 July 2019 as of 10pm.
Tickets are for sale online at Uepa Tickets. Tickets also are for sale at CCN Servicios, Supermercados Nacional and Jumbo stores.

Yiyo Sarante stars at Mi Bloque 23 in San Pedro de Macorís
To reopen the nightclub on the Malecón of San Pedro de Macorís, salsa singer Yiyo Sarante is booked for the evening of Saturday, 13 July 2019. Animation with Maicol Miguel and mix by BabyFace.
Tickets are for sale online at Uepa Tickets are RD$560 and RD$1,085 (VIP). Tickets are also for sale at CCN Servicios, Supermercados Nacional and Jumbo stores.
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