DR1 Daily News - Tuesday, 25 April 2017


May 3, 2000
Government to continue to back industrial free zones
UK export agency to finance Dominican infrastructure projects
Remembering the revolution of April 24
Security to be increased along the border
Audit Chamber needs help to audit Odebrecht projects
Lawyers say homologation agreement doesn’t impede trying Odebrecht for overpricing
Minister claims Green Movement wishes to destabilize the government
Crash leaves six injured in Punta Cana
Child molester arrested in Salcedo
Flood alert issued
Two people have died and one has disappeared due to the floods
Heavy rains due to continue
Folklore Show in Santo Domingo

Government to continue to back industrial free zones
Minister of Industry and Commerce Temístocles Montás announced the Medina government will bolster their support to the sector. Montás said that after a meeting between officers of the Dominican Association of Free Zones (Adozona) and President Medina further backing for the leading export sector of the country was agreed to. Montas said measures to create a favorable climate for the development of free zones in the Dominican Republic was discussed at the meeting. 

Speaking at the announcement made at the Presidential Palace, president of Adozona, Federico Domínguez said that industrial free zone exports were RD$5.5 billion in 2016 and that the sector employs 163,200 persons. 

UK export agency to finance Dominican infrastructure projects
Hacienda Minister Donald Guerrero and United Kingdom Ambassador Christopher Campbell signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday whereby 500 million sterling pounds (approximately RD$30.3 billion) will be made available for purchasing UK goods and services to back important infrastructure works. 

The funds are targeted for use in electricity, energy generation, potable water and residual waters treatment projects. These will be channeled by the United Kingdom export-financing agency, the UK Export Finance (UKEF).


Remembering the revolution of April 24
On 24 April 1965, young military officers rose in revolt in the Dominican Republic for the restoration of the democratically-elected government. Four days later US troops invaded the country. It was the first US military intervention in Latin America in more than three decades. Juan Bosch was overthrown in September 1963, and the de facto government that replaced him reportedly indulged in an orgy of corruption and suppressed all social reforms and did allow for free elections. 

When the young officers rebelled on 24 April 1965, and announced that they would return Bosch to the presidency, the population responded with relief and enthusiasm. 

The president of the Historical Commission, Juan Daniel Balcácer announced a series of ceremonies to celebrate the day with floral offerings starting at 9 am, followed by a mass and finishing with a floral offering at the statue of president Caamaño at 11:30am. 


Security to be increased along the border
Dominican authorities have announced plans to increase security forces along the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti has been increased following the announcement by the United Nations to withdraw its peacekeepers, Minustah troops, estimated to number 400.

On Friday, 21 April 2017, Defense Minister Rubén Darío Paulino said the number of Dominican troops will be gradually increased all along 391-kilometer border through November, as the UN peacekeepers complete their withdraw by 7 November.

Paulino’s statement follows a warning from National Investigations Department (DNI) director Sigfrido Pared that the withdrawal of Minustah troops from Haiti would force increased patrols along the border.

Last week, the head of the United Nations Stabilization mission Sandra Honoré said the mission will cease operations in Haiti within six months, as the progress achieved during the past 13 years had been sufficient to assure Haiti’s security apparatus is capable of conducting their own patrols.  Honore said the time has come to reshape our international partnership with Haitian government. 


Audit Chamber needs help to audit Odebrecht projects
The president of the Audit Chamber of the Dominican Republic (CCRD), Hugo Álvarez Pérez has announced that the institution will start to take all the necessary measures to discover what types of irregularities there were in the works built by the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, in a response to a request made by Attorney General, Jean Rodríguez. The company has carried out 17 important infrastructure projects from 2001 to 2016. 

He said that they would carry out a forensic audit looking at the objectivity, quality and professionalism and to determine if the works were overvalued, as suspected by many experts. Álvarez Pérez explained the audit was a highly technical process that would take some time and need highly qualified professionals to perform the audit. These requirements have prompted the CCRD to enter into discussions with organizations and agencies in other countries to provide experts to assess the team of auditors the Dominican Audit Chamber had appointed to do the task.

Alvarez said that two expert Brazilian auditors will assist the Audit Chamber. He told the press he requested assistance from the Organización Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Entidades Fiscalizadoras Superiores (Olacefs). 


Lawyers say homologation agreement doesn’t impede trying Odebrecht for overpricing
Lawyers Manuel Fermín Cabral, Cándido Simón, Valentín Medrano, Miguel Valerio, Félix Damián Olivares and Carlos Balcácer interviewed by Diario Libre reporters say that the agreement signed between the Attorney General and Odebrecht will not impede the Brazilian company from being tried for overpricing in public work constructions. 

The lawyers said this would not be a second trial of the same because overpricing is a crime of fraud against the state that is covered by a different law than that of bribery. 

Odebrecht admitted to paying bribes for US$92 million to secure contract work in the Dominican Republic. The company and the Attorney General agreed to an 8-year payment of US$184 million in compensation to close that case. 

The lawyers interviewed by Diario Libre said that to determine if there was overpricing the audit by the Audit Chamber is needed. 


Minister claims Green Movement wishes to destabilize the government
The Minister of Interior and Police has complained that certain civil sectors that are using the fight against corruption and impunity as a ploy.  These groups actually wish to destabilize the government. 

Interior and Police Minister Carlos Amarante Baret referred to the Green March movement, saying it is now bringing together radical groups to take over the movement’s leadership and as such is a threat to the government and government employees.  He warned they could lead to rebellion and have catastrophic consequences for the country. 

In his opinion, the protestors are frustrated due to the irreversible advances of progress, economic stability, new infrastructure, and the progressive policies of inclusion that are being carried out by the existing government. However he did not disclose what the supposed unstabilizing strategies or plots were, nor did he identify individuals who involved in planning against the government.

He warned these individuals and groups to reflect upon their actions and discontinue the destabilization plans that would only lead to anarchy and disorder from which no good would come. 


Crash leaves six hotel employees injured in Punta Cana
On Monday 24 April 2017, at least six people were injured in a crash between a bus and a minibus on the Bulevar del Este highway in Los Manantiales, near the roundabout at Punta Cana.

The spokesman for the Metropolitan Transport Authority (Amet), Diego Pesqueira said that initial investigations indicated that a Hyundai minibus spun out of control and crossed into the other lane where it was struck by the bus. The injured were taken to a medical center in Punta Cana.

The buses were both transporting hotel employees and among those injured, two were reported to be in serious condition. The names of the injured are Rafael Bautista Finelis, Víctor Darío Javier Marcelo, Johanna Restituyo Rojas, María Esther Lara Cáceres, Luis Miguel Mercedes Mota and Martina Alvarez Concepción. 


Public school professor arrested for child molesting in Salcedo
A 12-year old boy was the first to speak up about sexual abuses by a public school teacher in Villa Amaro in northeastern Salcedo. It would then be known that Pedro Arismendy Familia had been sexually molesting a dozen children. 

The boy gathered the courage to denounce the professor for abuses to 8 to 12 year old girls at the school. The child said the professor threatened to beat him up if he did not serve him by coaxing the little girls to be with the professor. 

As reported in El Día, Josefina Brito, mother of one of the victims, said her daughter told her that Familia threatened to kill her if she told on him. She said her daughter admitted that Familia harassed her on Whatsapp inviting her to eat ice cream with him. 

The school would suspend Familia who taught social ciences at the Salcedo school. The case was sent to the Consejo Nacional para la Niñez y la Adolescencia (Conani). 
A Salcedo court ordered preventive custody for a year to the professor at the Juana Núñez jail in Salcedo. 

It was determined the child molesting abuses had been happening for a year. 


Flood alert issued on paths of dams
The executive director of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INDRHI), Olgo Fernández has called on the communities below Yuna River to prepare themselves for floods as they open the Hatillo Dam.  

He said that they may need to open the dam as it is quickly filling water. At present the water level in the dam has reached 89.7 meters. The maximum height of walls of the Hatillo Dam is estimated to be 88 meters. If the rains continue they will have no choice but to open the floodgates.

In addition, INDRHI indicated that they have had to open the Valdesia Dam floodgates last night although he said that does not pose any risk as the Nizao River is capable of handling a higher volume of water with no danger of flooding.

He said that at present there was no danger to other dams in the country.


Two people have died and one has disappeared due to the floods
According to Public Works Minister Gonzálo Castillo two deaths occurred in El Higuero and Enriquillo and a person was reported missing in Barahona. 

Monte Plata has suffered the worst damage, with the overflowing of the Ozama River, which has cut off the communities of La Luisa, and Hacienda Estrella. In the northeast, in Sánchez Ramírez the rivers Las Abejas, La Guamita, and La Piedra have cut off 68 communities.

The constant rains have led to the collapse of a bridge in Borgua, in the municipality of San Cristobal and the overflowing of the Nigua River. Due to the collapse of the bridge several communities have been cut off including Jamei, El Ramón, Mano Matuey, Los Montones, San Francisco, Carvajal, and Hato Damas. The local people have had to leave their homes and are urgently calling for the help from the authorities as the river continues to flood.

In addition, brigades from Public Works have reestablished traffic on the Duarte Highway at kilometer 58 near Villa Altagracia where the rains brought down trees and flooded the road.

President Medina has also suspended schools in the areas most affected by the rain. 


Heavy rains due to continue
The Center for Emergency Operations (COE) has reported that due to the heavy rains across the country more than 9,090 people and 56 communities have been cut off by the flooding.  The forecast is for rains to continue on Tuesday, the sun will shine somewhat on Wednesday, but then another trough is coming our way with more wet weather forecast starting Thursday. 

There are 30 provinces under alert with four under the maximum red alert: María Trinidad Sanchez (Nagua), Duarte (San Francisco de Macorís), Sánchez Ramírez (Cotuí), and San Cristóbal.

The latest bulletin from the National Meteorological Office (Onamet) states that the areas expecting the most rain are the southwest, central Cibao, northeast and Greater Santo Domingo. 

According to the water company, INAPA, there are eight aqueducts out of service, five have been closed as a preventive measure and three have been affected by the rains.

Those provinces under yellow alert are Espaillat, Hermanas Mirabal, Monseñor Nouel, La Vega, Peravia, Azua, Barahona, Monte Plata, San Pedro Macorís, Greater Santo Domingo, San José de Ocoa.

Under green alert are La Romana, San Juan de la Maguana, La Altagracia, Elías Piña, Santiago, Puerto Plata, Hato Mayor, Samaná, El Seibo and Dajabón. 

Reports are of flooding affecting traffic along the Duarte Highway, especially at the crosspoints near Villa Altagracia and Bonao. 


Folklore Show in Santo Domingo
The Ministry of Culture presents the National Folklore Ballet presentation “Aprende lo Nuestro” on 27 and 28 April 2017 at 10am at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, located at Av. Máximo Gómez corner Av. Independencia. While the folklore presentations are for school children, these are open to the general public and are free. They seek to educate students on Dominican folklore traditions.  

See more calendar events at http://www.dr1.com/calendar