DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 15 February 2017


May 3, 2000
President Medina implements new control system
Ministry of Superior Education promises wage increases to UASD professors
Ministry of Environment shuts down metal scrap company 
Two days without electricity in Santiago
No visas for deputies
Possible new US ambassador to the DR
Coffee negotiations with Taiwan
Motorcycle taxis complain about new transport bill
Lewis murder story corrected
Independence Cycling Tour starts 26 February 2017
Fito Páez to perform at Hard Rock Live
Bridal Week 2017 set for 3-5 March

President Medina implements new control system
On Monday, 13 February, President Danilo Medina met with his 22 cabinet members to review the first reports of the System of Monitoring and Measurement of Public Management initiative being implemented by each of the ministries to ensure that the presidential promises and commitments are being met.

The system measures the progress of the implementation of government programs and determines which programs have met the pre-established goals and estimates the degree to which targeted users or beneficiaries of the programs are satisfied.

Details of the meeting were presented by Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo, who explained that each minister shared their progress reports with the President.  Montalvo indicated the heads of public agencies will soon meet with President Medina to provide updates on the early findings of the system, covering a wide range of government services and programs. He said that the system outlines a clear chain of command and a high level of transparency in each institution in the implementation of government programs. 

Montalvo detailed that there are 224 tasks in the system and another 56 will be added. He highlighted that not only was the controls system innovative, but it was considered the first of its kind to be implemented in Latin America. 


Ministry of Superior Education promises wage increases to UASD professors
After meeting for four hours, the Ministry of Superior Education and representatives of the state university (UASD) professors, staff and student unions agreed to call an end to the professors and employee strike that had effectively shut down UASD and prevented classes from resuming following the long Christmas and New Years holiday break. 

Superior Education Minister Alejandrina Germán was present when professor union and UASD university authorities agreed to a 10-15% increase for state university professors and employees starting in January 2017. 
The meeting took place at the Ministry of Superior Education, Science and Technology (MEESCyT). Participating for the UASD professors was Santiago Guillermo, the head of the UASD professors union, Faprouasd. 

Guillermo agree to convene an assembly of UASD professors on Wednesday, 15 February at 10 AM to brief the faculty and staff and allow them to vote on the 9-point agreement negotiated in the presence of Minister Alejandrina Germán. 

Germán said that a follow up commission was created to prepare a list of the main problems affecting the university and come up with an action plan for the short, medium and long term. Members of the commission are: Minister Alejandrina Germán, former MEESCyT minister Ligia Amada Melo; a representative of the rector of the UASD; two representatives of Faprouasd; two representatives of Asodemu that gathers the employees, former rector of the UASD Porfirio García and the president of the Dominican Society of Daily Newspapers, Persio Maldonado. The commission will also thoroughly review the university payroll to assure that there all faculty and staff appointments are in order. 

Germán said the funds for the wage increase would come from the present budget of the state university. 

She said a national forum would be organized with national and international experts with the theme: Relaunching the UASD: from the Renovation Movement to Modernity.” 


Ministry of Environment shuts down metal scrap company 
The Ministry of the Environment cancelled the environmental permission and closed down the company Metales Antillanos, that had been operating in the La Isabela Industrial Zone in Villa Mella, in northern Santo Domingo. 

The company collected, transported, treated and processed iron metal (scrap) for export.

The Ministry said that the company’s operation permission, issued on 31 March 2015, was cancelled when it ignored a ruling to stop dismantling boats in an environmentally reckless manner, according to the Ministry. The company did not comply with the Ministry’s directive to fully isolate the metal scrapping and treatment operations.

According to the Ministry of Environment, Metales Antillanos was dismantling boats in a non-waterproof ditch, leaving potentially toxic residues to potentially contaminate the environment. 

The president of Metales Antillanos called the closing order unilateral and arbitrary.  


Two days without electricity in Santiago
The northern electricity distributor, Edenorte is suspending service in several streets in Santiago due to the installation of medium tension lines to serve the new 911 National Emergency Center that will soon be operating in that city. 

As a consequence of this work, blackouts were reported on Tuesday, 14 February. There will be no power again on Wednesday, 15 February from 10 am to 4 pm.
The areas affected will be Sabana Larga, Project 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, Camara Junior, Federico Alvarez and Aquiles Ramírez.


No visas for deputies
The United States’ Embassy in the country has refused to explain the reasons why visas were not granted to two legislators, Fidel Santana, president of the Popular Front Party and Deputy Fidelio Despradel, political secretary of Alianza País. Popular Front and Alianza País are two minor parties in Congress. 

The US Embassy declined giving an explanation for the visa decisions, even when pressed by El Nacional reporters. 

Since both Santana and Despradel are legislators, they had applied for diplomatic visas as is custom. Despradel said he was invited to the Embassy for an interview where he was asked about his leftist political views. Despradel was a militant leftist, fought against Trujillo, was arrested in 1959 and took part in the 1965 revolution and was a social protagonist during the 12 years of the government of Joaquin Balaguer (1966-1978).

Fidel Santana has already travelled five times to the United States, mainly as the presidential candidate for the Popular Front. He said that each time he travelled there he was subject to a raft of questions on his affiliation to groups on the left.

It is expected that the Chamber of Deputies will approve a resolution asking for an official explanation from the US Embassy on both cases.


Possible new US ambassador to the DR
According to rumor, President Donald Trump has offered the ambassadorship to the Dominican Republic to his Palm Beach neighbor, long-time friend multimillionaire Robin Bernstein. As leaked by Gossip Extra website, Bernstein’s Palm Beach-based insurance company has done business with Trump for years. Bernstein is said to have financially backed Trump during his presidential campaign and was active in fund raising for him. 


Coffee negotiations with Taiwan
Following up on an interest in doing business with the coffee sector in the Dominican Republic, a Taiwan Commercial Coffee Delegation visited the country from 8 to 10 February 2017. 

The mission was organized by the Taiwan Commercial Office for Central America and the Caribbean (CATO) and was headed up by its deputy executive director, Lucas C. W. Yeh.  

As part of the mission’s program, the delegation met with President Danilo Medina, coffee growers, the Center for Export and Investment (CEI-RD) and visited the coffee farms of Jose Altagracia Fernández in the north and Agrotecnica Cafetalera and Cafe Samir in the south. 


Motorcycle taxis complain about new transport bill
The National Board of Motorcycle Taxis (Conamotor) is threatening to encircle the Presidential Palace with motorcycles unless the Minister of the Presidency Gustavo Montalvo meets with them to discuss points arising from the new Transport Bill that affect their work. 

Oscar Almanzar, president of the National Federation of Motorcycle Taxis, said their main issue with the bill that replaces a 52-year old transport law, is that both the driver and the passenger on a motorcycle taxi have to wear a helmet.  He says this is a security risk as robberies will be carried out by criminals on a motorcycle with their faces covered with no means of identification. He said that if everyone used them the country would turn into a Venezuela or Columbia giving thieves a license to attack anyone without fear of identification.

Almanzar also complained about the clause in the new bill that makes it illegal to transport children under 8 years old. He asked how would school children get to school when many parents can only afford the RD$20 mototaxi fares.

He complained they had not been included in the talks prior to Congress passing the bill. The bill has yet to be signed into law by President Danilo Medina. 


Two dead in San Pedro radio station shooting
In San Pedro de Macorís a shooting at around 11am on Tuesday, 14 February 2017, at the city’s main radio station, Radio FM 103.5 left two broadcasters dead.

Broadcaster Luis Manuel Medina died yesterday, Tuesday 14 February when he was reading the news during the morning talk show “Milenio Caliente.” 

As reported, two individuals entered the radio station located on the second floor of the Centro Nacional del Este, a shopping center on Luis Amiama Avenue, to commit the murder.

Medina had been a broadcaster for many years, including having worked for the San Pedro Estrellas baseball team.

Also killed was the director of the radio show, journalist Leonidas Martínez, co-producer of the program. Martínez had a long career as a broadcaster dating back to the 1970s. He was known locally as “El Principe”. He was also the father of several children. 

The radio station’s secretary, Dayana Isabel Garcia was also shot at during the assault on the radio station and is said to be recovering from three bullet wounds, including one in the abdomen. It is believed that she witnessed the assault, said San Pedro prosecutor, Claudio Cordero. 

Colonel Williams Alcantara, police spokesman in San Pedro said that several people have been arrested and that their firearms are being checked. In the early afternoon, the Police said that 12 persons had been arrested in the first hours of investigations.


Lewis murder story corrected
DR1 published an error in the story yesterday on the judge sentence to US citizen Brent Renault Lewis by another American citizen. We apologize for the error. The story is now corrected in the DR1 archived version. 

The last paragraph should have read: 
Part of the victim’s body was found in Loma Picada, Espaillat province and was identified by a DNA test, but the rest of the remains of Brent Lewis are still missing.

Here is a reprint of the full corrected story: 

Jail for homicide of American
Three people have been sentenced to jail by a judge in a court in Puerto Plata for the murder and dismemberment of an American citizen. Brent Renault Lewis was murdered on 3 November 2014 in Sosua and his body dismembered and disposed of in various parts of the country.

Thirty-year old American, Frank Sorichette,  also known as Frankie, was sentenced to 30 years in jail.  Dominican María Geraldine de la Rosa Batista was sentenced to ten years, while Dominican lawyer Eduardo Heinsen was given a five year prison sentence.

The court heard testimony that Sorichette had murdered and dismembered Lewis with an electric saw and an axe inside the victim’s home in Loma Mironas in Sosua.  Sorichette, together with the other two assailants, were accused of then taking possession of Lewis’ assets.

Part of the victim’s body was found in Loma Picada, Espaillat province and was identified by a DNA test, but the rest of the remains of Brent Lewis are still missing.

Independence Cycling Tour starts 26 February 2017
The most important cycling tour in the Caribbean, the 38th Independence Cycling Tour, begins on 26 February at the Mirador del Sur Avenue covering a 20 km route around the Mirador del Sur Park. 

Afterwards, longer circuits will take cyclists on tours that practically cover the entire Dominican Republic, totaling over 1,125 km. There will be races on 26, 27 and 28 February, and then on 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 March 2017. 

The president of the Dominican Cycling Federation, Jorge Blas, announced that as of Friday, 10 February 2017, 14 foreign teams had registered. This is in addition to the six teams that this year will compete for the Dominican Republic. Blas said the present record of number of foreign teams is 15. 

Foreign cycling teams that have registered are from all across the Americas, including Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guadeloupe, Martinique and the United States. Teams are also coming from Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Russia. 

The six teams representing the Dominican Republic will be Inteja, Fénix and ACT from Santo Domingo, and the cycling associations from Santiago, La Vega and Moca. 

The race is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union and competitors can earn point towards the international cycling ranking. 

Read more in Spanish on the routes for this year’s 38th Independence Cycling Tour:

Fito Páez to perform at Hard Rock Live
Argentinean singer-songwriter and musician, Fito Páez, will be performing for Dominican audiences at the Hard Rock Live of Blue Mall in Santo Domingo on 16 March 2017. He has won five Latin Grammys, and in 2015 was awarded the international Master of Latin Music Award by Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA. 

Bridal Week 2017 set for 3-5 March
Organizer Sócrates McKinney announced the 17th Dominican Bridal Week 2017 will take place throughout the halls of the Hotel Embajador from 3-5 March. This is the leading bridal preparatory event, where couples to wed can arrange everything for with their wedding, honeymoon and home preparations. 

This is an opportunity to learn all about the new trends in bridal fashion with runway shows with bride and groom wedding attire. 

This year, the Bridal Academy will be presented, with a calendar of talks and workshops organized together with the Dominican Republic Association of Weddings and Events (ABERD). 


For information on upcoming events:

Archived News stories:

Archived Travel News stories:
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