DR1 Daily News - Wednesday, 8 March 2017


May 3, 2000
President Medina meets with regional industry president
Vocational training at extended day schools
Government foresees thousands of hotel rooms for Bahia de las Aguilas
Public school teachers fight over pay rise
UN says Dominican Republic lagging behind in Women’s Rights
Hipolito denies involvement with Odebrecht corruption
Former Minister of Public Works questioned again
Brazilian media reports Odebrecht financed election campaigns in DR
Colombian Navy rescues Dominican fishermen
Trial to begin for American accused of drug smuggling
Police Colonel arrested with drugs
Dominican is champ of Independence Cycling Tour
Dominican team opening pitcher rotation announced for WBC
Carol Welsman concert and master class

President Medina meets with regional industry president
President Danilo Medina received the president of the Federation of Chambers and Industrial Associations of Central America and the Dominican Republic, Enrique Egloff at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, 7 March 2017. The Presidency said they exchanged ideas about the importance of manufacturing to the country and the region.

Egloff was accompanied by the president of the Association of Industries of the Dominican Republic (AIRD), Campos de Moya, and the president of the National Business Council (Conep), Pedro Brache. Also participating in the meeting was Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta.


Vocational training at extended day schools
The Ministry of Education and the Infotep vocational training center signed an agreement on 7 March 2017 to make available vocational education and training courses at public high schools. The agreement was signed by Education Minister Andrés Navarro and Infotep director Rafael Ovalles. 

The plan calls for the gradual conversion of the extended day high schools into polytechnic centers, where students can choose tracks in a number of trades that are in high demand in the country. 

Education experts conjecture that up to 50% of the students graduating from secondary school may opt to receive training in specific trade skills, when the vo-tech programs are fully implemented. At present, only 19% of Dominican schools study in vocational centers. 


Government foresees thousands of hotel rooms for Bahia de las Aguilas
The Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta has revealed that several of the biggest hotel chains in the world will accompany President Danilo Medina to the Bahia de las Aguilas next month with the aim of exploring the opportunity for the construction of more than 15,000 rooms in this tourist area in Pedernales province. 

He said international interest in the Bahia de las Aguilas area as a tourist destination is gaining in popularity.  He emphasized that the time is right to increase significantly the number of tourists visiting the country over the next few years. The Dominican Republic is the leader in arrivals in the Caribbean. 

The President went on to say that tourist development in that part of the south region would mean the construction of a air and sea ports, and he assured potential developers that the government was ready to invest in infrastructure to facilitate the growth of tourism in the area. 


Public school teachers fight over pay rise
On Tuesday 7 March 2017 there was a tense situation in the Mauricio Baez Club in Santo Domingo at a meeting of the national public teachers unions. Some teachers began a fight over differences arising from the agreement on salary increases reached with the Ministry of Education. 

The teachers insisted that the salary increase of 10% should start from this month and not in August as suggested by Education Minister Andrés Navarro.

This provoked the anger of representatives of the 155 sections who called for a national strike and the removal of the “traitors” within their ranks, accusing the heads of the Dominican Teachers’ Association of being loyal members of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD). 

Eduardo Hidalgo, president of the ADP, said that the committee approved the 10% and that they would send a communication to the Ministry to say it should be backdated to April or June. 

At the end of the meeting, Hidalgo called for a national union meeting next week, as a result of having come to an agreement with the Ministry. 


UN says Dominican Republic lagging behind in Women’s Rights
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein has issued an alert regarding legislative modifications that threaten to erode human rights.

On the eve of International Working Women’s day, Zeid reminded the public that the advances made by the feminist movement have been slow but sustained, however several countries had gone backwards in the process of equality. 

He said that in some regions there had been a renewed obsession with controlling and limiting the decisions of women about their bodies and their life and the idea that their social function should be limited to reproduction and the family.

The communication cited examples from different countries including the Dominican Republic, saying that those who paid the price for new legislation against women were the women themselves and their children.

He is referring to the recently passed Penal Procedures Code. President Danilo Medina for a second time vetoed the bill after the legislators eliminated that mother’s life, incest or rape could be reasons for abortion.  

The Dominican Republic celebrates the International Women’s Day on 8 March 2017. 


Hipolito denies involvement with Odebrecht corruption
On Monday night, 6 March 2017, former President Hipolito Mejía in an 18-minute address assured the nation that he was not involved in the Odebrecht bribery scandal. Mejia said the Odebrecht affair is an opportunity for the justice system to end corruption and impunity in the country. 

Speaking on several radio and television channels, Mejía said that although many government officials have taken advantage of their position for personal gain, it was not the case when it came to him. 

He said he had nothing to hide and challenged anyone who had proof that he or members of his family had been involved in any corrupt acts to come forward.  And if these allegations are proven correct, he would retire from political life and hand return any ill-gotten gains back to the state.  

Meanwhile, the president of the commission that is investigating the sale of land belonging to the State Sugar Company (CEA) has accused former President Hipolito Mejía of enabling the sale of land by CEA via a real estate agency. 

Minister without portfolio, Bautista Rojas Gómez, accused Mejía of misleading the public on Monday night, when the former President said he was free of corruption. Rojas Gómez said that Mejía should ask forgiveness from the country as it was he who created the real estate division of the CEA in 2001, effectively legitimizing the sale of state-owned land that was part of the CEA assets. Experts and investigative journalists have reported a series of irregularities regarding the sale of government property by the real estate division of CEA over the years. 

Interviewed by Danny Alcantara and Oscar Medina on the program Hoy Mismo, on Color Vision, on Channel 9, Rojas Gómez said that of 44,000 property sales executed by CEA, the commission has revised nearly 13,000 sales transactions and audited another 7,000 transactions, some of which are apparently not in the CEA archives. 

In his address on 6 March, Mejía accused the ruling PLD party of protecting its government officials in the Odebrecht corruption scandal. He stated: “In the country there is a long rosary of cases of corruption that have been overlooked to protect officials of the PLD governments who have committed malicious acts without a regime of consequences that will stop impunity. " He added: "Impunity encourages corruption, diverts public funds that should be invested in improving the quality of life of people and contributes to the perpetuation of poverty and social exclusion."


Read more about the CEA scandal at:

Former Minister of Public Works questioned again
On Tuesday, 7 March 2017, former Minister of Public Works Víctor Díaz Rúa visited the Attorney General’s office for a second time to be interrogated in relation to the bribes paid by the Brazilian company Odebrecht.

He arrived shortly before 3 pm, accompanied by his lawyers, and when questioned by journalists as to why he was being interviewed again, he only stated that he had no idea as to the motive. He was said to have left after 9pm. 

Díaz Rúa was Minister of Public Works during the government of Leonel Fernández and was interrogated previously in January by Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez as part of the investigations into the Odebrecht case.

After the interrogations, Díaz Rúa assured journalists that when he was minister of Public Works all the works followed the due process. 

The Attorney General has been criticized for carrying out extensive questioning of a selection of former government officers and persons related to Odebrecht but not taking any legal actions so far.  


Brazilian media reports Odebrecht financed election campaigns in DR
Continuing with the Odebrecht saga, Brazilian media report that Odebrecht has admitted to have financed electoral campaigns in five countries, including the Dominican Republic. The electoral campaigns of politicians in Brazil, El Salvador, Angola, Venezuela, Panama and the Dominican Republic used funds provided by the Brazilian construction company. The Odebrecht payments were said to have been for RD$3.39 billion to finance the electoral campaigns in the five above mentioned countries.

Reportedly, Hilberto Silva, an Odebrecht official, admitted under oath at the Electoral Court of Brazil that the funds were transferred by Joao Santana’s company. Santana was the main international advisor of the Medina campaign in 2012. He also worked on the Medina re-election campaign, prior to leaving for Brazil to answer to corruption charges in court. 


Colombian Navy rescues Dominican fishermen
The Colombian Navy has rescued two Dominican fishermen who were stranded in the Caribbean Sea near the island of Serranilla that is part of the archipelago San Andrés and Providencia in Colombia. The two men, aged 46 and 50, had left Puerto Plata some 23 days ago but they had lost their engine power in their fishing boat called Juana 6.

They were located by ARC San Andres, belonging to the Colombian Navy who gave them assistance and first aid and also contacted their families in the Dominican Republic. 


Trial to begin for American accused of drug smuggling
The trial of Larry Davis, a US businessman who is accused of international drug smuggling, began in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, 7 March 2017, as reported in a Houston news online service.  The 44-year old American has been awaiting trial for a year. His friends and family insist that the case is based on flimsy evidence and uncorroborated hearsay.

Starting in 2008, Larry Davis and his father owned a fuel-trading boat that ferried diesel from areas where it was plentiful and sold it at a profit in other parts of the Caribbean. After Davis' mother was diagnosed in 2015 with terminal leukemia, the family decided to put the business on hold.

In late January 2016, Davis and his father leased their boat to Joseph Hynds, the son of a powerful businessman well-known in the fuel-trading industry, and Hynds hired his own captain and crew.

A month later, Davis got a call from a shipping agent in the Dominican Republic and was informed that the boat was being inspected. Davis booked a roundtrip flight and flew to Santo Domingo early the next morning, his lawyers said.

Reportedly unknown to Davis, Dominican authorities had found 986 kilos of cocaine and 3 kilos of heroin on the leased boat. When Davis saw a news article mentioning the seizure, he tried to meet with Dominican investigators, whom his lawyers said declined to speak with him.

Davis was arrested March 5, 2016, at the Santo Domingo airport as he arrived for his scheduled return flight.

Friends and family say the 44-year-old father had no way of knowing the Honduran, who has since disappeared, who leased his boat would use it to smuggle nearly 1,000 kilograms of cocaine.


Police Colonel arrested with drugs
Agents from the Central Antinarcotics Division (DICAN) have arrested a National Police colonel as he was carrying out a transaction involving 41 packs of marijuana on Charles de Gaulle Avenue. The suspect is identified as Lieutenant Colonel Richar Capitrano Diaz de los Santos who was arrested along with Alfredo Bienvenido Ciprian Cespedes, Felix Encarnacion  Encarnacion,  Felipe Alberto Manon Rosso and Yuni De Jesus Valenzuela.

DICAN said that the first 31 packets of marijuana were in a Toyota pickup and another 10 in a Toyota Corolla car with a total weight of 135 pounds. Those detained had their vehicles confiscated along with a pistol and five cell phones. 

The director of DICAN, General Edward Sanchez Gonzalez has warned on different occasions that he will not tolerate bribes or corruption in the force. 


Dominican is champ of Independence Cycling Tour
Dominican Ismael Sánchez repeated as the champion of the Independence Cycling Tour (Vuelta de Ciclismo Independencia Nacional). The event, in its 38th year, ended last Sunday, 5 March 2017. The final 104 km stretch took the racers to the Monumento de Santiago, with Sánchez in the lead. Sánchez is a past winner in 2016 and 2012. He is the only cyclist to have won on three occasions. Sánchez total time was 26:05.36. 

Teams from Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Venezuela, Guadaloupe, the United States, Russia, Uzbekistan, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Switzerland and New Zealand, competed in this year’s event. 

The competitors had praise for the quality of the meals served at the Albergue Olímpico, the athletes’ village set up for the participating teams in Santo Domingo. 

See the results here:

Dominican team opening pitcher rotation announced for WBC
Dominican World Baseball Classic team manager Tony Peña has announced that the starting pitchers for the Dominican Republic will be right-handers Carlos Martínez, Edison Volquez and Willy Peralta. Martínez will start the opening game set for Thursday, 9 March 2017 at 6pm at the Marlins Stadium in Miami. 

The Dominican Republic is playing in Pool C with the United States, Colombia and Canada. Volquez is scheduled to open against the United States on Saturday, 10 March and Peralta will pitch against Colombia on Sunday, 11 March at 12:30pm. 

Follow the schedule of the games and the results at:

Carol Welsman concert and master class
Canadian vocalist and pianist Carol Welsman will be giving a master class at the National Music Conservatory on Friday, 10 March 2017 at 3pm. She is a six-time Juno Award-nominated, self-managed Canadian jazz vocalist.

She is also booked for a concert at the UNPHU Auditorium on Saturday, 11 March at 7pm. Pengbian Sang will be playing base and Sly de Moya, drums. 

Listen to her music at:

For information on upcoming events:

Archived News stories:

Archived Travel News stories: