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The Attorney General Office named Denia Margarita Benders Fermín to be the La Victoria Jail warden. She replaces Gilberto Nolasco. Attorney General Miriam German also ordered a change in all the military and police assigned to the jail. It is the first time La Victoria has a woman warden. The jail has a population of around 7,000 inmates.

The changes come after Nuria Piera investigative report aired a report by young journalist Eiron Lopez who served preventive custody time at the jail and brought to the open the widespread corruption, drug trafficking and mafias freely operating inside the country’s largest jail. He used eyeglasses that had a camera integrated. Later in the week it was known that the murder of Ruddy Quezada, who had won a US$14 million case in the US justice for wrongful incarceration, was planned from the jail.

Previously, Benders...

18 September 2020

The Ministry of Hacienda announces the government placed US$3.5 billion in sovereign bonds and RD$17 billion in bonds in local currency. The bonds are for payment terms from six to 40 years. The funds will be used to meet the government deficit caused by the impacts of the Covid-19 in the Dominican economy.

The placements were contemplated in the Complementary National Budget sent by the Abinader government to Congress to fill the financial gaps through the end of the year.

Economist Henri Hebrard told El Dia that the placement is good news. He said it will positively impact stabilizing the exchange market through the end of the year.

Read more in Spanish:

The general administrator of the Dominican Hydroelectric Generation Company (EGEHID), Engineer Rafal Salazar, announced government plans to build two dams to generate 52 megawatts of energy and control flooding in Elías Piña. The construction would also contribute to reduce sedimentation of the Peligre Dam in Haiti. The Artibonito Project would be contracted to a Brazilian construction company, Construtora Queiroz Galvao. Construction would last four years and would begin in the summer of 2021.

The first dam would be built in El Corte to send the water through a tunnel to the machine house downstream, and generate 42 megawatts of electricity through two turbines of 20 megawatts each. The second counter-dam at Pedro Santana would be 17 kilometers downstream and would generate 10 megawatts, through two turbines of 5 megawatts each.

“It is a great project, which implies...

Now is the chance to catch up on Dominican films that you missed in the cinemas. The Dominican Film Agency (DGCine) is presenting the films at todocine-todominicana.com

The IX Muestra Todo Cine, Todo Dominicana is online and free.

The mix of movies includes comedies, environmental films, thrillers and dramas.

TCTD

18 September 2020

The Judicial Branch is leading a process to transform justice in these Covid-19 times. The Dominican Republic is following the global change where most hearings will only be in person when there is no other alternative. Most parties will be able to engage virtually or online rather than in person.

It’s already happening here. Supreme Court of Justice presiding judge Luis Henry Molina says that 85% of the hearings have been virtual, 15% have been face-to-face. As a strong backer of online justice, Molina says the virtual system will contribute to updating statistics and monitoring all situations that occur in the judiciary.

He emphasized that connectivity has been improving and that they are helping lawyers with few skills to get on part with the new technological tools. “We turned this pandemic crisis into an advantage,” he said.

Molina gives as an example of...

Leonel Melo / Diario Libre

Chamber of Deputies ratified the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Cariforum States and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The treaty received the positive vote of the deputies on 16 September.

Speaking for the British Chamber of Commerce, Leonel Melo stressed the treaty’s importance to trade relations between both countries. He highlighted the United Kingdom is the largest buyer of Dominican organic bananas.

“The ratification of the agreement represents a great achievement for the present administration and reaffirms its commitment and awareness of the relevance of the relations between both countries, as well as the protection and promotion of Dominican exports and foreign investment,” said Melo who presides the British Chamber of Commerce.

In 2019, organic banana exports to the United Kingdom amounted to...

17 September 2020

Expats continue to back their families in the Dominican Republic. The Central Bank reports that remittances are up for the fourth consecutive month. Remittances in August 2020 were up 22.5% compared to August 2019. Remittances from January to August 2020 are up 7.3% compared to the previous year. Total remittances for the first eight months of the year are US$5.07 billion. This compares to US$4.72 billion in 2019.

Read more in Spanish:

Eduardo Estrella / Diario Libre

The president of the Senate, engineer Rafael Eduardo Estrella Virella declared his patrimony to be RD$17,403,122. Estrella is a former Public Works Minister (1991-1994) and director of Inapa (1990-1991).

San Juan de la Maguana senator Felix Bautista declares the same worth he had presented for his 2016 statement, or RD$30,484,584. Bautista won reelection for San Juan de la Maguana on the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) ticket. After winning, he split to the People’s Force, the party created for the followers of former President Leonel Fernández after he split from the PLD. The US government in 2018 announced that Felix Bautista is one of the first to be designated under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act for engaging in significant acts of corruption in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The senator for El Seibo...

Converse has launched a designer shoe to honor the Mirabal Sisters who were the turning point for the end of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic.

The unisex shoes sell for US$70. The shoe is high-top canvas with all-over jacquard butterfly print. The company reports that an all-over butterfly print on the Chuck Taylor All Star high top honors the brave sisters who legendarily opposed dictatorship.

The “All Star” license plate pulls in the blue and red colors of the Dominican flag.

The customizable inner tongue label reads: “For my beautiful people from…” in Spanish.

Check out the shoes: Converse

Hypebeast ...

The Dominican Republic Tourism Promotion Office in Germany wants to position the Dominican Republic in the minds of European golfers with or without Covid-19. Petra Cruz, director of the office in Germany, is behind the Touristiker Golf Trophy organization as part of the 10-year old Dominican Golf Cup.

For the first time, the tournament will be played in three golf courses in Germany, one in Switzerland and two golf courses in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The final is set for early December 2020.

The free golf series is already being held in Germany. The partners are Dertour and Dertour Golf Club, GGM Gerhardt Golf Marketing and in Switzerland with Golf 4 Companies. The events started on 8 September 2020 in Frankfurt, Golfclub Kronberg eV, on the 10th Münchenbuchsee, Golfpark Moossee (Switzerland). On 16 September, the tournament took place at the Munich, Starnberg Golf...

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #182 reports 615 cases tested positive to PCR tests over the past 24 hours. Some 4,425 first PCR tests were processed for the 16 September deadline, up from 3,921 the previous day. The 14-day average for first PCR tests is at 3,871 PCR tests.

The 24-hour positivity rate for Bulletin #182 dropped to 13.90%, a significant decline from 18.31% in the previous bulletin. The four-week positivity rate continues to decline gradually and is now at 25.95%, reflecting the growing number of PCR tests carried out and the slight reduction in the disease’s spread. Local epidemiologists, nevertheless, alert that the spread of the virus comes and goes.

As per Bulletin #182, with the deadline of 16 September 2020, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 106,136 confirmed cases since the first...

President Luis Abinader used a short address at the end of his first month in government to remind the Dominican people that he intends to keep his promise to combat corruption and impunity in government. He spoke of the Dominican government’s reengineering to eliminate duplicated structures, reduce wasteful spending, and make funds available for urgent needs. “There will not be impunity for those who have embezzled public funds,” he said in closing the five-minute first-month wrap-up that was televised from the Presidential Palace at 8pm on 16 September 2020. Abinader had promised to communicate frequently in contrast to his predecessor, Danilo Medina.

In his address, Abinader mentioned the urgent actions taken to restock to combat Covid-19, including the purchase of more PCR tests. He spoke of efforts to make health insurance available for all Dominicans in the country...

Víctor Rojas, David Collado and Samuel Pereyra / Hoy

The Ministry of Tourism, the Banco de Reservas and Seguros BanReservas signed the agreement for the Dominican Republic Travel Insurance on 16 September 2020. This will provide coverage to up to 400,000 tourists that may visit the Dominican Republic from 16 September to 31 December 2020. The plan provides coverage that could cost the government up to US$1.1 billion.

Administrator of the Banco de Reservas, Samuel Pereyra; Tourism Minister David Collado and the vice president for Seguros Banreservas, Victor Rojas, signed the agreement. The agreement seeks to cover medical expenses and travel arrangements for hotel-staying tourists that visit from now to the end of the year.

The Safe Tourism Assistance Plan is offered at no cost to tourists that stay at a participating hotel. The travel insurance covers...

The talk of the town continues to be the worth statements presented by starting and outgoing government officers.

For the Abinader administration, Vice President Raquel Peña presented her worth statement for RD$289 million, as reported in N Digital.

Higher Education Minister Franklin Fermin declared RD$88.9 million. Education Minister Roberto Fulcar declared RD$49.5 million.

President Danilo Medina delivered his worth statement on Wednesday, 16 September. It is for RD$25,852,949.31, an increase of RD$3,297,520 over the same report submitted in 2016 at the start of Medina’s second term.

Another high-ranking officer in the Medina administration, former Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez also turned in his worth statement. It is for RD$214 million.

Former Vice President Milagros Ortiz Bosch of the Ethics Department of the Presidency said that the...

Former President Danilo Medina is assuming the leadership of the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD). In a recent meeting of the party’s higher up echelons, he set forward several party strategies. Medina is confident the party can do a comeback. “We shake up, remove the dust and hit the streets to win the next one,” said Medina. He motivated his followers to be proud of the great transformations that were accomplished in his two terms in government.

He urged the party to be very active in Congress to establish itself as the leading opposition party. From having practically absolute majority in Congress, the PLD lost the majority in the 5 July 2020 election. The ruling Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) is now majority in both chambers.

An audio was leaked with the remarks by Medina to the PLD members. In it, the former President admits that the party lost because they...

The Second Hall of the Penal Chamber of San Francisco de Macoris, Carminia Caminero approved releasing Marlin Martinez from jail. She was sentenced initially to five years in jail, appealed and got the sentence reduced to two years that she has already served. She initially was accused of complicity in the murder of pregnant 16-year old Emely Peguero. The dreadful circumstances of the murder never were clear. The physician who intervened in the forceful abortion was never tried in court. Martínez’s 18-year old son was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Marlin Martinez was serving her sentence in Rafey Women’s Jail in Santiago. At the time of her arrest, she was the deputy director of the Passports Agency.

When Emely Peguero went missing, Marlin Martínez pleaded for the girl to return. This despite it later proven that she had helped remove the cadaver of the girl.

In November...

Economic Minister Miguel Ceara Hatton openly backed the inclusion of the three grounds for abortion among the Penal Code amendments. He said the executive board of the ruling Modern Revolutionary Party had decided in this regard. The PRM is the majority party in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

Ceara Hatton said the three exceptions for the suspending of a pregnancy are a public health problem. He said the total abortion ban is a perverse source of social segregation.

Ceara Hatton said: “A woman without means gets the worst health assistance when deciding to interrupt a pregnancy, while a woman of means can access the best care.”

He stressed: “If someone considers that it is a sin to suspend the pregnancy for the three causes, that person has all the right to think that way. However, those that oppose the three exceptions do not have the right to prevent the solution...

16 September 2020

The National Police is again sharing its hotline for reporting crime. The Police says any crime victim should visit the nearest police station or use the APP: TuPoliciApp RD. By using the app, the person can send photos, videos or text.

The recommendation comes as the high profile case of TV host Mariasela Alvarez was promptly solved thanks to a surveillance video.

Read more in Spanish:

Attorney General Miriam German removed the La Victoria Jail warden Gilberto Nolasco and all administrative and police officials. She ordered that the Prison Agency’s recently appointed authorities intervene and take direct control of the jail as of 16 September 2020.

The announcement comes after it was known that the assault and subsequent murder of Ruddy Quezada, a Dominican who had won a deal in US jurisdiction for US$14 million in indemnity, was planned from that jail.Attorney General Germán met with Major General Edward Sánchez González of the Police on the removal of all the Police officers assigned to the jail.

Likewise, recently investigative journalist Nuria Piera presented a report by fellow journalist Eiron Lopez on sales of drugs in the jail with the complicity of the staff.

In a press release, the Attorney General Office indicates...

The Ministry of Public Health cleared the start of the Winter Professional Baseball Championship. The tournament usually began in mid-October. The tournament will be played with new health protocols starting 15 November 2020.

Health Minister Plutarco Arias said he reached the agreement with the National Baseball Commissioner Junior Noboa. Six teams will be participating in the 2020-2021 tournament.

Dr. Arias understands that the players are healthy athletes with low vulnerabilities. Nevertheless, the tournament will be played keeping to Covid-19 protocols for baseball. There will not be bubbles, but the players will be concentrated.

“In general terms, I think that with this everybody wins, the country wins and the young people will be developing their professional baseball career,” said the minister.

Likewise, he said that the Ministry of Public Health...

To mark his first month in government, President Luis Abinader announced he will be speaking to the nation live at 8pm this evening. He will be speaking from the Presidential Palace. The Presidency says the focus will be on the actions taken by the government in its first 30 days.

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #181 includes 718 cases reported positive to PCR tests in the past 24 hours. Some 3,921 first PCR tests were processed for the 15 September deadline. The 14-day average for first PCR tests is at 3,826 PCR tests.

The 24-hour positivity rate for Bulletin #181 dropped to 18.31% from 20.19% in the previous bulletin. Over the past four weeks, the positivity rate continues to gradually decline and is now at 26.39%, reflecting the growing number of PCR tests carried out.

As per Bulletin #181, with the deadline of 15 September 2020, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 105,521 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. PCR testing is 41,099 tests per one million inhabitants.

The number of deaths is 2,009, including 11 new deaths reported in the bulletin’s past 24 hours. The...

Dominican law requires that high-ranking government officers present their personal worth statements at the start and end of their terms in government. The law gives the officers 30 days to do so after being sworn in. The Chamber of Accounts extended the period for delivering the worth statements to the end of the month. Among the first to declare are:

President Luis Abinader: RD$4.1 billionHacienda Minister Jochy Vicente: RD$501 millionAgriculture Minister Limber Cruz: RD$434.4 millionPresidency Minister Lisandro Macarrulla: RD$427 millionHealth Minister Plutarco Arias: RD$400 millionPresidency voice Milagros German: RD$186 millionLabor Minister Luis Miguel De Camps: RD$159 millionHigher Education Minister Franklin García Fermín: RD$104.4 millionDefense Minister Carlos Luciano Diaz Morfa: RD$77.1 millionInterior & Police Minister Jesus Vasquez: RD$70.5 millionPublic...

The National Police says Orlando Santos Ramírez (Ariel) also known as Pedro Pablo (Pototo) admitted to the gunpoint assaults he committed on Saturday, 12 September to TV host Mariasela Alvarez and her daughter Rebeca Fernández in Serrallés and less than an hour later to Sheila Paulino, wife of TV and film producer Tuto Guerrero, in Arroyo Hondo. The arrested is accused of the gunpoint robbery of the three women. The robberies occurred from around 12:30 to 1:25pm on Saturday, 12 September 2020. The thief was riding a motorcycle.

During the Serallés robbery, the assailant also fired against a truck that stopped to aid the women. After the truck stopped, the assailant fled with just one handbag. Before doing so, he had fired his gun and the bullet perforated the truck’s passenger door. The robust construction of the truck door protected the driver and the passenger. The driver of...

Tourism Minister David Collado toured the Las Americas, La Romana and Punta Cana international airports on Tuesday, 15 September 2020 for a final review of the protocols for start of the travel insurance plan sponsored by the Dominican government.

On 16 September, the Abinader government kicks off the Responsible Tourism Plan that provides travel insurance to tourists that book stays at hotels and resorts.

During the Covid-19 press conference held on Tuesday, 15 September, Public Health Minister Plutarco Arias explained that tourist arrivals would be subject to temperature tests upon arrivals and clinical observation. The travelers would be randomly tested. He said that those that test positive would be subject to a PCR test. He said isolation for these tourists would be “automatic.” He said the airports have special vehicles for the transfer of the...

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #180 says 693 cases were reported positive to PCR tests in the past 24 hours. Some 3,432 first PCR tests were processed for the 14 September deadline. This is below the 14-day average for first PCR tests that is at 3,769 PCR tests.

The 24-hour positivity rate for Bulletin #180 increased to 20.19 from 16.41% for the previous bulletin. Nevertheless, over the past four weeks, the positivity rate continues to gradually decline and is now at 26.48%.

As per Bulletin #180, with the deadline of 14 September 2020, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 104,803 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. PCR testing is 40,724 tests per million inhabitants.

The number of deaths is 1,998, including 14 new deaths reported in the bulletin’s past 24 hours. The fatality rate is 1.91% over the...

15 September 2020

The Abinader administration announced that it will be using the Public-Private Partnership mechanism under Law 47-20 to build the 35-km short cut from Santiago to Puerto Plata. The route will reduce to half hour the time to get to Puerto Plata from Santiago and brings to just two hours the drive time from capital city, Santo Domingo to Puerto Plata.

The Cibao Ecological Society (Soeci) says it needs to review the environmental impact study before giving its opinion on the new express road. Belgica Rodríguez, vice president for the environmental ONG, says that the road would need to cut through the northern mountain rain and the Septentrional fault.

Read more in Spanish:

Altice Triple Play clients are getting access to Netflix. This applies to already paying clients and to those who sign-on. The company has different plans. Altice is the main competitor to Claro.

Altice had signed the agreement with Netflix in 2017 to offer its clients in France, Portugal, Israel and the Dominican Republic.

15 September 2020

15 September 2020

The Punta Cana area is gradually getting back to normal. The Barceló Bávaro Grand Resort announced it has honed the protocols for reopening its Casino Bávaro and its The Lakes Barceló Golf Course. These were among the few remaining facilities not to be open at the multi-hotel complex in central Punta Cana. Barceló Bávaro Grand Resort never closed when airports were shut down in March 2020. The hotel continued operating servicing guests in the area

Read more in Spanish:

Mariasela Alvarez is a graduate in architecture who after winning Miss World (1982) chose to make a career as a TV host in Spain and the Dominican Republic. Curfew has increased the audience for the interviews on timely topics she delivers from 8 to 9pm, Monday to Thursday on Channel 9.

On Saturday, 13 September she and her daughter were assaulted at gunpoint in Ensanche Serallés in a central residential area in Santo Domingo. On her Monday TV show Alvarez told the story. The Police arrested the assailant. The thief stole her daughter’s purse that was later recovered.

The thief ran off. An hour later, in a nearby area he assaulted TV producer Tuto Guerrero. Both Mariasela Alvarez and Tuto Guerrero vowed to press charges.

As a follow up, Alvarez announced a round table on crime and what the authorities are doing to change the situation. The snag is...

A wrongfully convicted man who won around US$14 million after settling his case against New York City was murdered in Las Caobas, Santo Domingo on Friday, 11 September 2020. 57-year old Ruddy Quezada was enjoying his wealth and was known to flaunt his turn of fortune after spending 24 years in jail for the murder he didn’t commit. Quezada wore gold chains making him a target of bandits.

The Dominican Police announced the arrest of two now accused of the murder. The Police say the crime was planned by Jamel Santana Fajardo who is in jail at La Victoria for murder and his brother, Rene Moreta, who worked at a car wash where the victim routinely washed his car.

The case brings back into the open the flexibility for inmates to access cell phones in many Dominican jails, including the infamous La Victoria. The Abinader government has called back in jail expert Robert...

The new Customs Agency director Eduardo Sanz has been busy cutting wasteful spending at the department. Sanz says the department has orders to reduce taxes to help businesses survive Covid-19 pandemic and thousands of others that paid taxes are now being imported tax-free. He says taxes are down 40% mainly due to less imports as people are avoiding shopping for non-essential items.

In an interview with Pablo McKinney for his TV talk show, Sanz tells how he noticed RD$400,000 was budgeted for coffee mixing sticks. He noted that his coffee was never served with the mixers, and then toured several other offices and these too were using metal spoons, not stick mixers. He told his purchasing department to make sure no more mixers were purchased!

Sanz says his staff has been able to cut RD$55 million in a quick revision of spending at the DGA. He said the DGA is carrying out a...

Xiomara Guante / El Jaya

The president of the Dominican Association of Public School Teachers (ADP), Xiomara Guante says she backed the naming of new regional directors because former Education Minister Andres Navarro handpicked many of the past directors. She understands the contest held in 2018 was plagued by irregularities. She has told local media that many of those chosen went on to become key players in Navarro’s campaign for the presidential candidacy of the then ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD).

She responded to statements by former Education Minister Andres Navarro who said the relocating of the 18 regional directors to other positions in the Ministry after these were chosen in the past contest for five years is a blow to the instutionality at the Ministry of Education.

“What institutionality? In 2017, I supported his [Andres Navarro] decision to hold a competition...

Santo Domingo Motors is celebrating its 100th anniversary this 2020 with the best deal for purchasing a vehicle in these Covid-19 virus times. The company is offering a 100-month financing plan at a fixed rate of 10% a year and free maintenance up to 100,000 kilometers.

In an interview with Diario Libre, Miguel Barletta, president of the Ambar Group and Aníbal Rodríguez, vice president of Santo Domingo Motors, reminisced that when the company started in 1920, only three vehicles were sold that year. Today, Santo Domingo Motors has 20% of the new vehicle market in the country. It has branches in Puerto Rico, Cuba and Venezuela.

Barletta says his grandfather founded the company almost by accident. He said his grandfather was an Italian immigrant who initially went to Puerto Rico where he had relatives. From there, he decided to travel to Venezuela, but the...

Valentín Medrano Peña, Julio Miguel Cury, José Martínez Hoepelman and Eduardo Jorge Prats were hired separately as counsel to the Attorney General Office under Jean Alain Rodriguez. These agreed by contract on 17 March 2020 to provide “free counsel” to the Attorney General regarding the contest to name new prosecutors called by the Superior Council of the Public Ministry on 7 February 2020. Today adjunct Prosecutor Yeni Berenice Reynoso at the time led a movement to dispute the selection process of new adjuncts and prosecutors.

Acento reports on how the “free counsel contracts” have a clause that obliged the new authorities to pay a RD$5 million fine to each of the lawyers, if their services were rescinded before 31 December 2023.The contracts have a clause that impedes the Attorney General Office from hiring other counsel for the same case.

It is now reported in Acento that...

Historically September is the peak time for hurricanes in the Caribbean. Yet this 2020 there is only one more name on the list of names published by the National Hurricane Center. 20 named storms have come our way. Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy and Vicky were named in the past seven days. Only Wilfred remains on the 2020 Atlantic Tropical Names list.

Early on the year, the University of Colorado and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had forecast 2020 would be one of the most active seasons in the past two decades. On 5 August, the NOAA forecast there would be 19 to 25 named storms. Named storms are those with winds of 38 mph (61km/h) or greater. Of these 7-11 are forecast to become hurricanes or one that has winds of 74mph (119km/h) or greater. The hurricane season ends 30 November.

Historically, in the Dominican Republic, all hurricanes have...

Now under new authorities, the Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #179 has yet to get anywhere near its announced objective of 7,000 PCR tests per day. For Bulletin #179, 2,743 persons came out positive with their PCR test. This is below the past 14-day average of number of first PCR tests that is at 3,676 PCR tests.

The positivity rate over the past four weeks continues to gradually decline and is now at 26.53%. The 24-hour positivity rate for Bulletin #179 is 16.41%.

As per Bulletin #179, with the deadline of 13 September 2020, 450 new confirmed cases are reported. The Ministry of Public Health has registered 104,110 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. The PCR testing is 40,395 tests per million inhabitants. The number of deaths is 1,984, including 16 new deaths reported in the past 24 hours of the...

From Friday to Sunday, President Luis Abinader visited Santiago, the second-largest city in the Dominican Republic, for meetings with the community and his cabinet. He had a very full schedule.

President Luis Abinader held a press conference at the Hotel Gran Almirante at the end of his three-day work weekend in Santiago.

He announced that he would establish a “government house” in Santiago to be able to better identify the priorities of the area. Over the weekend he held the first cabinet meeting in Santiago, reviewing actions taken by his government in its first 25 days in office.

During his visit, Abinader toured the three leading public hospitals in the city that have been under remodeling for years. These are the Cabral y Baez, the Presidente Estrella Ureña and the Dr. Arturo Grullon Children’s Regional Hospital. After seeing the remodeling works...

As part of his three-day visit to Santiago province, President Luis Abinader approved the project to construct the Amber Highway in a public-private partnership. The road will reduce the connection time between Puerto Plata and the rest of the country, generating employment and benefits to various economic sectors.

President Abinader assuaged concerns regarding private participation in road construction. He pointed out that the alliance with the private sector would not include “shadow tolls,” the overt mechanism that has made so costly the concession the Leonel Fernández government signed for the construction of the Samana toll road. Due to the Samana contract with the private builders, tolls to Samana are at around RD$2,000 compared to around RD$300 for traveling a similar distance to Punta Cana from Santo Domingo. The high cost of the tolls has...

Federico Dominguez, the president of the Dominican Free Zone Association (Adozona) called for government support in short term funding to create 11 million square feet of new manufacturing space as a major step in encouraging industrial consolidation and expansion in Santiago. The request was made during meetings with Industry & Commerce Minister Victor (Ito) Bisonó in Santiago. The minister was in Santiago for cabinet meeting with President Abinader who was on a three-day visit to the province last weekend.

The Santiago Free Zone Corporation (CZFS) and the Association of Santiago Free Zone Companies (AEZFS) met with Industry & Commerce Minister Victor Bisonó to discuss difficulties to doing business and present solutions to promote the nation’s economic recovery.

Luis Jose Bonilla, the AEZFS president, told the minister that the northern region...

With Decree No. 466-20, the Abinader administration creates a multi-sector committee to work out the country brand strategy and prepare the campaign to launch the Dominican Republic country brand. On the committee is President Luis Abinader, the ministers of Tourism, Foreign Relations, Industry & Commerce, Culture and the director of the Center for Export and Investment (CEI-RD). Named to the committee for the private sector are: Ligia Bonetti, Rafael Blanco, Carlos Marti, Manuel Pozo Perello, Paola Reinieri, Juan B. Vicini Lluberes, Pedro Brache, Hector Jose Risek, Fernando Capellan, Circe Almanzar and Celso Jose Marranzini.

The committee’s main task is to map out the strategy to implement a country brand campaign. To get things going, Abinader created a US$4.0 million fund promotion and management.

Read more in...

In a meeting with the Tourism Cabinet, before leaving for Santiago, President Luis Abinader asked hoteliers to reopen for business around 1 October to get the sector back on the road to success.

The President noted that the Dominican Ministry of Foreign Relations has strengthened the country ties with the United States, the “country’s most strategic ally.”

He noted that the Ministry of Health has sufficient tests to maintain a strict control at airports and hotels. As of 16 September 2020, the Ministry of Public Health will issue statistical reports on the spread of the disease in tourism destinations to better manage it.

As of 16 September, tourists booked for stays in Dominican hotels falling ill with Covid-19 will be covered by travel insurance paid by the Dominican government.

Paola Rainieri, president of the National Hotels & Tourism Association...

From Qatar, Dominican ambassador Federico Cuello reports on advances in conversations for the start of a direct flight from Qatar. Cuello says that His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Than wants Qatar Airlines to serve as the flight of choice to make Asian tourism a reality.

Cuello explained the embassy commissioned a study with financing from the Ministry of Tourism on direct flights from Qatar to the Dominican Republic. The study revealed that the flight would be more attractive than the 11 existing connections at comparable distances.

“Qatar should be the Dominican port of transshipment for Asian tourism and the Dominican Republic should be the logistical center for Qatar in the Americas,” is the conclusion.

Thierry Antinori, chief strategy and transformation officer for Qatar Airways, attended the meeting. He was accompanied by the airline’s senior...

For the fourth month in a row, remittances have increased by double digits compared to the same month in 2019. This is a major plus in these Covid-19 times when foreign exchange levels suffer from the collapse of the tourism industry. Tourism revenues are estimated to have declined more than US$3.5 billion from January to August 2020.

The Central Bank of the Dominican Republic reports that remittances were US$769.9 million as of August 2020, 22.5% more than for the same month in 2019.

This value includes pocket remittances of US$37.9 million, those brought by Dominican travelers from abroad, who were among the first to come after airports reopened on 1 July following the shutdown in March.

The Central Bank highlights that for the period January-August 2020 the flow of remittances that has entered the country reached US$5,072.5 million. This is US$346.4 million (7.3%)...

The National Observatory for Consumer Protection has announced that it will file a recourse of the unconstitutionality regarding the government signing for public-private partnerships for water services. The Abinader government has announced it is looking into using mechanisms within the Public-Private Partnership Law 47-20 to build aqueducts.

The Observatory is concerned that the recently passed PPP Law 47-20 together with the proposed Water Bill, approved in July by the Senate and currently in the Chamber of Deputies, are paving the way for the privatization of water supply in the country. Aqueducts in the Dominican Republic have always been government-owned and operated.

The group says that the Constitution establishes that water supply is a public resource. It mentions United Nations Resolution 64/292 declared water to be a human right as are life, liberty and property...

The Central Bank of the Dominican Republic says annual inflation is just at 3.12%, with a near 1% increase in August (0.78%). The Central Bank explained that increases in the cost of transportation, food, non-alcoholic beverages and housing had fueled the inflation rate. There were variations in health services (0.91%), diverse goods and services and education to a lesser degree.

There was a 1.51% variation in the Consumer Price Index, with bus fares, motoconchos, and public cars all increasing fares. According to the Central Bank, these increases are a delayed reaction to increases in fuel prices between May and June.

The 0.72% increase in the Consumer Price Index is mainly due to increases in the prices of many staples in the family basket. The 1% increase in the housing sector is due to higher prices of propane and paint. Health costs were upped by increased costs for some heart medicines...

14 September 2020

From April to June 2019, there were 496 traffic fatalities. For the same period this year, there were 332 fatalities. While still a stupidly high number, the 2020 tally is 164 fewer deaths compared to 2019. According to the Ground Transportation and Traffic Safety Agency (Digesett), the reason for this decrease in road deaths is the nationwide lockdown in place since 17 March as part of the national effort to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

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The former president of the Dominican Association of Public School Teachers (ADP), María Teresa Cabrera is critical of the National Council of Education (CNE) decision to appoint new regional directors.

“I believe that the decision taken by the National Council of Education, is not good. It does not help the purposes of improving the quality of education and it seems to me that it does not correspond to the intention and efforts shown by President Luis Abinader to offer more and better public education to this people,” said the teacher’s leader.

She affirmed that this resolution contradicts the commitments signed in the Education Pact 2014-2030. She says it is “very grave” that the highest body of education in the country has adopted a resolution contrary to the General Education Law 66/97 and the consensus that had been reached.

In a meeting last Friday...

Wilson Camacho, the new head of the office of the Special Prosecutors for Administrative Corruption (Pepca), has stated that he will carry out all of the necessary investigations into government payments for the controversial RD$11.5 billion in asphalt contracts. The agreements were signed by PLD presidential candidate Gonzalo Castillo when he was minister of Public Works. The payments were made in the days just before the change in government.

During a meeting with former Vice President Milagros Ortiz Bosch and Carlos Pimentel, who head the government Ethics and Procurement offices, respectively, together with prosecution head, Yeni Berenice Reynoso, Camacho said that the Justice Department has a firm commitment to fight corruption. The prosecution of corruption in the past Fernandez and Medina governments was practically inexistent.

The cases regarding the...

As of the Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #178 the objective of 7,000 PCR tests per day had not yet been reached. 2,773 first time PCR tests are reported in the bulletin. The 24-hour positivity rate is 20.48%. The positivity rate over the past four weeks is still at 26.62%.

As per Bulletin #178, with the deadline of 12 September 2020, 568 new confirmed cases are reported. The Ministry of Public Health has registered 103,660 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. The PCR testing is 40,133 tests per million inhabitants. The number of deaths is 1,968, including 15 new deaths reported in the past 24 hours of the bulletin. The fatality rate is 1.90% over the past four weeks.

The Ministry of Public Health is no longer giving the numbers of persons hospitalized. The report indicates that 27% of the total...

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