Thanksgiving AmCham lunch: US Chargé d’Affaires praises efforts made to fight corruption and foster growth in the DR

The Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic, Robert Thomas, used the platform of the American Chamber of Commerce traditional Thanksgiving luncheon to acknowledge: “It is in America’s national interest to see the Dominican Republic succeed.” The top-ranking officer at the US Embassy in the Dominican Republic stated that the United States’ overarching objective is to support the development of a secure, democratic and prosperous Dominican Republic.

“The United States wholeheartedly believes that we are more secure and prosperous when we work together with successful, strong, and likeminded partners such as the Dominican Republic to advance our shared interests so as to create an environment in which all our citizens can thrive,” he stated.

The statement is made at a time the Dominican government has urged support from the United States to ensure that the security, political, economic and social crisis in Haiti is tackled successfully.

In his speech on the occasion of the most important American holiday, Thomas encouraged the Dominican government to continue the fight against corruption and strengthening government institutions saying this is key to maintaining confidence in the investment climate in the country. He stressed the country is taking leadership in combatting authoritarianism, which he sees as a major scourge worldwide.

“…I would contend that Covid is not the most significant epidemic we face today – there’s another one that is going to be ultimately more relevant to the trajectory of history when the textbooks are written years from now. The rising tide of authoritarianism – aided and abetted by a culture of corruption and a lack of full inclusion in our political and economic systems – is the great challenge of our times.

“But when I look around the world and around the region, what I see here in the Dominican Republic gives me great hope. All of the ingredients for a cure to this threat are here. The United States is partnering with the ascendant democracies of the world – like the Dominican Republic – who have the potential to lead a revitalization of the democratic, rules-based order.”

Thomas called on the political and business leadership to continue to fight corruption and implement reforms to end impunity so that the country can strengthen its economy and establish itself as a leader in the region and an example of democracy.

He said “the Dominican Republic stands poised not to simply uphold the desires of its citizens for transparent and honest government – but to surge ahead as the region’s leader and exemplar of democracy, justice, transparency, and a strong, stable economy.”

“We celebrate the efforts made by the administration of President Abinader’s government to maintain an attractive, stable and predictable investment climate in the Dominican Republic. Transparency and zero tolerance for corruption are absolutely essential to attracting and keeping US investors and businesses in the Dominican Republic. We look forward to working closely with President Abinader’s government in pursuit of vital institutional reforms that will not only deter criminal activity and corruption, but also promote economic prosperity and confidence in the Dominican Republic’s investment climate,” he told the audience of business people.

Thomas spoke of the United States government support to the passing of a bill that would enable the forfeiture of assets illicitly obtained through corruption or drug trafficking. “We are also working with the government on asset forfeiture legislation so that the government can reclaim stolen assets, from criminals and corrupt officials, so that being a criminal does not pay. We support these reforms, and others, because we are confident that they will advance transparency, security and economic prosperity for years to come,” he said.

The diplomat spoke of US support to the Abinader administration in its efforts to build strong and resilient public institutions through institutional reform. He stressed that “well-functioning institutions, where officials are held accountable under a robust legal framework, and where watchdogs are empowered to investigate wrongdoing, are critical to protecting the country against future corruption and encouraging foreign investments.”

He said High-Level Dialogues are maintained with the Dominican government focused on strengthening institutions, so that corruption is less likely not just under this administration, but in governments of the future, too. He said the dialogues are giving priority to public procurement reform so that the fraud and bribery that has plagued public procurement in the past does not repeat itself. He said the US is supporting the transformation of the national police so that police follow a system of rules and protocols that are consistent with international best practices, and where police who engage in wrongdoing are held accountable.

During his presentation, Thomas highlighted the collaboration between the governments of the United States and the Dominican Republic in the areas of security, trade, education, health and development.

Furthermore, he spoke of US$298 million in Dominican public health in the last 20 years and that in the coming year it will work together with the Ministry of Public Health to strengthen epidemiological surveillance at the national and provincial levels to improve data-based decision making; train health workers in Covid-19 care, support vaccination campaigns, among others.

Read more in Spanish:
US Embassy

Listin Diario
El Caribe

25 November 2021