Daily News

Daily News - Thursday, 28 April 2016 (Archived Daily News)

Guillermo Moreno presents proposals
(Image courtesy of alianzapais.com.do)

New highway to Ocoa from Bonao

Yesterday, Wednesday 27 April 2016 President Danilo Medina inaugurated the stretch of highway that links Piedra Blanca in the central province of Monsignor Nouel (Bonao) with Rancho Arriba in the southwestern province of San Jose de Ocoa.

The new 29 km road, which goes via Juan Adrian, was built as the second of a three-phase mountain circuit that will link the Cibao region with the southwest.

The two-lane highway is designed for moderate speeds of between 30 and 60 km an hour and includes a third lane on hills in order to prevent delays caused by slow-moving vehicles.

Minister of Public Works Gonzalo Castillo told reporters that over 120 drainpipes and 32 bridges and support walls were used in the construction. Once completed, travelers will be able to get from Santiago to San Jose the Ocoa, Azua, the far southwest and San Juan de la Maguana without having to cross Santo Domingo and San Cristobal, meaning significant savings in time and fuel.

Roberto Rosario: How politics boosts the economy

Speaking at yesterday's American Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Wednesday 27 April 2016, Central Electoral Board (JCE) president Roberto Rosario stressed the influence political campaigns have on the Dominican economy. He said that the leading candidates' presidential campaigns would be spending between RD$1 and RD$1.5 billion.

He said that a political party spends RD$200 million on its closing campaign events. Campaigning in the Dominican Republic ends on 12 May, after which citizens are given two days to decide for whom to vote, free from the political oversaturation of the campaigning period.

Rosario denied that the political campaign causes a contraction of the economy, as reported in Diario Libre.

Rosario said that the JCE is spending RD$3.49 billion directly on the electoral process. On 15 May 2016, Dominicans will vote for 4,106 public posts at the presidential, legislative and municipal levels. A total of 24,296 candidates who seek to convince almost 6.8 million voters are running for election and voting will take place at 4,381 centers.



Navarro to head CELAC disaster meeting

Foreign Relations Minister Andres Navarro is heading the opening ceremony of the High-Level Working Group Meeting on Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management sponsored by the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) being held today, Thursday 28 and tomorrow Friday 29 April 2016 at the Barcelo Santo Domingo Hotel (former Lina) in Santo Domingo. According to a press release from the Ministry, the regional meeting is being held in the framework of the agenda of the temporary presidency of CELAC currently held by the Dominican Republic.

The highest-ranking officials working in the area of disaster risk management from the regional organization's 33 member countries are taking part. They will analyze issues such as international humanitarian assistance mechanisms, taking into account the Paris Agreement on Climate Change adopted in December 2015. The specific items for discussion include proposals to reduce disaster risk and improve humanitarian assistance as well as support for rebuilding countries affected by disasters.

Guillermo Moreno presents proposals

Speaking on TV on Tuesday, 26 April 2016, Alianza Pais presidential candidate Guillermo Moreno proposed to change the Dominican model of government from one that encourages political patronage through the creation of public sector jobs to one that promotes the productive sector to ensure private sector job creation. He said he would promote a revolution in the economic system to improve quality of life for Dominicans. Moreno said he would promote a fiscal reform that would ensure that the haves, and not the have nots are the ones who bear the tax burden. He said his government would have zero tolerance for corruption and would implement a budgetary reform to improve efficiency of government spending.

"I will establish four-year goals and divide them into in four-year objectives in relation to the national goals in several areas, then redefine the budget chapters so they can guarantee quality of spending," he told the national audience. He said that his administration would seek to guarantee the right to work for Dominicans, and to ensure that society has mechanisms to control government officials.

The AP candidate said that a key priority for his government would be citizen safety, which would entail transforming the existing Police force into a civilian body and improving the quality of life of its agents. He said the same had to be done with the prosecuting arm of government with the application of the law. He said that the prosecuting arm should be independent from the President and said that judges ought to be chosen for their merits and qualifications.

He said that in his government, police agents would make a minimum of RD$20,000 a month. Moreno said he would focus on attacking the root causes of crime, which he cited as the lack of jobs and education for young people.

Commenting on the health sector, he said he would focus on preventive health programs and improving wages for health staff. He favored more homes for senior citizens.

Guillermo Moreno appeared in the "The Candidates' Proposals" TV program, organized by the Corripio media group and transmitted by Telesistema (Channel 11) and TeleAntillas (Channel 2) as well as several radio shows.

Abinader proposes government overhaul

Luis Abinader, running for the PRM opposition party, says that if he is elected President on 15 May 2016 he will carry out a complete overhaul of government in support of job creation, a 40% reduction in power rates, improved quality of education, creating the conditions for an independent prosecution service and justice, as well as banning presidential re-election. He advocated for an associative model to support small and medium-sized business, doubling government social programs, ending monopolies, pushing for primary medical care centers and prioritizing citizen safety.

Abinader was speaking to a TV audience of Telesistema (Channel 11), and Teleantillas (Channel 2) that was also transmitted on radio yesterday evening, Wednesday 27 April 2016 as part of the Corripio media group presidential candidate presentations.

Abinader also favors starting to dismantle the current transport monopoly, and increasing collective transport.

He stressed that his government would focus on programs for women as part of its push to fight poverty. "The face of poverty in the Dominican Republic is female; the single woman who lives in our rural areas," he said.

He said he would implement a fiscal reform to reduce taxation rates.

The PRM candidate said he would boost tourism in the southwestern province of Barahona with a free trade port and a multi-modal tourism port. He said he would maintain the 4% of GDP for education and would back a program to provide a laptop to each student. Luis Abinader said more efficient spending would result in savings of RD$6.2 billion, which would be used to fight crime and increase police agents' wages to US$500 each with housing plans.

Abinader said his government would focus on clean energy production instead of coal-fired power generation, a major project being promoted by the Medina administration.

He favored promoting a free trade agreement with Haiti while strengthening border security.

He said that he believed the JCE should carry out a manual vote count in addition to the electronic count.


Giuliani says DR public safety is dysfunctional

Former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani says that the Dominican public safety system is dysfunctional and needs a complete restructuring. Speaking at the presentation of the public safety program requested by PRM presidential candidate Luis Abinader yesterday, Wednesday 27 April 2016, Giuliani said: "Corruption must be eliminated from the top to the bottom. If corruption is not eliminated from the top levels it cannot be eliminated from the lower levels."

The former mayor said that a computer system was needed to collect the statistics and create a map where the police can see where the crimes are being committed.

He stated: "This country has too many crimes against women that are ignored and which should be changed with a specialized victims unit." He said that the cause of death should only be established by a forensic pathologist, and that there should be drug tests for the police, as well as laws that ban arms from being owned by people with mental problems.

Giuliani underlined the need to create a DNA databank, citing as an example the fact that in the United States as many as 10% of the cases are solved using this system.

Guiliani was invited to visit and study Dominican security issues by PRM presidential candidate Luis Abinader.


Asonahores says hotel needs to abide laws

In a written statement, the National Hotel & Restaurant Association (Asonahores) says that while it backs the construction of the Hard Rock Hotel in Santo Domingo, it maintains that any project needs to fulfill the established regulations. In an interview published by Diario Libre yesterday, Wednesday 27 April 2016 Asonahores executive vice president Arturo Villanueva admitted there were violations in the construction, while pointing out that some of the schools in the area that have joined the protest against the hotel and casino construction are also in violation of the regulations.

In the written statement, Asonahores president Simon Suarez says that the entity has always promoted the fulfillment of laws and regulations among its members and the sector. "In the case of the Hard Rock Santo Domingo project, considering the importance of the planned investment and the value of the brand, we are sure that any misunderstanding will be cleared up and everything will be done according to the laws and regulations and there will be dialogue with the community about their concerns."

Community representatives have objected to the construction of a 23,000 square meter casino, which would be the largest in the country, saying it will bring prostitution and an increase in crime to the area that is both residential and commercial.


Green Action warns of drying rivers

The Green Action Foundation president has told reporters from Diario Libre that the rivers surrounding the city of Constanza could disappear as a result of deforestation and extraction of construction material from riverbeds in the area.

Nelson Bautista warned that the rivers are in a "sudden death" situation due to the intensive felling of trees and the misuse of wetlands in the watersheds of the small rivers.

Bautista made the wry observation that "the attacks against the environment in Constanza are being fought by commissions composed of officials of the 15th rank who investigate the complaints."

He revealed that the deforestation and plowing of these high-altitude lands takes place at night and over the weekends.

He also complained of the deafening noise of dozens of water pumps that run for seemingly endless hours.

The environmental advocate told reporters that it was sad to see the bare hillsides resulting from erosion as well as the blighted soil of failed crops and used up land. He said there is no way to hide the "ecological tragedy" of Constanza, and that they require firm decisions in order to face the challenges.

Transport cartels reject removal of "conchos"

Many of the country's transport cartels as well shared taxi drivers have described the recent proposal made by CONATRA for the authorities to remove some 40,000 junk vehicles from the roads of Greater Santo Domingo and Santiago as "inconsiderate and antidemocratic." Drivers on many of the main routes in Santo Domingo, along Winston Churchill, Bolivar, San Martin, 27 Febrero, Maximo Gomez and Duarte avenues rejected the accusation that the "anarchy and vehicular disorder existing in public transportation are caused by the conchos (shared taxis)."

Alfredo Pulinario Linares (Cambita), the president of one of the associations, said that more than 22,000 cars are affiliated to his organization. He told reporters from El Nacional newspaper that it is a blatant lie that conchos are the cause of the disorder and traffic jams in the National District and Greater Santo Domingo.


DR to export fertilized eggs to Venezuela

The fact that last year the Dominican Republic was declared free of avian flu will begin to bear fruit when the country begins to export fertilized eggs to Venezuela, according to an announcement made by the Minister of Agriculture Angel Estevez yesterday, Wednesday 27 April 2016. The minister did not specify the quantities that would be exported but he did stress that this was an important step for the country. The minister also spoke about the restrictions on ground transportation to Haiti for transport of goods that still affect 23 top export products.

Be careful on Las Americas Highway

According to a report released yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 27 April 2016, a total of 36 people have lost their lives and another 60 have been seriously injured on the Las Americas Highway over the last 16 months.

Excess speed, recklessness, motorcycle racing, lack of illumination and the poor condition of some stretches of the expressway are the main factors that lead to accidents and bring tragedy to so many families.

The most recent fatal accident occurred on 25 April 2016, when a passenger bus from Boca Chica plunged into the sea and in which lawyer Paola Restituyo Arias lost her life. She was returning from her graduation from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo accompanied by her 14-year-old daughter when a small bus crashed into her private vehicle. Nine other people were hurt in the accident.

Jazz at Puerto Plata's central park

As part of the International Jazz Day celebrations, jazz musicians in the Dominican Republic are holding a jazz concert at the Plaza Independencia (Central Park) in Puerto Plata city. Pengbian Sang & Retro Jazz and the Sandy Gabriel Big Band (with Anthony Jefferson as special guest) will be playing in the free concert this Saturday, 30 April 2016 as of 9pm.

Jazz at Agora Mall

Several jazz groups will be playing at the Agora Mall in Santo Domingo to mark International Jazz Day this Saturday, 30 April 2016. From 5:30pm at the Central Atrium. Free.

Read more about upcoming events at http://www.dr1.com/calendar

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