Home  Message Archive  2015  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998  Premium News Service


Daily News - 20 January 1998

News on the DR One daily news service
Readers, please note that the DR One daily will not be published tomorrow, 21 January, Día de la Altagracia, a national holiday honoring the Virgin Mary. Important news over this period will be compiled for the Thursday, 22 January report.

Kissinger could help resolve Smith-Enron conflict
Hoy headlined that President Leonel Fernández took advantage of the Christmas visit of former U.S. Secretary of State and business consultant, Henry Kissinger, to explain the case of the Smith-Enron power plant. Kissinger is an advisor to Enron, a major energy consortium located in Houston. A former U.S. soldier, Donald Mitchell Smith, formed an alliance with Enron to win a concession from the Balaguer administration for the installation and sale of energy to the state electricity utility, Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad. The contract is onerous to the state. Clauses such as that the state has to pay for installed capacity and not energy supplied affect the CDE. The plant has produced well under its 185,000 installed capacity since its first days of operation and has been out of service on countless occasions.
In the meeting, President Fernández was said to have requested that Kissinger intercede with Enron on behalf of the Dominican government. Hoy newspaper reports that it is likely that a team from Enron in Houston will visit the country in three weeks to inspect the Puerto Plata plant.
Hoy reported that Mitchel Smith, who was given the concession by the Balaguer government, formed a company in the British Virgin Islands under the name of Smith Cogeneration International. The company was granted the concession which was signed on 26 July 1993 by its administrator, engineer Marcos Subero. On 2 November of the same year the contract was modified, granting additional benefits to the firm.
On 31 August 1994, with the approval of the CDE, Mitchel Smith ceded his contract to Smith-Enron Cogeneration Limited Partnership, a company established in Turks & Caicos Island.
On 13 August 1996, the CDE described as a "fiasco" the contract signed between the CDE and Smith-Enron, which called for the construction and operation of a combined cycle power plant in Puerto Plata. The CDE has stated repeatedly that the Smith-Enron plant is its big headache for its unreliable supply of power to the state electricity grid.

Construction of first overpass starts next week
The Ministry of Public Works announced that excavations for the overpasses over the Winston Churchill Avenue will begin next week. Work is advancing on the expansion to 10 lanes from Tiradentes to Núñez de Cáceres section of the avenue that crosses Santo Domingo east to west. The overpasses are estimated to cost RD$100 million.

New highway will bypass entrance to San Pedro de Macorís
The Ministry of Public Works announced it will begin the construction of a San Pedro de Macorís bypass highway. A new bridge would also be built. The works, to be financed by the World Bank, will be a major relief for drivers who today need to cut through the congestioned center of the city to travel to La Romana, when going East, or West to Las Americas International Airport on the way to Santo Domingo.

Use of seat belts could become obligatory
The use of seat belts in cars could soon become obligatory. The Minister of Public Health, Dr. Altagracia Guzmán Marcelino, said that she has begun talks with police chief, Major General José Aníbal Sanz Jiminián, to enforce the use of the seat belt. Statistics show that 75% of the population does not use them. She says the Ministry is preparing a bill to be introduced in Congress that would make the use of seat belts legal, as well as protective helmets for motorcycle drivers and passengers. The awareness of the benefits of using seat belts has increased after the untimely deaths of popular music performer Jayson González and baseball player José Oliva.

Telecommunications bill to be vetoed
President Leonel Fernández met with telecommunications companies and explained that he would veto the telecommunications bill passed by Congress amidst irregularities. The President met with executives of Codetel, Tricom, All American Cables, and representatives of radio and television stations to explain the Executive Branch position.
The President will submit a new bill to Congress in which he says there are no privileges granted. For congressmen to override the President's veto, the Senate must pass it with the vote of 20 senators; the Chamber of Deputies needs the approval of 80 of the 120 deputies. Congress resumes work sessions on 27 February.

Street value of dollar remains high
Despite the injection of US$40 million into the foreign exchange market, the cost of the dollar versus the peso continued high.
The Monetary Board of the Central Bank will meet today to study the case. Economists say that the peso is overvalued in relation to the dollar. Banks have been known to sell dollars for RD$14.75 (some 30 cents from last year's RD$14.35 price), but the purchase price remains stagnant at RD$13.90-RD$14.00. Street vendors offer more pesos per dollar than in commercial banks, but the spread is not worth the risks of buying money on the street.

Samaná airport could be in operation by March
Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez said that in two more months the Arroyo Barril International Airport of Samaná will be ready to receive flights. Felix Jiménez spoke in Samaná, where he traveled to sign an agreement with the Asociación de Dueños de Barcos de la Bahía de Samaná, Dirección Nacional de Parques, Marina de Guerra and the Centro para la Conservación y Ecodesarrollo de la Bahía on the correct ways to observe the whales during their mating period in the Samana Bay. 

Book gathers proposals for development
A document containing development proposals made by different sectors during the past decade was placed into circulation yesterday in an event presided over by President Leonel Fernández. The book has 3,134 proposals made in 301 documents, making it an obliged reference book for those interested in development programs for the country. A government team is in charge of presenting a unified proposal on 20 February to the members of the National Dialogue group that unites representatives from different political, social and economic sectors in the interest of developing a consensus for a National Agenda. The National Dialogue group will meet 23, 24 and 25 February at the National Palace.

PRD reaffirms candidacy of Peña Gómez for mayor
The Political Committee of the PRD decided last night to publicly admonish engineer Julio Maríñez, a precandidate for mayor, for "inappropriate comments". Maríñez had complained that Peña Gómez violated party statutes imposing his candidacy. The Political Committee confirmed Dr. José Francisco Peña Gómez as the party's candidate for mayor. With the ratification, the PRD rejected the suggestion of holding a new convention made by Dr. Peña Gómez. The commission is made up by Milagros Ortíz Bosch, Ivelisse Prats-Ramírez, Tony Raful, Fafa Taveras, Raymundo Tirado and Rafael Gamundi Cordero and presided by Hatuey Decamps, secretary general of the party. Peña Gómez sent the letter from New York City where he traveled for his periodical medical checkup. Peña Gómez suffers from cancer of the pancreas, but his physicians at the Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center of New York City have given him the green light for the political campaign.

U.S. vs. D.R. in volleyball friendship series
The national volleyball teams from the United States and the Dominican Republic initiate today a series of five games at the volleyball pavilion of the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center. The Dominican team is ranked 15th in the world, the U.S. team is 9th. Stars of the U.S. team are Allison Weston, Salima Davidson and Karrie Downey, world ranked. Mick Halley is the team's coach. The U.S. team is preparing for the eliminatory round on 28 January in San Antonio, Texas, against Puerto Rico, Mexico and Trinidad Tobago, as they move on to the World Volleyball Games in Japan this August. On the 19th of February, the D.R. will match the second place winner of that event. The Dominican team will train alongside the U.S. team. The Dominican team won against the Canadian selection in the pre-world games held here last November.

Licey vs. Aguilas in baseball finals
The Licey Tigers defeated the Escogido Lions 4-3, and the Aguilas defeated the Estrellas 6-5, to ensure their place in the finals of the Dominican Winter Baseball League Championship. The finals begin 22 January. It will be a series of seven games, with the winner the first to win four games.

Home  Message Archive  2015  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998  Premium News Service


The contents of this webpage are copyright 1996-2015.  DR1. All Rights Reserved.