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Daily News - 07 April 1998

Easter long weekend preparations
Several private companies are participating in Civil Defense and Red Cross efforts to reduce accidents to a minimum and assist travelers during the Easter long weekend. The Easter long weekend is the peak vacation time for Dominicans that travel both to their home towns and to resorts all around the nation.
The telecommunications company Tricom announced it will be allowing free calls in the emergency long distance centers it is installing on principal highways and resort areas. The emergency calling stations will be located in toll booths in the Duarte and Las Americas highways. Tricom emergency call centers will also be set up at the Shell Primavera gas station in La Vega, Shell Gurabo gas station in Santiago, Shell Adesa gas station in Sosua, and the Shell Juan Dolio gas station. Another emergency call center will be located at the Tricom mini-telecommunications center in Boca Chica. The company also announced it is furnishing Civil Defense and Red Cross brigades with free cellular phones. Movimed, a private ambulance company, announced it will have units stationed on the Santo Domingo-Santiago-Puerto Plata highway, and the Santo Domingo-San Pedro-Higüey-Punta Cana route.
Cadena de Noticias, a 24 hour news radio station, said it will be transmitting news of happenings all throughout the Easter weekend. Cadena de Noticias transmits on 92.5 FM and 1040 am for Santo Domingo. For listeners in the South and East, they can tune in at 89.9 FM and those in the North and Santiago can tune in at 1130 AM.
Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus López Rodríguez urged Dominicans to not defile the Holy Week days with vulgarities and excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages. He called for prudence and the use of seat belts when driving. He said that the beaches will be full of people, and so will the churches. Reports from around the island indicate that all hotels are reserved to the gilt for the Easter long weekend. "From Luperon to Cabarete all hotels are completely reserved by local and foreign tourists," confirmed Cesar Jose de los Santos, Deputy Minister of Tourism for Puerto Plata. He forecast a record attendance to North Coast beaches for the Easter long weekend. He said some beaches have been closed because they are considered dangerous beaches. Furthermore, Civil Defense has prohibited bathing after 6 pm on the beaches.

There are no private beaches in the DR
Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez said that there is no such thing as a private beach in the Dominican Republic. By law all beaches are public. Accesses to the beaches and installations on the beach can be private. Minister Jiménez said that any Dominican or even foreigner can visit any beach. "In the Dominican Republic nobody can own a beach, neither a hotel, nor a family nor an association. There is not a single square meter of private beach," he said.
In practice, though several hotels and residences restrict the access to the beaches.

Government to collect garbage in tourist areas
The Ministry of Tourism announced that the central government will take upon itself the collecting of garbage in tourist areas, such as the Colonial City, Port of Santo Domingo area, and the Las Americas International Airport. The private company that provides the service has been deficient which results in a bad impression caused especially to cruise ship visitors. Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez made the announcement. He said the decision was reached after holding a meeting with President Leonel Fernández. Garbage collecting is the responsibility of the Municipality of Santo Domingo.

DR complains about deportations
Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre said that the deportations of Dominican criminals carried out by U.S. authorities goes against efforts of both nations to reduce drug trafficking in the region. He said the U.S. is sending back to the Caribbean U.S.-trained drug traffickers that are then using their skills to increase drug trafficking. The U.S. and the D.R. are implementing a plan to avoid the DR being used as a bridge between Colombia and the United States, but these efforts are severely hampered by the large number of deportations. Latorre raised the issue during the meeting of foreign relations ministers from Caribbean Community (Caricom) nations, Haiti and the Dominican Republic with Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. Latorre participated in the meeting accompanied by Bernardo Vega, Dominican ambassador in Washington, D. C.
Eduardo Latorre said that the U.S. has deported back to Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic some 14,000 criminals, most sentenced drug traffickers, from 1993 to 1997.

Maintenance brigade fired after tragedy
The administration of the Corporación Dominicana de Electricidad fired the five maintenance team that was on duty on Saturday, 4 April in the southern city of Baní for negligence in their job. Despite calls to the CDE office in Baní of neighbors in an area where a high tension electrical line had fallen, the brigade only lifted the 7,200 volt line after a tragedy occurred. The CDE office of Baní said that the five were repairing a nearby breakdown. When the CDE brigade did not arrive, neighbors set off the area with chairs, but one motorcycle taxi driver, 44-year old Manuel Pinales did not feel his life was in danger and went through. He was transporting 34-year Bienvenida Altagracia Medrano, her 2-year old daughter, Yanibel, and two of her step-children, 9 year old Alba Luisa Prandi and 5 year old Jose Antonio Prandi. They all died from burns on the spot. The mother of the two older children lives in Spain. Pinales was the father of 12 children, his youngest, two months old.
The Baní district attorney ordered the arrest of the brigade. The CDE said it would cover the funeral costs.
The city of Baní decreed two days of mourning.

Helping Dominican industry compete
Minister of Industry and Commerce, Luis Manuel Bonetti said that the government is endorsing a US$60 million National Competitiveness Program to help prepare national industry to compete on international and national markets. The three year old program will assist Dominican companies to expand their manufacturing facilities and train personnel. The effort is expected to prepare the nation to enter regional trade schemes. Antonio Rodríguez Mansfield, advisor to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, presented the plan that has been sent for review to key business associations and persons and is expected to begin its implementation this year. Of the total, the government will contribute 20%, the private sector will contribute US$24 million and US$36 million will come from external sources.

Three firms pre-qualify for gold mine tenders
Genel, a Canadian and South African capital mining company; M & M Holding, from Australia and Newmont, from the United States pre qualified for the tender that will be held to choose the company that will exploit the gold, silver and zinc deposits in the Pueblo Viejo mine of María Trinidad Sánchez. This is one of the largest sources of gold in the Americas. Salomon Brothers is in charge of organizing the tender.

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