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Daily News - 15 March 1999

Construction of Olympic Village to start year 2001
President Leonel Fernández said yesterday that the responsibility of building the Olympic Village to lodge the athletes and delegates coming to participate in the Pan Am Games of year 2003 is up to the next government. He explained the facility will be begun by the next government, as construction is scheduled to start in late 2001. President Fernández is banned by the Constitution from seeking re-election.
Some 640 apartments of three bedrooms each and maid quarter will be built to lodge the estimated 6,000 athletes, coaches and delegates. The press continues to speculate on where these will be built. The apartments that will be used by the foreign delegations for 18 days, will later be sold to middle class Dominicans. Possible sites are the Campus I of the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ureña, grounds adjacent to the Juan Pablo Duarte Olympic Center on Máximo Gómez Avenue; a government nail factory located north of the Olympic Center on Máximo Gómez Avenue, grounds adjacent to the V Centenario Horse Race Track, or grounds on the Avenida Jacobo Majluta. The Olympic Committee prefers grounds near the JPDOC in order to save on transportation costs.
The Fernández administration has budgeted the remodeling of several of the sports installations that will be used during the Pan Am Games that will be held in Santo Domingo in summer 2003.

Government okays 5% increase on cost of cement
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce authorized a 5% in the per bag price of cement used for construction. The department placed a ceiling of RD$76 on the price of cement. The measure came as a surprise to many, in these days when supply and demand mechanisms are more effective in controlling costs. The 42.5 kilogram bag of Portland-type cement sells here for more than it does abroad. Many sectors said it would have been better to allow imports, which would have resulted in a drop in the price. Despite the government setting a price top, hardware stores continued to sell the cement for a higher price, indicating that they were purchasing it for more than the established value. Cement was selling for RD$78-RD$86 the bag over the weekend.

Canadian airport company could have won privatization bid
Hoy newspaper reported that its sources indicate that the consortium Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo 21 (Aerodom) won the bid for the operation of the Las Americas (Santo Domingo), Gregorio Luperón (Puerto Plata), María Montez (Barahona) and Arroyo Barril (Samaná) airports in the Dominican Republic. The process that seeks to privatize the operation of the state-owned airports and increase their revenues ended on Saturday. President Leonel Fernández is expected to announce the winner. Aeropuertos Dominicanos-Vancouver-Agden-Imprigilio-Opasa supposedly ranked 30 points on top of the Calmaquip, which placed second. Aeroports de Paris was third.

Cleaning up the city
New Police Chief Pedro de Jesús Candelier is definitely not seeking to win any popularity contest. Last week he dismantled the press department at the National Police, leaving reporters to fend for themselves. And then despite a reported agreement with the City Hall to give city hall authorized street vendors 15 days to clear up their shacks from city streets, he ordered his men in at 3 am on Saturday. The orders were to clean up areas of the city that are a deplorable mess with shacks and vendors hawking their wares on sidewalk and street sides. The vendors protested the move, appealing to their status as "padres de familia," or family bread-winners, but the press and news commentators favored the clean up given the unruly takeover of several city corners. The most deplorable spectacle of all was that at the Avenida Duarte and Avenida Paris, which was cleared up with policemen stationed to avoid a repeat. Vice Mayor Peggy Cabral, widow of former Mayor José Francisco Peña Gómez said she would intercede with the Police Chief on behalf of the vendors. The Association of Store Owners of Avenida Mella and Duarte have offered to repair the Plaza de Buhoneros that former Mayor Rafael Corporán initiated at Avenida Duarte and then former Mayor Rafael Suberví finished so that the vendors could move in there. The Plaza de los Buhoneros, despite being completed, has never been used because the vendors say it is appropriate as a food market but not for the variety of wares they sell. Meanwhile, the vendors are taking a philosophic approach. Several told TV reporters that it was not the first time they were evicted from the area nor the last. And that they would be back.

New rulings for placement of signs
The City Hall announced new ruling for the placement of signs, posters and cartels on city buildings, streets or utility posts. The measures are to be implemented to impede the affecting the visibility or flow of drivers and pedestrians and regulates the use of commercial signs. Measures include the banning of advertising of any kind along the Malecón, from Haina Port to the Avenida del Puerto. Political advertisements are to continue to be regulated by the Electoral Law dispositions.

Civil Defense announces major Easter prevention effort
Recently appointed Army man José de los Santos Sánchez, the new director of the Civil Defense, announced that 5,000 men and 200 motorized units will pool efforts to avoid accidents during Holy Week. Civil Defense volunteers will join the military and police units, and private company efforts, to keep the number of accidents down. Easter Week marks the time of the year when the largest mobilization of domestic travel takes place. Peak travel times are Easter Thursday after 12 noon and Easter Sunday after 12 noon.

New secretary general for the PLD?
José Tomás Pérez, director of the Corporación de Fomento Industrial, the government department that operates the state-run industrial free zone parks, and who was recognized as one of the key master minds behind the campaign that catapulted relatively unknown Leonel Fernández to the Presidency in 1996, reportedly won a landslide victory and is most likely to be the new secretary general of the government party, the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana. The Listín Diario reported that advance counts show he won with more than 60% of the vote. He defeated 15-year secretary general Lidio Cadet and contenders Reinaldo Pared Pérez and Ramón Ventura Camejo. He would become the organization's fourth secretary general since the PLD's foundation in 1973. Pérez joined the organization in 1978.

Bosch to be sent home from hospital
Former President Juan Bosch continued recovering from a bleeding nose that required his hospitalization at the Centro Médico UCE of Santo Domingo. He was interned there in the intensive care unit. Reportedly, his condition is under control and he would be sent home today.

Cruise ship travel increases this year
According to a report in the Ultima Hora, cruise ship traveled increased from 110,936 arrivals in 1996 to 393,631 arrivals in 1998. Most arrivals, or 270,932, in 1998 visited the newly remodeled Port of Santo Domingo. La Romana's Port was second with 102,788 arrivals. Increased traffic to Santo Domingo is attributed to the new port facilities that are now in operation, the Don Diego and Cristóbal Colón terminals, from where the Colonial City of Santo Domingo attractions are easily accessible. The port of Santo Domingo, including the eastern San Souci bank, is regularly served by the Aida, Inspiration, Flamenco, and Bolero cruise ship in addition to daily service of the ferry that makes the trip between PR and DR. La Romana is served by the Costa Clasica, Costa Victoria and Aida that visit Isla Catalina.

US$1,715 million in remittances from expatriate Dominicans
A report in the Listin Diario indicates that in 1998 Dominicans living abroad sent revenues totaling more than US$1,715 million to families and friends in the DR. The remittances are the nation's second source of foreign exchange after tourism receipts that are estimated at US$2,100 million. Thousands of small companies and families depend on the subsidies sent primarily from family members living in the US.

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