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Daily News - 14 April 1999

Vice President to take leave of absence
Vice President Jaime David Fernández Mirabal said he will take a leave of absence from his government role to campaign to be chosen the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana's presidential campaign. His rivals for the candidacy are Secretary of the Presidency Danilo Medina and Minister of Tourism Felucho Jiménez.

Dominicans disapprove of their politicians
The 13-19 March Hamilton & Staff-Hoy newspaper survey revealed that 65% of Dominicans feel that the three major political parties have been immersed in constant bickering and have not tried to resolve the problems of the country. 61% feel that President Leonel Fernández has tried to resolve the problems but has not been strong enough to direct the nation. 79% believe that former President Joaquín Balaguer should retire from politics, leaving room for others to shine. For the survey, Hamilton & Staff interviewed over 1,800 Dominicans of voting age.

City residents happy with government
The most recent Sigma Dos-Listín Diario poll (500 persons of voting age were interviewed in the capital city in March) reveals that 47.8% of the population of the National District (Santo Domingo) consider good or very good the administration of President Leonel Fernández. Interestingly, President Fernández has his strongest support in voters under 25 years. 59% of persons in this age group favor the President.
In another finding, 34.6% of Santo Domingo's voters favor the PRD, 26.6% the PLD and 9% the PRSC. 29.2% of voters are undecided.

State property for debt
The government issued instructions to the Ministry of Public Works to distribute State Sugar Council (CEA) property to construction contracts in exchange for past due debts. The lands are worth RD$1,000 million. In addition the President ordered that RD$53 million in cash be paid to the contractors. The agreement would cancel debt for RD$2,750 million, or a savings of RD$687 million for the government. Yesterday, President Fernández handed to Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña and to Alejandro Montás, president of the Dominican College of Engineers and Architects, a check for RD$53 million and a power of attorney to transfer titles to 18 million square meters property of the State Sugar Council.

Supreme Court suspends eastern judge
The Supreme Court of Justice suspended La Altagracia province judge Teodoro Castillo for having granted an extraordinary number of provisional release orders. President of the Court, Dr. Jorge Subero Isa said that the Higüey judge had not denied any request for release under bail. Castillo was sent to a disciplinary trial. Judge Castillo justified his decisions explaining that Higüey jails are full beyond capacity. The Supreme Court of Justice has a reputation of being intolerant with corruption.

New taxes will have to fund doctors salary increase
The Fernández government says it has no problem increasing salaries of public hospital physicians if the National Congress passes a new tax bill which would fund the increase. The medics seek an increase of RD$70 million a month. The president of the Chamber of Deputies told Hoy newspaper that the new tax could be levied on the sale of alcoholic beverages and gambling. The president of the Dominican Medical Association executive committee, Waldo Ariel Suero has yet to meet with the president of the Senate, Ramón Alburquerque, who already has expressed his opposition to the proposal. Alburquerque does not like the idea of passing a new tax, and said that the government needs to be more efficient in its money handling in order to squeeze the requested funds from the present budget. If the government passes an increase in salary for the medics, all other government sectors will request increases. The government has indicated it does not contemplate salary increases for public employees.

More judges for electoral court
The Senate approved yesterday the bill that approves changing the Electoral Law to permit the appointment of two additional electoral judges, one appointed by the Partido Reformista Social Cristiano and another by the Partido de la Liberación Dominicana. This would bring to seven the number of judges in the Junta Central Electoral, the body that is in charge of organizing elections in the DR. The largest opposition party, the Partido Revolucionario Dominicano unilaterally appointed five new judges in August 1998, bringing about a controversy that is expected to be resolved with the appointment of judges appointed by the other parties. The passing of the bill is part of the agreements reached during the talks of the leading political parties at the National Palace presided over by President Leonel Fernández.

Professional ball players chosen for team to Winnipeg
The president of the Dominican Baseball Federation, Hector Pereyra announced the Dominican Republic will seek one of four baseball team slots in the year 2000 Sidney, Australia Olympics team that are open to teams from the Americas. "The DR seeks to win the gold and a slot along with the United States and Cuba. He said they have reached an agreement with the Major Leagues, the Union of Major League Baseball Players, the International Association of Amateur Baseball to allow professional players that are not in the roster of 40 of Major League teams to be eligible to make the national teams.
The pre-selected Dominican team members are:
Henry Mercedes (Kansas City)
Jorge Brito (Milwaukee)
Francisco Morales (Montreal)
Darío Pérez (Marlins)
Nelson Cruz (Detroit)
Fernando Hernández (Arizona)
Hector Ramírez (Milwaukee)
Máximo Núñez (Tampa Bay)
Benito Báez (Oakland)
Pascual Cocco (Toronto)
Joaquín Benoit (Texas)
Héctor Almonte (Marlins)
John Germán (Mets)
Julio Aquino (Tampa Bay)
Francisco Montero (Phillies)
José Bautista (Montreal)
Carlos Medina (Baltimore)
Otoniel Lanfranco (St. Louis).
Félix Martínez (Kansas City)
Roberto Mejía (Dodgers)
Rafael Bournigal (Texas)
Fausto Cruz (Anaheim)
Luis Ortiz (Milwaukee)
Pablo Ozuna (Marlins)
Tilson Brito (White Sox)
Carlos Peña (Texas).
Luis Polonia (Detroit)
Israel Alcántara (Boston)
Omar Ramírez (Houston)
Ruddy Pemberton (St. Louis)
Jovino Carvajal (Anaheim)
José Herrera (Boston)
Technical support, Félix Fermín, team director, Pablo Peguero, general manager; Mario Melvin Soto, pitching coach, and Hector Acevedo, coach.

Passengers give Santo Domingo a thumbs downs
The cruise ship Inspiration will discontinue docking at the Port of Santo Domingo come October of this year. The cruise ship company has requested the dredging of the Ozama River by Dominican authorities. Moreover, passengers voted thumbs down on Santo Domingo, criticizing the city for its lack of cleanliness. The ship will be rerouted to dock in Curaçao and Aruba next year. Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez, said that his department cannot be blamed. He said that the garbage collection is not included in the responsibilities of that department. Garbage collection is the responsibility of the city government of Santo Domingo.

65th year alumni gathering of CMS
The Carol Morgan School announces the celebration of its 65th anniversary this 16 April. For the event an open house will be held at the school that morning. It is organized by the board of directors, the alumni association, and the parent's association. For more information, call Paola Handal, Tel. 537-8080, Ext. 225 or Nancy Urbaez 532-8551, Ext. 223.

Food handling workshop
The Ministry of Tourism announced the Second Intensive Workshop on Quality, Hygiene and Safe Food Handling in the Tourism Sector. The course seeks to train food handling supervisory personnel. The lectures will be given 27-30 April at the Pontificia Universidad Madre y Maestra in Santo Domingo. The event also has the support of the Association of Hotels & Restaurants of the Dominican Republic and the World Tourism Organization. Application and use of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System (HACCP) will be taught. Dr. Fernando Quebedo Ganoza is the principal lecturer. A World Health Organization manual on food safety will be distributed to the participants. For more information, call the Ministry of Tourism, Tel. 221-4660, Ext. 241. Registrations are open through 20 April.

Mexican President arrives today for state visit
President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico is expected in Santo Domingo this afternoon. He will visit from 14-18 April, first for a state visit, and then to participate in the Association of Caribbean States heads of government summit. During his official visit to the DR, 14-16 April, the Mexican statesman will sign three agreements in health, agriculture and social security. President Zedillo will receive military honors at the National Palace, instead of upon his arrival to Las Americas International Airport as had been customary. Minister of Foreign Relations Eduardo Latorre said that the change in the protocol was in order to be up to date with the times. At the National Palace, the visiting statesman will introduce his accompanying staff and President Fernández will present his cabinet. After which, they will meet alone, calling in government ministers as is necessary. President Zedillo will then attend a luncheon held in his honor by the Consejo de la Empresa Privada, the largest business organization. He will address Dominican businessmen at the event. He will also attend the placing into circulation of the book Mexico-Dominican Republic: Historic and Contemporary Perspectives, that is published by the National Book Fair that opens in Santo Domingo 22 April. He will inaugurate the exhibition of Mexican art, with works by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiro, Jose Luis Cuevas, Raúl Anguiano and José Guadalupe Posada. On Thursday, 15 April, he will attend a gala reception at the National Palace in the evening. On Friday, 16 April he will visit the City Hall of Santo Domingo and then the National Congress where he will speak to the National Assembly, where deputies and senators will gather. On Friday, 16 April, President Zedillo will join members statesmen from the Caribbean Basin that are coming for the Association of Caribbean States Summit of Heads of Government and State of the Association.
President Zedillo is traveling with his wife, Nilda Patricia Velazco.

25 heads of government in Santo Domingo this week
24 heads of government from the Caribbean area are expected Friday, 16 April to land in the Las Americas International Airport from 2 to 5 pm. They will be received there by President Leonel Fernández and his cabinet. Visiting statesmen coming for the Association of Caribbean States Heads of Government Summit are are Presidents Andrés Pastrana, Colombia; Hugo Chavez, Venezuela; Ernesto Zedillo, Mexico (who will arrive earlier for an official visit); Miguel Angel Rodríguez Echavarría, Costa Rica; Fidel Castro, Cuba; Armando Calderón Sol, El Salvador; Alvaro Arzú Yrigoyen, Guatemala; Janet Jagan, Guyana; Rene Preval, Haiti; Carlos Roberto Flores, Honduras; Arnoldo Alemán, Nicaragua; Ernesto Pérez Balladares, Panamá; Jules Wijdenbosch, Surinam. Also the prime ministers: Hubert A. Ingreham, Bahamas; Said Musa, Belize; Edison C. James, Dominica; Keith Claudius Mitchell, Grenada; Percival Patterson, Jamaica; Kenny Anthony, Santa Lucia and Basdeo Panday, Trinidad & Tobago.
According to a update in Hoy newspaper, the countries agreed to issue a joint declaration requesting the banning of nuclear cargo through the Caribbean zone, the declaration of the area as a zone of natural disasters, and a motion in favor of sustainable tourism and the defense of the Caribbean Sea.
During the meeting, the Strategic Alliance of the Caribbean, proposed by President Leonel Fernández during the first summit held in Santo Domingo last year, will be discussed. The strategic alliance would create a free trade area of goods, services, between the countries of CARICOM, Central America, Panama, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, a market of more than 60 million consumers, an exercise in intra-regional free trade in preparation for our integration into the Free Trade Area Agreement in 2005 and into the global economy.

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