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Daily News - 16 April 1999

Major regional summit opens tonight
Twenty-four chiefs of state and government from Caribbean Sea bordering nations will be in Santo Domingo this afternoon to participate in the II Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Association of Caribbean States. The summit opens at 7:30 pm at the National Theater. The summit gathers heads of state of Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, the English-speaking Caribbean (Caricom), Central America, Cuba, Haiti and host Dominican Republic. The heads of government are meeting to establish a framework for efforts in view of the new millennium. The work agenda focuses on sustainable tourism, trade, transport and the dangers of the transport of nuclear waste cargo through the Caribbean region. This is the second time that the ACS meets. The first meeting took place in 1995 in Trinidad & Tobago.
Participating chiefs of state are:
Presidents Andrés Pastrana, Colombia; Hugo Chavez, Venezuela; Ernesto Zedillo; 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; and Jules Wijdenbosch, Suriname.
Also the Prime Ministers:
Denzil Douglas, St. Kitts and Nevis; Said Musa, Belize; Edison C. James, Dominica; Keith Claudius Mitchell, Grenada; Percival Patterson, Jamaica; Kenny Anthony, St. Lucia, James Fitz-Allen Mitchell, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Basdeo Panday, Trinidad & Tobago.

President Zedillo advocates more work together
President Ernesto Zedillo, who arrived Wednesday, 14 April for a five-day official visit, advocates a strategic alliance between the DR and Mexico to foster joint political and economic objectives. President Zedillo said he is here to strengthen cooperation ties in the areas of education, culture, health, and environmental protection, in talks with President Leonel Fernández with whom he shares the same vision of the future. He highlighted that to achieve trade and investment integration the business communities of both nations must interact to complement government efforts. The governments of Mexico and the DR signed bilateral cooperation agreements in energy, farming, health, social security, investment and trade promotion at a ceremony at the National Palace yesterday.
Last year, President Fernández visited Mexico and signed several agreements in the areas of power, trade, drug control, culture, investments and tourism.
During his visit, President Zedillo and President Fernández concurred that one cannot combat poverty without creating wealth. In Santo Domingo, President Zedillo cited words of President Leonel Fernández on the occasion of receiving a honoris causa doctorate from the Université de La Sorbonne in Paris: "One cannot combat poverty without wealth. If there is not repeated economic growth every year, the struggle against unemployment, the investment in education, health and social services, and the improvement in conditions of living, are all unrealizable fantasies."
"In our America, the top priority of the economy and politics is social justice, " said President Zedillo. He emphasized that the purpose of his visit is to continue strengthening and expanding bilateral relations and to join forces to achieve social equity goals and higher standards of living for both countries.
"The DR and Mexico have already accomplished much on the roads of friendship, understanding and collaboration. I am sure that there is much more that our countries can achieve," he said.
The governments agreed to form a Mixed Intergovernmental Commission, to strengthen the collaboration and consulting mechanisms at the highest levels.

Mexico & DR from a business perspective
The president of the National Council of Business (CONEP), Celso Marranzini advocated for an increase in Mexican investment in the DR. He also spoke up for the use of the funds tied in to petroleum imports for the strengthening of the economic and social infrastructure of the DR, as compensation for the major trade deficit between both countries. Institutional bureaucracy in Mexico have impeded the US$120 million in accumulated credits as per the San José petroleum agreement to be used so far. The government of Mexico conditions the releasing of the funds to their direct use by the private sector for projects in conjunction with Mexican firms.
Marranzini feels that trade and investment missions should be organized to diversify trade and increase investments.
During the official visit of the President of Mexico, the Banco del Comercio Exterior de Mexico (Bancomex) signed an agreement with the Office for the Promotion of Foreign Investment (OPI) and with the Dominican Center for the Promotion of (CEDOPEX). DR-Mexican trade is estimated at US$283 million a year, which most being petroleum, appliances and vehicle imports from Mexico to the DR. Mexican investment in the DR is estimated at US$300 million. A Dominican hotel chain,
Viva Resorts , has invested in two hotels in Mexico.

The winners of the power capitalization tender
Unión Fenosa Desarrollo y Acción Exteriores (UFACEX) and AES Distribution Dominicana won the bid for the capitalization of the North, South and East power distribution contracts of the Dominican Electricity Corporation (CDE) organized by the Commission for the Reform of Public Enterprise (CREP). While 19 companies had pre-qualified, only four actually presented formal bids. UFACEX was awarded the contract for the North-South distribution, with a bid of US$211,901,804. The minimum bid for the North was US$49,094,084 and for the South US$129,281,735. AES won the East of the country bidding US$109,304,687, more than the minimum of US$105,766,328. The companies could be operational in about a month’s time. Companies that participated in the bid highlighted the transparency and professionalism of the tender. Both of these companies are already players in the Dominican power sector. Unión Fenosa has been a consultant with the CDE and AES operates two private generators in eastern part of the city of Santo Domingo. The capitalization process continues in May with the tender for the Haina and Itabo power generation complexes.

Port Authority director commits to clean up river
With one ship gone, and the threat for others to follow suit, the director general of Dominican Port Authority, Francisco Javier García has at least announced some action. He announced that within the next 10 days nets will be set up to collect trash brought down by the Ozama River where the Port of Santo Domingo cruise ship terminals are located. Several slum areas are located besides the river, producing the garbage. The Port Authority director made the announcement after press stories highlighted how the country would be losing millions in income from travelers that would not visit. Cruise Inspiration ship spokesperson has the ship would remove Santo Domingo from its itinerary as of October due to the garbage in the river and the litter in the Colonial City. The city of Santo Domingo has one of the most lovely and historically important port areas of the Caribbean, with easy pedestrian access.

US$836,220 found in abandoned pick-up
The Department of Customs reported that the contraband of US$836,220 that was found earlier in the week in a Toyota pick-up imported to the West Haina Port was confiscated based on Law 3489. The money’s will be temporarily deposited in the Central Bank, prior to be handed over to the Department of Treasury for use by the government. The truck was in the name of a Tomás Fernández. When authorities investigated his whereabouts, it turned out to be false. The pick up was shipped from Puerto Rico. An in-depth investigation is being carried out.

Major hotel and investment conference to open in city
The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference, presented by the Caribbean Hotel Association and the Caribbean Tourism Organization in conjunction with Caribbean/Latin American Action, will be held at the Renaissance Jaragua Hotel & Casino from 18-20 April 1999. The event seeks to bring together the various players that ensure the continued growth and development of the Caribbean tourism industry — governments, investors, developers, consultants and hoteliers. Participating countries have the opportunity to showcase their tourism programs to international financiers and developers, who in turn can use the event as a forum to discuss investment interests and requirements.
Topics include: Opportunities Created by the Changing Face of Caribbean Tourism; Investment Opportunities —What’s New, What is Working; Financial Opportunities for Environmental Upgrades & Tourism; Financing Opportunities Available to the Tourism Industry; Privatization and Management of Tourism-related Infrastructure; The Millennium Vision, What the Caribbean Must do to Remain Competitive."

Minister of Tourism on new source markets
Minister of Tourism Felix Jiménez said the DR must step up its efforts to attract travelers from the United States, France and Latin America. He also mentioned the excellent source markets in Sweden, Norway and Finland. He said that it is normal for travel to decline from traditional source after years of growth. Moreover, he forecast that Punta Cana would be the main beneficiary of the millions of US dollars the Ministry is spending in advertising the DR in the US market.

First meeting of the 2003 Pan Am Committee
Six members of the Organizing Committee of the 2003 Pan American Games met yesterday for their first work session. The hour-long meeting took place at a hall of the Cervecería Nacional Dominicana. Attending were businessmen José León Asencio, Eduardo Pellerano and Francis Malla, Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña, and Olympic Committee directors José Joaquín Puello and Luisín Mejía. During the meeting the rulings of the Pan American Games that will be held in Santo Domingo were distributed to the committee members. Minister of Public Works Diandino Peña spoke about the present sports facilities. A provisional committee office will be set up at the offices of the Minister at the Diandino XIII building at Roberto Pastoriza Street.

All Stars Baseball Game in December
An All Stars Game of Dominican Major League baseball players is being organized for December 12 at the Quisqueya Ball Park of Santo Domingo by the Dominican Baseball Federation, in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports and the National Baseball Commissioner’s Office. During a press conference to announce the event, Vice President Jaime David Fernández said that the idea is for the event to become a year’s end tradition taking advantage that at the time Dominican Major League ball players are vacationing here. Dominican ball players would play against a roster of guest US Major League players, invited by the Dominican stars. Names mentioned are Sammy Sosa, Raul Mondesí, Neifi Pérez, Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, Viny Castillo, Tony Fernandez, Moisés Alou, Stanley Javier. The players would also participate in a golf tournament at the Santo Domingo Country Club. Moneys would go to the Hemophilic Society, the Dominican Red Cross and UNICEF.
In March of this year, the New York Mets played the New York Yankees in a two game pre-season training game.
Vice President Fernández said that President Leonel Fernández himself has set as a goal that in 2000 a Major League regular scheduled game is held in Santo Domingo.

German jazz band comes to play with Dominicans
The Blue Print Stage band from Germany is visiting Santo Domingo as the last leg of the jazz group’s tour of the Americas commemorating the 50th anniversary of the German Federal Republic. The tour took them to the US, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti and now to Santo Domingo. On Saturday, 17 April, the group will give a presentation at the Ruins of the San Francisco Monastery at 8:30 pm. On stage with them will be Dominican artists Jaques Martínez (guitar), Ania Paz (piano), Eglis Estrella (singer), Patricia Pereyra (singer), Sandy Gabriel (saxophone) and Esar Simón (bass guitar).
Members of the band are Nadja Baroudi (drums), Tilman Ehorhor (saxophone), Marcus Gnadt (bass guitar), Martin Hornung (piano).
The band will give a lecture at the National Conservatory on 20 April. For more information, contact Britta Peterson at the German Embassy.
The activity is coordinated by the National Theater and the Commission of Historic Monuments as part of the program, United for Culture. Tickets are RD$100 and are for sale at the National Theater and the German Embassy.

Marcel Marceau performance postponed for Sunday
The performance of Marcel Marceau and his company of French mimes has been postponed for Sunday, 18 April. The postponing was due to the short time for setting up the stage, following the opening of the II Heads of State and Government Summit that will take place there, tonight, 16 April. Marceau will be presenting "Le Chapeau Melon", or the extraordinary odyssey of Jonathan Bowler with the top mimes of his school, La Nouvelle Compagnie de Mimodrame. The National Theater announced today that ticket sales for the event, suspended today, Friday 16 for security reasons, would be resumed on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are RD$500 and RD$400.

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