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Daily News - 20 August 1999

President wants to attract high tech manufacturing to DR
President Leonel Fernández's statement for Dominicans to put aside their pessimism and complaining and look to the future with optimism made the morning newspaper headlines today.
Speaking in Barahona, during a luncheon with community representatives and businessmen, he called for Dominicans to change their "mentality of complaints and wailing for one of optimism, confidence and faith in the future."
He said that what is important is that the economy grow, so that it can generate more jobs and investments, because the rest is mere talk. To achieve this, the nation needs to be permanently innovating, being creative and imaginative, and connecting itself with the outside world.
Then Fernández shared his vision of a Dominican Republic where high tech industries would be the base of development. He said that the nation needs to move ahead from basing its manufacturing industry on apparel, footwear, plastics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. (Unless the US Congress passes the textile parity bill ­ which is not very likely ­ the DR apparel industry will continue to loose competitiveness with Mexico (benefited by NAFTA) and Central America (not restricted as Dominican factories are to buying more expensive US textiles.
Fernández explained that next month he will travel to Taiwan, a nation that exports US$125,000 million in high tech goods. Fernández says that present Dominican free zone exports are but US$4,000 million.
President Fernández believes the country should accept the challenge to become more like Taiwan. In Taiwan he will visit a high tech park, model of the kind he would like to see develop in the DR within the next 15 and 20 years. He envisions software, hardware, computer monitors, diskettes, micro robots, microprocessors being produced here.
"We cannot continue to lament, 'that this cannot be', 'that the other thing can't be', we can't continue complaining. A nation grows when its leaders have a vision of where things should be headed and plans based on this."
In Barahona, he spoke of the role Dominican universities will play in all this, preparing the young Dominican technicians of the future. "Universities can no longer be centers of disorder and anarchy; where stoppages and throwing rocks are problems. They have to have a vision of the future, of where the country is heading," he said. He insisted that universities need to become centers from where staff that will increase the nation's productivity can emerge.
Also part of this plan, next month will be the ground-breaking ceremony of the nation's first Cybernetic City. He explained the investments will be made by private capitalists not by the state. He explained that on his way back to the DR from Taiwan, he will make a stopover in Silicon Valley, California, to visit several high tech industries there too, and meet with leading area businessmen that have shown an interest.
He spoke of his goal to turn the DR into "the champion of economic development in the Caribbean and Central America."
At the end of the Barahona improvised talk, the President urged the townspeople to not focus on what he called the "needs of poverty", such as 10 classrooms for a university, a water pump, or repaving of a street. He said he would like to return and be asked, "Mr. President, we want a High Tech Industrial Park for Barahona."
Fernández was in Barahona to inaugurate public works totaling RD$300 million, including two aqueduct systems and public housing buildings.

Director of Corruption Prevention Unit resigns
Licenciado Justo Pedro Castellanos Khoury, director of the Department for the Prevention of Corruption, a dependency of the Attorney General of the DR, has resigned from the post. News sources speculate it was because of financial limitations he found in the position to exercise the department's mission of fighting corruption in the present administration, especially now that the country enters into an electoral period. The presidential election is scheduled for May 1999. His resignation is effective 30 August. El Siglo says that Castellanos Khoury was discouraged because the Attorney General's offices was not passing his cases on to the judiciary. The Department was created by the Fernández government to deter corruption in his government.
The office studied cases of irregularity under the previous central government and municipal government administrations. Cases that his office had studied were the construction of the Expreso Paris (under the administration of former Mayor Rafael Suberví-PRD), the Avenida Jacobo Majluta (built during the Balaguer administration-PRSC), the managing of funds at the Dominican Municipal League (under a PRD administration). Under the present PLD government, the office looked into irregularities at the Ministry of Sports, the remodeling of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia Maternity Hospital and at the Oficina Metropolitana de Servicios de Autobuses (OMSA).

Construction foremen protest massive use of Haitian workers
The local Asociación de Maestros Constructores de Obras Autorizados, a union of construction foremen, has protested the intense use of Haitian workers in construction projects. There is a boom in construction in general in the city of Santo Domingo and private contractors have been hiring brigades of Haitian workers. For the Haitians it is a move up from trench opening, sugar cane cutting and other farming work. The construction foremen say the abundant supply of Haitian workers has depressed the wages Dominican construction workers would be making. The spokesman for the association of construction foremen estimated 80% of construction workers are today Haitians. He said that Dominican labor code establishes that only 20% of the personnel of any business can be foreign.

They didn't let the judges in
Security guards at the Playa Dorada beach complex blocked the entrance to two Supreme Court judges to Playa Dorada beach over the 16th August long weekend. Claiming they knew their rights ­ all beaches in the DR are public, although access can be restricted ­ the judges (probably keeping their anonymity) proceeded on to the Police Headquarters of Puerto Plata to place a complaint. The two judges were Julio Ibarra Ríos and Hugo Alvarez Valencia. The security guards said they had orders from the administration of Playa Dorada to not allow anyone into the complex that could not prove he/she would be staying at one of the 14 hotels in the complex. Upon their return to Santo Domingo, the judges took their complaint to their boss, the president of the Supreme Court of Justice.

Major reshuffling of Regional Police Commanders
The chief of the Police, Major General Pedro de Jesus Candelier Tejada reshuffled all regional commanders and appointed a director of the newly created Direccion General de Investigaciones Criminales. Brigade Rafael Bencosme Candelier was appointed director of that department.
Brigade General Raul Almonte Lluberes was appointed General Inspector of the Police. The new regional commanders are:
Northeast (based in San Francisco de Macorís):
General Juan Ramon de la Cruz Martínez
East (based in San Pedro de Macorís):
General Carlos Reyes Mora
South (based in Barahona)
General Vinicio Perdomo Feliz
Northwest (based in Puerto Plata):
General Vinicio Hernández Méndez
Southwest (based in San Juan de la Maguana):
General Rafael Calderon Efres, is responsible for the General Central (based in Santiago):
General William Durán Jérez

Theater Season starts 3 September
The National Theater's plays season resumes on 3 September with the presentation of the play, "Bachata para María Viveza." This play will last through 26 September. Other plays for the season are: "Creonte", from 1 October ­ 7 November; "La Trinitaria Blanca," from 12 November- 5 December and "Chicken Cordon Blue," from 14 January- 6 February.

International Bowling Competition
The Fourth International Bowling Competition will be held at the Sebelen Bowling Center 22-28th August. Some 200 players from eight countries are participating. Players are coming from the US, Canada, Colombia, Aruba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Curacao and host DR. Rolando Antonio Sebelén, general administrator of the Bowling Center said that some of the best bowling players of the area will be here. He said most that will be playing here had just participated in the Pan Am Games of Winnipeg, Canada.

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