Human Rights Watch once again questions Dominican policies

The 2019 World Report by the Human Rights Watch does not even have a separate report on the Dominican Republic. In fact the Dominican Republic is only mentioned in regards to the handling of Haitian immigration and migratory status.

The report says that at least 250,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants working in the Dominican Republic re-entered Haiti between June 2015 and March 2018, after Dominican officials began deportations in accordance with a controversial 2015 Plan for the Regularization of Foreigners in the Dominican Republic. Many deportations did not meet international standards and many people have been swept up in arbitrary, summary deportations without any sort of hearing.

In addition to those deported, many people left the Dominican Republic under pressure or threat. Of more than 6,000 under investigation, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has verified legitimate Dominican nationality for more than 2,800 individuals now in Haiti. During the first six months of 2018 alone, nearly 70,000 Haitians were returned to their country. After being renewed three times, the Plan for the Regularization of Foreigners ended in August 2018, leaving more than 200,000 Haitians who remain in the Dominican Republic without valid paperwork at continued risk of deportation.

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Diario Libre
Human Rights Watch

22 January 2019

Adriano Espaillat to House of Representatives Transport Committee

Adriano Espaillat / Twitter

Dominican-born New York Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) was appointed to serve on the influential House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Espaillat has consistently given priority to transportation and transit in his work for New York. He has called transportation and transit “the lifeblood of our city.”

In this position, Espaillat will have jurisdiction over the agencies, programs that finance and regulate transportation, including national public transport, railroad, highway, bridges and other transportation systems.

In his first remarks after the appointment, he highlighted that New York has the largest public transport system in the United States.

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El Nacional

22 January 2019

Ownership willing to talk to labor on wage increase

César Dargam / El Caribe

The business sector is willing to take part in the tripartite talks when the National Salary Committee convenes the parties to revise salaries in the country this year. However, the executive vice-president of the National Business Council (CONEP), Cesar Dargam, pointed out that by no means can attention be distracted from the “urgent need” for the amendments to the Labor Code, which is currently 27 years old.

He told reporters from the Diario Libre: “As you know, there is a National Salary Committee that meets every two years, and they are supposed to meet this year, and we are most willing to take part in the talks and to discuss what the conditions will be.”

He noted that the current Labor Code has been in effect for 27 years and that this is a different world, with robotics and many different ways of working. He said that there should be a salary adjustment, but the conditions for such an adjustment must be studied.

He said that nobody wants a worker who is not happy, who is without a safety net or health insurance, because this is reflected in the productivity. Dargam spoke in these terms after the head of one of the major labor syndicates, the Autonomous Classist, Syndicate Confederation (CASC), Gabriel del Rio Done, called for a minimum wage of RD$20,000 and included pensioners who were currently receiving RD$5,100. Both men spoke during the release of the report titled “Dominican Syndicate Agenda” and effort supported by the European Union.

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Diario Libre

22 January 2019

Improvised cemetery in Los Alcarrizos now has over 500 residents

Photo: Diario Libre

The lack of funds or perhaps many other reasons have brought about the creation of an un-official cemetery in Los Alcarrizos, in West Santo Domingo. Just one year ago, the first person was buried in the vacant lot that today holds the remains of 562 persons.

Lourdes Maria Hernandez, 82, had to be buried in the grounds that were once part of the State Sugar Council (CEA) after her family tried everything in order to have her interred in Cristo Redentor and Los Casabes cemeteries, as well as La Cuaba, Manoguayabo and others where allegedly there was a lack of space or some RD$10,000 were required.

Community leaders came together and formed a Patronage or Sponsorship to lead the fight to create the Los Alcarrizos Municipal Cemetery. They have obtained topographical studies of the area, and the area has been divided into sections where families arrive on a daily basis to bury their loved ones.

Don Carlos Lora, one of the promoters of the idea of the municipal cemetery, told reporters from the Diario Libre that they have worked for over a year to obtain the 400,000m2 of land needed for the park. The interments are carried out in accordance with the law: three copies of the Death Certificate, a copy of the deceased person’s ID (cédula) as well as one of the persons representing the deceased and the persons are encouraged to go to the Central Electoral Board and follow their procedures.

The governmental authorities have not declared this to be an “official” cemetery because of legal issues with the property owners.

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Diario Libre

22 January 2019

Scholarships to study government at Instituto José Francisco Peña Gómez

Photo: El Nuevo Diario

The Instituto de Formación Política Doctor José Francisco Peña Gómez is offering scholarships for aspiring politicians and government officers in the semester with classes starting on 25 February 2019. The institute has the backing of the Universidad Católica Santo Domingo. The scholarships are for the courses “Political and Government Management”, “Municipal Management”, “Making and Management of Social Projects,” and “Politics: History, Theory and Practices.”
The announcement was made by Yvelisse Prats-Ramirez de Pérez, academic director of the institute.

The Instituto JFPG is located at Av. Bolívar 199, La Esperilla, National District. Tels 809 732-9340 and email: institutojfpg1@gmail.com

22 January 2019

Record year for free zone exports

Federico Domínguez / El Caribe

The Dominican Association of Free Zones (Adozona) reported tax free manufacturing industries exported more than US$6 billion for the first time. This is an increase of 10% for 2018 over 2017. Exports in 2017 had peaked at US$5.6 billion, but in 2018, exports rounded off at US$6,252 million, up 9.8% over the previous year. The exports were shipped from 686 free zones located in 73 industrial parks nationwide. The free zones employ 170,000, up 5% compared to the previous year.

The president of the Dominican Association of Free Zones, Federico Domínguez Aristy, remarks: “Increasingly the free zone model continues to consolidate as the ideal formula to attract foreign investment, generate jobs and grow our exports that are generating foreign exchange and development for the country,” said Dominguez Aristy.

He added: “Now the challenge is to continue strengthening the training programs of the free zone collaborators and technifying and diversifying our production to continue making the country one of the most attractive destinations in the continent for the installation of companies dedicated to manufacturing and global services “.

The Dominican Republic exports products to more than 135 countries, several of which have reached the category of world leaders.

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El Caribe

22 January 2019

Trucks ordered to stick to 70 kph limit and drive on the left

Photo: El Nacional

The Transit and Transport Security Agency (Digesett) reported that more than 260 cargo vehicles drivers were penalized on the first day of the implementation of Resolution No. 1-2019 that regulates cargo transport on roadways. The drivers were issued fines for driving in left lanes of multilane highways, excessive cargo loads, or speeding.

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El Nacional

22 January 2019

Capital city government invests RD$100 million to solve rain drainage problems

David Collado / Noticias Telemicro

National District Mayor David Collado says that the city government has invested over RD$100 million in rain drainage solutions for the capital city in the two years and fourth months of his administration. He made the remark after giving the go ahead for the solution of rain drainage problems in Espaillat neighborhood in northern part of the city. The drainage problems had worsened with the construction of the Santo Domingo Metro line 2.

Among areas where rain drainage problems have been resolved under his administration is Ensanche Kennedy, and the barrios 24 de Abril, La Castellana, los kilometros de la Carretera Sanchez, and Cristo Rey.

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Hoy

22 January 2019

Avocados planted along the border with Haiti

Some 20 kilometers of the border with Haiti are populated by avocado trees, as part of a huge agricultural venture that reaches into the shelves of Walmart. Over 70,000 tareas (422,000,000 m2) of land in the area of El Calimete in the impoverished province of Elias Piña has been planted with highly selected varieties of avocado (mostly Hass), and the company has another 30,000 tareas in in San Jose de Ocoa.

As reported in El Dia, the farm belongs to Manuel Castillo Pimentel and has become the largest employer along the border with some 1,600 workers, which allows both Dominicans and Haitians to remain in the area. Castillo Pimentel told reporters from El Dia that the trees begin life as seeds in nurseries in San Jose de Ocoa, and at a very early age they are grafted by experts with the Hass variety of avocados that is what Walmart and BJ’s request. There are 300 persons employed in Ocoa for this purpose.

The MACAPI nursery produces some 300,000 plants a year, mostly for the farm in Elias Piña. Every avocado harvested is sold. According to the report, the climate in El Calimete is similar to that of Constanza, at 1,700 meters above sea level.

The project has not been easy and the company has had to construct some 300 kilometers of roads, including parts of the International Highway. Given the size of the production and the very strict demands of their customers, the company had to open a packing facility in Mexico in order to keep up with the demand. Castillo Pimentel called this move “one of the most important decisions to achieve the market we now have.”

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El Dia

22 January 2019

Cost of new wharf in Puerto Plata will be on concessionaire

Photo: El Caribe

The US$125 million cost of the complete restructuring of Puerto Plata bay for multiple usage will be covered by the concessionaire, Puerto Plata Post Investment, which won the public tender for the project. The basic idea is to convert the old Puerto Plata city port area into a center for import-export commerce.

The commercial name of the cruiseship port is Taino Bay. The company is supposed to build and repair three wharves: one for cruise ships; one for freight and one for fishermen.

Victor Gomez Casanova, the executive director for the Dominican Port Authority, emphasized the economic impact of the project. The public-private alliance covers the construction of a special wharf for commercial fishermen together with a series of collateral projects for the development of the port area.

According to Gomez Casanova, just in the first year, the project is supposed to serve some 600,000 cruise line passengers. According to the press release, the Taino Bay people have already sealed deals with four of the major cruise lines, and, again according to the Port Authority director, in the second year, the number of visitors is expected to reach one million. In the more immediate future, the construction project is expected to create some 6,500 jobs.

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El Caribe

22 January 2019