Government corruption harms the country the most, World Bank says (UPDATE)

This must have been the most embarrassing day for President Leonel Fernandez, 12 years and no results!!


The World Bank’s managing director Thursday said government corruption is what most harms Dominican Republic’s quality of life and competitiveness, though the authorities acknowledge that it's a problem which threatens development.

Sri Mulyani Indrawati said steps are being taken in several fronts to deal with he issue and advances in the budget transparency and the use of money are the two most important.

Speaking to the press during the 5th Competitiveness Forum, Mulyani Indrawati affirmed that the World Bank supports governance and transparency in the budget through its budgetary policies program, but cautioned that a second element is more technical, which is to improve the purchasing procedures.

“That’s related to governance as much from the government, as from the private sector, which is the one that gets the money. “I understand that Dominican Republic’s economy is also confronting the crisis and from the bad debts, it’s necessary to adjust them, reducing their influence in the counter-cycle,” said Mulyani, who also met with president Leonel Fernandez in the National Palace.


Speach by

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
October 5, 2011
SECRETARY CLINTON: Hi, everyone. Good afternoon. Good afternoon. Let me tell you how pleased I am to be back in Santo Domingo......

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first, let me say that every country in our region is unfortunately affected by the scourge of drug trafficking and the criminality of drug traffickers. No country is immune, and every country must do more to prevent the spread of drug trafficking and the criminal elements who profit from the misery of people.

So we work closely with our colleagues and counterparts in the Dominican Republic. We will continue to do so. Strengthening security for citizens and against criminal elements remains a very high priority. That’s why we are working together in the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. We are partnering with the Dominican Republic’s military to help strengthen its ability to combat narco-trafficking, and we will be very clear about what our expectations are because we know that the people of the Dominican Republic deserve to lead safe, secure, peaceful lives free of the terrible violence that drug traffickers inflict.

We also know that drug trafficking goes hand-in-hand with corruption. And corruption is a cancer in any society. It needs to be addressed and eliminated. So we do support the Dominican Republic’s participatory Anti-Corruption Initiative, which is the kind of program that can help to strengthen governance and increase transparency and improve the institutional capacity of the security forces in the Dominican Republic to defeat the challenge posed by drug traffickers.

So we will continue to work together, but we will also continue to expect that those who are on the front lines of protecting the people of the Dominican Republic or anywhere in the region, are held to a high standard of accountability. Otherwise, we will not be successful......


SECRETARY CLINTON: ........ I’m well aware that there are very serious concerns about the human rights of Haitians, and in particular those who have been here long enough to be – to have been born here and lived here. And we don’t dispute that every nation has a right, a sovereign right, to establish the laws concerning its border security, concerning its nationality, but we also believe that every nation has an obligation to protect the human rights of migrants. And therefore, there must be a resolution that recognizes those human rights, and we hope that we can encourage the Government of the Dominican Republic to look for ways to resolve these outstanding issues of residency and citizenship.

I know there’s a debate about what would happen to migrants who were stripped of their naturalized residency rights. I know that the Haitian constitution seems to suggest that once a Haitian, always a Haitian, and always the right to be considered a citizen of Haiti. So these are very difficult, complex issues, and the United States is a friend to both Haiti and to the Dominican Republic, and we want to encourage the fair resolution of these issues so that people’s rights are recognized, but also a nation’s right to control its borders and its internal laws is also respected. Thank you.


Read full speech or see video of Clinton


Dominican Watchdog Note: This must have been an embarrassing event for President Leonel Fernandez, in the 12 years he has been in power the corruption and drug trafficking has increased. The issues with citizenship for Haitians is getting out of control and despite the law which states 4% of the GDP is to be used for education, he has not even been able to do that. In the interest of the Dominican Republic the President should step down and just returned to Washington Heights ASAP.


Education push spreads nationwide, number of protesters grow

Hundreds of people are converging and chanting in front of Congress to demand “4%” of the GDP for education and a higher budget for the Santo Domingo State University UASD.

Among the demonstrators figure teachers and UASD professors, who request more money for the university, where a lack of funds has unleashed an unprecedented crisis, with classes stalled since late last week.

The protests for a higher allocation for the education center have spread nationwide, and the number of its participants also grows.


Less money for education in 2012

Former director of the United Nations Human Development Report in the Dominican Republic, economist Miguel Ceara-Hatton says that in the 2012 National Budget passed by the Senate the government has assigned less to the Ministry of Education than it did in 1999, and only slightly more than it did in 2002. The percentage of GDP assigned to the Ministry of Education for public education, nevertheless, is at 2.954% the highest yet granted by the Fernandez administration. Ceara-Hatton disputed statements by the Senate that the government was allocating 3% to education.

He says that according to the budget, the functional spending on education will be RD$790,399.6 million and the GDP estimated for 2012 will be RD$2,383,425 million, or 2.954% of GDP. He says the difference between 3% and 2.954% is RD$1.1 billion.

The government has assigned RD$58.5 billion for the Ministry of Education, or 2.45% of GDP.

Writing in today's Hoy newspaper, the economist says that the government figures that in 2012 it will spend 2.954% in education but this is taking into account it will make 100% of the funds available. He says that in reality, in the past three years the Ministry has only been able to implement 95% of what is programmed. This would mean education would receive 2.80% of GDP or RD$3.6 billion less. He said with 95% of the budget allotment the Ministry would be spending 2.33% of GDP, or less than funds available in 2002.

A national campaign is trying to convince the government to allot the 4% of GDP or 16% of the National Budget to education.


PC says approval was rushed - The citizens watchdog group Citizen Participation has announced that it considers the passage of next year's budget bill by the Dominican Senate to have been irresponsibly hurried. El Nuevo Diario reports that PC said that passing the legislation in one day without taking the time to read it through was a sign that the Senate had resigned from the mandate give to it by the electorate to be independent of the Executive.

They pointed out that in any halfway-civilized society, the legislative proposal that receives the closest scrutiny, the most heated debates and the strictest analysis is the budget. The NGO said that this was not the case in the Senate last week.

They said that the "rush" was carried out in order to stymie the social protests for more funds for Education, and that in effect the Senate once again defied the law that requires 4% of the GDP to be spent on Education.

On the popular radio show "El Gobierno de la Tarde" the program's lawyers pointed out that, in fact, the budget contains articles that do change the Education Law by passage of the Budget law. PC coordinator Samir Chami Isa pointed out that the Budget proposal also violates laws regarding the municipalities, the Judicial Power, and several other entities that are supposed to receive set amounts in each year's budget.



Priest slams Government officials’ squandering of taxpayers' money - A parish priest of the sprawling barrio Cristo Rey on Sunday slammed the “squandering” of other people's money by Government officials which flaunt millions while Dominicans in slums and farm communities starve.

In his homily St. Paul Apostle church priest Manuel Bodenlle criticized a Government economic area official who allegedly spent millions in his daughter’s wedding, calling them “a traitor to the poor, the country and their ideology.”

The prelate rebuked the fact that while thousands of people don’t have enough money to eat and live overcrowded slums, a small group fills its pockets, squanders taxpayers’ money and keeps money in foreign banks.

Bodenlle, quoted by news source, urged the parishioners to work together to transform Dominican Republic’s historical, political and social reality, from what he called its exclusion and inequality.

He said just as the politicians and the powerful join to “induce us into sleep,” the excluded sectors must do the same to win the battle, without fear and by casting the easy life aside.

He said the time has come for the poor to be aware of their value, not only during elections, but for the true social plans of education, dignified jobs and health, from which Bodenlle said they are totally excluded.

Church criticism

The priest also criticized his church colleagues for speaking only in the masses, “in the air, but don’t get down to the reality of the Gospel, which contradicts the predicament of Jesus.”


The question is now after 12 years, how did Leonel Fernandez become a millionaire with only USD 300,000 in yearly salary? He allowed the corruption to get out of control, so what's his "cut" - Follow this link!

Go back | Date: 12 Oct 2011
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