The 8th Organic Coffee Festival 2011

The 8th Organic Coffee Festival / El 8vo Festival del Café Orgánico in Polo, Barahona

This is a celebration of the harvest, which takes place in the community of Polo, Barahona, The first festival was in 2004 and has become a yearly tradition.

This years event will coincide with the World Environment Day on June 5th. The festival will be held from Friday 3, to Sunday June 5 from 9:00 am to 12.midnight

This years festival will have music, painters, dancers, theater, artists, folk and popular music groups from around the country. There will be over 300 local, national and international artists. There will be creative workshops, sports events, a regional cycling tour, para-gliding, nature trails and a fair where there will be products and services for sale. Present will be both National and International organizations that support social and environmental programs.

The festival is organized by the Polo Permanent Committee for Culture (CPCP), the coffee-growing cooperatives and women’s groups, with the support of Ideac, the Fundacion Cultural Cofradia, and the Red Dominicana de Culturales Locales plus over 30 regional and national organizations.

For a map with directions visit
http://festicafe.org/llegar2010.htm

For more information about the Barahona area and some hotels in the area with telephone numbers go to Dominican Road Trip – Barahona

Dominican Republic Minimum Wage

The Labour Minister / Ministro de Trabajo, Max Puig, says that 75% of Dominicans earn less than RD $15,000 pesos per month which is less than the national minimum wage. Another source says that 94% of workers earn less than RD $ 30.000, an amount that is exempt from income tax. Also, 78% is less than RD $ 15.000. (sources linked below)

According to Puig there are three different minimum wage rates that are paid all depending on the type of company. “The companies with fewer than 2.0 million dollars in capital have a minimum wage of approximately 5,000 and Free Zone is still lower than the minimum wage sectors with 4,900”

They are trying to work to up the minimum wage and to make sure that businesses are paying their employees the correct wages. This is a bit difficult as different types of work have different levels of payment. There are 14 different minimum wages for example; agricultural workers from home, restaurants, day and night hours, and the scale, location and size of business. All these different things make infractions a bit difficult to keep track of.

José Abreu, the president of the National Confederation of Trade Union Unity / Confederación Nacional de la Unidad Sindical (CNUS) has been trying to get the minimum wages raised in his ongoing efforts. The Banco Central is averaging the the basic living requirements from the least expensive $9,600 to the high average $23,398 pesos, which means that most of the minimum wage earners cannot even afford the least expensive food stuffs.

The exchange rate on the day of writing this is around $37.50 US Dollars to $1 Dominican Peso

References:
http://www.elcaribe.com.do,

http://www.chron.com,

http://lanaciondominicana.com

COE Announces Semana Santa Tragedies

The Emergency Operations Center (COE) / El Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias has the Easter Holiday / Semana Santa accident reports ready.

Semans Santa sees most Dominicans heading out of the city to enjoy the long weekend with friends and family at many of the great water, beach, river and country destinations Dominican Republic has to offer. But with this mass exodus there are many traffic accidents and other mishaps when there are masses of people enjoying, partying and driving.

30 people were killed, of which 23 were traffic accidents, two from alcohol poisoning and five by drowning (two less than last year). 668 other people were hurt in other ways including 368 traffic accidents occurred, affecting 570 people. Also, alcohol poisoning, 73 and 50 for food. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Autoridad Metropolitana de Transporte (AMET) retained 237 motorcycles and 216 thousand motor vehicles for violations.

Trying to Steal Cannons on the Malecon

A thief got caught by the Dirección de Inteligencia M-2 of the Marina de Guerra (Navy). He was trying to take three iron cannons that are historically valuable from the time of colonization. These cannons were located along the seafront stretch of Avenida George Washington also known as the Malecon in Santo Domingo.

They said this is a very unusual robbery as the thief really had no idea how he was going to transport these heavy six to seven foot long cannons to be melted down.

The Marina de Guerra chief, Nicolás Cabrera Arias, turned the thief over to the National Police to bring him to justice.

http://lanaciondominicana.com

Happenings for Semana Santa 2011

If you are not planning on going outside of the city for the Easter weekend theres always something happening in the Colonial Zone area.

Art Display- “Art Treasures of the Vatican” / “Tesoros artísticos del Vaticano” is an exhibition at the Independence Park perimeter fence and where you can see photographs of the works. Include, among others: Museo Pío Cristiano, Pinacoteca Vaticana, and Las Catacumbas, Las Logias, and others.
The pictures are displayed all around Parque Independencia in the Zona Colonial until May 30, 2011.

Music –
Gruop Bonyé plays every Sunday including this Easter Sunday at the Ruinas de San Francisco, en la Zona Colonial.
starting at 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM.

Friday and Saturday at Plaza España theres always something happening.

The Roman Catholic Church in the Dominican Republic has published its schedule of events for Easter Week in the Colonial City.

Sunday, 17 April as of 5pm. Procession from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes Church, with blessing at the Santo Domingo Cathedral. Mass at the Santo Domingo Cathedral.
Monday, 18 April masses from 7am to 6m at the Iglesia Regina Angelorum.
Tuesday, 19 April. At the Iglesia Santa Barbara, 6pm mass and 7pm procession dedicated to Jesus The Patient One.
Wednesday, 20 April. Masses at Nuestra Senora del Carmen church from 6am to 12 noon, masses in honor of Jesus the Nazarene and a 4pm concert in honor of Jesus the Nazarene. 5pm solemn via crucis, followed by the Sermon of the Nazarene and at 6pm the solemn procession of Jesus the Nazarene.
Thursday, 21 April. 9am Mass of Chrism at the Cathedral, the largest annual gathering of clergy, at the Santo Domingo Cathedral. At 8pm, the commemorative Last Supper mass at the Santo Domingo Cathedral.
Friday, 22 April. 3:30pm the Solemn Liturgy of the Passion and Death of Our Lord at the Santo Domingo Cathedral. Followed by 6pm, the procession of the holy burial at the Las Mercedes Church.
Saturday, 23 April. 11am Solemn Easter Vigil at the Santo Domingo Cathedral.
Sunday, 24 April. Noon. Easter Mass at the Santo Domingo Cathedral.
thanks DR1.com for the info.

Fake $500 peso Notes, Gas and Food Prices

There have been forged RD$500 bills circulating throughout DR. The fakes have a lighter shade of blue, the sliver band going through the bill is different, the smaller lettering on the bill are not legible, the paper is slightly thinner and they wrinkle easier and are 3mm smaller than the real bills. These bills are in full circulation and have been found in many of the tourist areas and hotels throughout the country. Be cautious.
To see a picture of the original (top bill) and the fake (bottom bill) go to
http://www.listin.com.do/economia-and-negocios/2011/4/14/184782/Cuidado-circulan-RD500-falsos

Just to let you know the gas prices in Dominican Republic today are:
Premium USD $5.70 / RD $ 214.20
Regular USD $5.37 / RD $ 201.90
using the exchange rate today of $37.55 usd to $1 rdp

Some other prices. These are mostly sales in some of the local stores but it will give you an idea of the prices here
660 grams of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes $110 pesos
160 grams of Brunswick Sardines $38 pesos
18oz Kraft BBQ Sauce $71 pesos on sale
10 lbs Select Rice $219 pesos on sale
26.5oz Del Monte Spaghetti Sauce $65 pesos on sale
64 oz Welches Juice $129 pesos on sale
Marlboro Cigarettes 20 in pack $110pesos
45 grams Gillette Speed Stick Deodorant $95 pesos on sale
125ml Colgate Toothpaste $80 pesos on sale

Dominican Republic prices climbed 1.16% in March 2011 mainly because of the cost of fuel and the costs of farming.