The East is in “a state of emergency”
SD. The absence of land titles(deeds), the problems of health generated by waste water that is connected to the rivers and the sea, the abandonment of the construction of highways and access roads, the lack of job opportunities, and the increase in poverty, are some of the principal problems which the area presents.
This was the warning issued by the directors of the Regional Council for Territorial Development, who, during a visit to the Diario Libre, said that the region (composed of the provinces of La Altagracia, Hato Mayor, El Seibo, Monte Plata, San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana) should be declared a state of emergency.
“How is it possible that where there is so much wealth, there is so much dissent, indifference, laziness, a total lack of interest by the authorities for its development,” declared Dario Yunes, the president of the non-governmental organization.
Yunes stressed that the coasts, principally the beaches, are being lost, as a result of the contamination launched, both by the hotels, through the discharge of their residual waters, as well as by the motors of the tour boats.
Likewise, he reported that the region has nearly 5000 km of rural access roads, and nevertheless, “there is not one that is any good.”
“These are rural paths, which can only be used by animals. The same thing is happening with all of the interprovincial highways,” he noted.
He cited the case of the province of El Seibo, where there are several places that are great producers, but still the authorities have not repaired the rural access roads, which he feels is a lack of interest for the agricultural production of the area.
He criticized, in addition, that in order to go from Higüey to Samana, they had to take the Las Americas highway and then take the Northeast Expressway.
“If a 30 km interregional road is built, which goes from Hato Mayor to that Northeast Expressway, we would be economizing valuable time, and this would produce a fuel economy, with less money needed for importing oil, resulting in a strengthening of our money,” he underlined.
Waters sprinkled with garbage
Miguel Angel Severino Rodriguez, the former president of the Regional Council, indicates that in many parts of the region there is no drinking water.
In the case of Sabana de la Mar, he said that the authorities have begun the construction of some water treatment plants, but they have left them abandoned, which has forced the residents to use a pipe (referring apparently to wells) in order to get water. The worrisome thing is, according to his report, is that these pipes generally have a latrine next to them.
“All the hospital refuse, the refuse of latrines, of the large companies, of the sewer waters go into the rivers, and from there the aqueduct draws its water, this is one of the principal problems that the area has, but always these dirty waters go to the sea. This is affecting, in addition, the coral reefs and the food chain of the fish,” commented Severino Rodriguez.
He indicated that in Veron – Bavaro – Punta Cana, which is the district which contributes the most to the country in terms of the Gross Domestic Product – from tourism – there are no aqueducts, and neither are there any sewers.
“The sectors born in the environment of this development, only have latrines. The greatest problem is that this is limestone soil, permeable, and that the water table is at some 60 feet, and it is already contaminated, to such a point that in order to obtain good water it has to be drawn 7 km from the coast,” Yunes explained.
This situation also comes about in the municipality of Peralvillo, where according to the mayor, a great many of the households still use a latrine.
“We are talking about the water that the people use to bathe, what they use to cook with. There is also the problem of the lack of a hospital, which does not allow us to have an identity, because if we are born in another town the identity will continue to be lost, because the births are registered where you are born, and how do you deal as the city Council with this situation, you have to do it, but we don’t have a budget,” said the councilmember Roman de Jesus.
In Veron-Bavaro – Punta Cana, they stressed, that in addition to the problem of refuse, which they say is handled in an open sky garbage dump, which is burned at night, represents another source of contamination.
The problem of land titles is present at different points in the region, which, according to Severino Rodriguez, keeps farmers from producing wealth.
In Bayaguana, Monte Plata, he referred to a project which Balaguer granted by decree, of more than 300,000 tareas for the Agrarian Reform, and which are now held by third parties divorced from this project.
“The first problem of the region is the lack of land titles, because the majority of the land that can be farmed in the East either belongs to the CEA (State Sugar Council), or the IAD (Dominican Agrarian Institute), to National Assets or to wealthy families. A region does not become developed in this manner. We have asked the President that we need the deeds to the land, which is the basic axis for wealth,” he said.
He described how in Higüey, the banks are losing money, because they have received false deeds.
“There are some sneaky people who some years ago went to some city governments and made them a proposal of restoring the land titles, and they said they would do it for free. The mayors innocently told them that they could carry them away, and now they have been extracted, so that from there they can take out false land titles. These are held by a group of lawyers who are selling them; the problem of the Bahia de las Aguilas is the result of this,” revealed the leader of the Council.
He reported that one mayor in the region – that he did not identify – asked for US$10 million to allow them to work with these documents.
The weakness is that if we do not strengthen the agricultural sector, combining it with the proper land titles, how can we take a loan in a bank in order to put our land to produce, without a title? Where is the guarantee? What do I present? There is where the weakness begins for production,” added Severino Rodriguez.
Those problems have been reported since 2009, by the different sectors that make up the Region, who were surveyed by means of a form with 10 questions, with the idea of identifying the issues.
They want the Ministry of Environment to establish a plan for the management and preservation of the coastline.
They want the construction of the Eco tourism, Fishing and Commercial Port of Boca de Yuma, in the province of La Altagracia, in the town of San Rafael de Yuma.
They also called for an Eco tourism – fishing and commercial port between Sabana de la Mar and Miches, exactly in the village of Las Cañitas. They assured the DL reporters that they would not have to drag the port area.
They want the construction of the Chavon-Javilla dam, which would be 2 km from the bridge that joins the province of El Seibo with La Altagracia. “There we have 4 m³ per second,” they said. They indicated that this project would guarantee water until 2050 for all of the province of La Altagracia.
They want the government to create a Deputy Ministry of Public Works with offices in one of the provinces equidistant from the others.
They also want to establish a reforestation plan for the mountains, using cacao, coffee and fruit trees.
They suggest reaching an agreement in order for the Banco de Reservas to finance the land titles, which is to say the expenses of the surveyors, the legal expenses and the taxes and tariffs that the city governments charge in the process of deeds.
Finally they want the budget to be tied to the development plans that the region and its citizens demand.
Category: DR News |