A new corruption scandal shakes the country and hits Medina’s government hard

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - In Brief 28 Jun 2019 by Pavel Isa

A new scandal has shaken the country. As a result of an investigation that lasted months on behalf of a network of journalists, international media revealed that Odebrecht paid bribes for almost USD 40 million to be favored with the award of the contract for almost USD 2 bn for the construction of the Thermoelectric Power Plant Punta Catalina. This is a devastating blow to the government of Danilo Medina, who had managed to escape unscathed from the corruption scandals in general and from the investigation of Odebrecht's actions. The relief could be giving the final blow to the intention of the Medina group to amend the Constitution so that the President can stand for election for the third time. Political tensions have been extremely high over the last couple of weeks due to these attempts. The surroundings of the National Congress have been militarized to avoid new demonstrations against the modification of the Constitution and a group of legislators were repressed with tear gas by the police when they participated in one of the rallies. The events are very unusual in a politically calm country with few political upsets. Add to that the bad publicity in the US that the country has got as a tourist destination in recent weeks due to the death of several tourists. It is expected that as a result of that, in Q3, the number of arrivals will fall significantly due to cancellations of reservations, and that by the end of the year, foreign exchange earnings and total arrivals will barely exceed those of last year. We will provide a more detailed discussion of these two topics in our monthly report next week.

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