Lawmakers seek to solve development deadlock in Las Terrenas
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Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic.- Legislators of the Chamber of Deputies Tourism and Environment commissions met with investors, workers, freight unions and merchants of Las Terrenas, Samaná, in the wake of on the conflicts with local Environment Ministry officials.
Different sectors of the tourist community organized the meeting held in the hotel Alisei, on complaints that Environment drags its feet in issuing permits and harasses promoters.
Environment commission president Mario Fernandez, and Juan Maldonado of the Tourism commission, said the locals allege that Environment officials have halted around 30 projects, and has led to higher unemployment and a drop in sales of construction materials among others.
They said the people also denounced extortion against some promoters.
Although Environment minister Jaime D. Fernandez Mirabal didn’t attend, in a statement cautioned the promoters to comply with the Environmental Law, to protect the natural resources. He said he will meet with Environment representatives so they explain why the projects were halted.
Fernandez Mirabal and vice minister Ernesto Reyna have revealed the forging of environmental permits in Las Terrenas, and that many promoters don’t want to adhere to the Environmental Law.
They’ve denied that 30 projects have been halted, after showing a list of 20 currently in the evaluation system, and most of those already have permits.
However projects adviser Litvinf Martinez said Environment personnel resort to “petty extortion” against many promoters whom he affirms have to pay a “toll” to expedite the permits. “At the pace we’re going there’s increasingly more legal security for turbid deals.