Monday, August 28, 2017

Weekend Winner

The representative of Duarte province (San Francisco de Macorís), 24-year old 5'11 Carmen Muñoz Guzmán was crowned Miss Dominican Republic by her predecessor Sal García during a gala that for the first time took place outside of Santo Domingo. The stage of the Gran Teatro Cibao in Santiago was chosen this time to host the contest. 37 women competed for the grand prize, the right to represent the Dominican Republic in the Miss Universe 2017 scheduled to take place in Phoenix, Arizona, USA on 26 November 2017.

The first runner up was Lytza Sofía Álvarez di Crestana from Santo Domingo East, who won the right to compete in Miss United Continents 2017. The second runner up was Jeisy Lucía Rodríguez Estévez, who will represent the country in the Reina Hispanoamérica 2017 pageant. Fourth place went to Zaidy Bello, representing Barahona, who was chosen Miss Quisqueya.

Other awards that event went to Mayelin de la Cruz from La Vega, who won the best reality show, Lytza Alvarez of Santo Domingo East, who won the best typical dress, created by designer Leonel Lirio. Kassandra Montandón, of the National District, won the "best body” award. Jennifer Daniel of Independencia province won the title for the "best smile” and Lorenne de Oleo from Elías Piña was voted Miss Communication.

The favorites of the public were
Zaidy Bello, representing Barahona; Alicia Restituyo, representing La Vega; Dharla Bodden for San Juan de la Maguana; Carmen Muñoz de la for Duarte province and Jeysi Rodríguez, from the host city, Santiago.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Family Scandal in Paradise

Here's something you may not find in the NY Times society column:
46-year old American resident Paul Sandford Guggenheim is suspected to have committed suicide at the Palacio de la Justicia Jail where he was held. The case file charged Guggenheim with taking advantage of children and teenagers in vulnerable situations, paying them in exchange for sexual favors.

His hung body was found in the cell's bathroom by a fellow inmate at the Palacio de Justicia. Prosecutors had delayed formally charging Guggenheim until Friday, 18 August, due to the holiday celebrated on the Wednesday, 16 August.

The deceased had been arrested on 11 August 2017 after being caught infraganti having sex with a 15-year old male child at his Piantini apartment. The case file says Guggenheim had offered to pay the child RD$2,500 for the sexual favors. Guggenheim reportedly had picked up the child from the Plaza Juan Barón on the Malecón.

The news comes as a surprise as Guggenheim was country representative for Counterpart International, a leading development non-governmental organization.

As reported in El Dia, neighbors in the Piantini apartment building where he lived, had alerted the authorities on 31 March that vulnerable minors were visiting Guggenheim in his apartment. The minors would visit at night and leave in the early morning. This would be confirmed by the surveillance videos of the building, according to the case file.

The file mentions two specific cases of sexual abuse of minors. Reportedly, the deceased had sexually abused two teenagers, ages 13 and 15 years old. The 13-year old said he made a living begging on the Malecón and admitted to having sex for money. The file says the minor explained that the following morning Guggenheim would drop him off where he had picked him up the previous evening and pay him RD$1,000 for the services.

State prosecutors had been investigating the case, culminating to the arrest on 11 August.

During the search of Guggenheim's apartment on 11 August, the Police reportedly found a significant number of condoms, lubricants, sex potency pills, children-sized shoes and clothing, mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.

Reports are that Guggenheim was suspect of having committed suicide on Tuesday, 15 August. El Dia says an autopsy was ordered to confirm the suicide.

Guggenheim is related to the famous Guggenheim family that has created the cultural wonders of the New York Solomon Guggeinheim museum and the Bilbao Guggenheim museum, among others.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

New Way to See the Colonial Zone

Two companies are offering drinks and bike tours in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo. These are La Coroleta (Beer Bike) and Bike Party, as reported in Diario Libre.

The Beer Bike has capacity for 16 persons that can pedal away, while enjoying snacks, soft drinks, hydrating drinks, water or beer while touring the city. The company offers wi-fi service so participants can up load their photos and share the experience as they go along. A Go-Pro camera videos the tour and shares this with the participants. The tours for 30-45 minutes start at RD$400 per person.

Party Bike is a new product by Trikke Dominicana and has capacity for 14 persons. Soft drinks, juice and light beers are served. The duration is 1:30 minutes and costs RD$550 per person.

There are also individual bikes for rent if you wish to see the Zone without the buzz of other tourists as a distraction.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

On High Alert

dr1 reports: Business owners in Boca Chica are complaining about the high level of crime in the municipality. Representatives of the business community argue that the police, rather than preventing crimes, are aggravating the situation by demanding handouts.

Enrique Félix, president of the Union of Small Businesses in Boca Chica, highlighted that on Saturday morning, 22 July 2017, two individuals held up a tourist at gun point, stole her bag and left shooting in the air, all this only 500 meters from the police station.

He said that rather than the police protecting the tourists that some of their members blackmailed and extorted the tourists. Felix cited an example a group of firefighters from New Jersey who the police threatened with guns and demanded US$200 not to be taken to jail.

Felix reported low occupancy in Boca Chica, estimating this at 50% due to the insecurity.