Publish in People - Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Finance Minister Jochi Vicente, Foreign Minister Roberto Alvarez, Tourism Minister David Collado and Trade and Industry Minister Ito Bisono. (Latinvex collage)
Key members of the new government of the Dominican Republic.
BY LATINVEX STAFF
New Dominican Republic president Luis Abinader has won widespread praise for his appointments. While his predecessor Danilo Medina named loyalists – often unqualified – to key posts, Abinader has named new ministers that in general bring expertise to their new portfolios.
Meanwhile, he kept Central Bank Governor Hector Valdez Albizu, who has been in the post since 2004. The decision was highly unusual and was taken due to the economic crisis and the fact that Valdez has been seen as highly successful in his role.
Here is a closer look at key members of Abinader’s new team impacting foreign investors in the Dominican Republic.
Finance Minister Jose Manuel “Jochi” Vicente
Vicente -- who holds an MBA from Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA and an economic degree from the local PUCMM university -- served as president of the Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Young Dominican Businesspeople (ANJE). He is the founding director of economic consultancy MacroAnalit.
Economy & Planning Minister Miguel Ceara Hatton
Ceara Hatton is a renowned economist who has been a critic of the previous government’s spending and high debt. He has taught at the local PUCMM university, worked for 8 years as national coordinator for the United Nations Development Program (PNUD) and has served as a contributor to the Economist Intelligence Unit and as a consultant.
Tourism Minister David Collado
Collado will be overseeing the key tourism sector, the country’s second-largest revenue earner after exports. He is a 44-year old former mayor of capital Santo Domingo where he won strong praise for significant improvements and his focus on tourism. Previously, as a member of the national assembly, he headed the tourism subcommittee of the lower house for six years. He was also known for his work on entrepreneurship and organized major conferences on the subject with speakers like former US President George W. Bush and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan.
Foreign Minister Roberto Alvarez
The new foreign minister has vowed to prioritize close relations with the United States and Spain, two of the key investors in the Dominican Republic.
Alvarez served as Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the Organization of American States (OAS) with the rank of Ambassador from June 2005 and September 2008.
He received a Master's degree in international relations (1982) from the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a Master's in Comparative Law from Georgetown University (1976), and holds a JD degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (1968).
Trade and Industry Minister Ito Bisono
Bisono, a 56-year old businessman and politician who favors free markets, will oversee the key portfolio dealing with Dominican exports, which last year grew 2.9 percent to $11.2 billion and is the country’s top revenue earner ahead of tourism and remittances. At the chamber of deputies he headed the finance subcommittee. His government experience includes serving as assistant to the Secretary of Public Works, assistant of the administrator of the Dominican Corporation of Electricity, assistant of the Dominican Council for Promotion of Foreign Investment and spokesperson of at the Administrative Board of the Dominican Marble Industry. He is not a member of Abinader's PRM party, but a longtime politician in the PRSC party until he recently became independent.
Energy & Mines Minister Antonio Almonte
Almonte will be overseeing the booming mining sector and problem-plagued electricity sector. He is a nuclear engineer who has served as president of the Dominican National Energy Commission (CNE) and as a consultant on electricity and renewable energy projects. Almonte holds a master in nuclear physics from the University of Surrey in England and a master in nuclear engineering from the Institute of Nuclear Studies in Madrid, Spain.
President’s Chief of Staff Lisandro Macarrulla
The gatekeeper of the new Dominican president is a businessman with experience in the cement sector who most recently served as head of the Sans Souci real estate project in Santo Domingo, which is developing a mixed residential and tourism area. He has been president of the country's top business group CONEP, the Dominican Industry Association(AIRD) and the Dominican Association of Construction Materials.
Attorney General Miriam German and Deputy Attorney General Yeni Berenice
German is a former Supreme Court judge who had been critical of the past government’s handling of Odebrecht corruption.
Berenice is a well-respected former prosecutor in Santo Domingo and Santiago who counts the late crusading Italian mafia judge and prosecutor Giovanni Falcone as her hero.
Ambassador to US Sonia Guzman
As Dominican trade minister from 2000 to 2004, Guzman led negotiations of the CAFTA-DR treaty and also served in other government roles promoting exports.
Most recently she was the academic vice dean for the local PUCMM university.
She is the first female Dominican ambassador to the United States.
Investment Promotion Agency Director Biviana Riveiro Disla
Riveiro heads up the investment promotion agency CEI-RD. She has worked as legal advisor to the Dominican telecom regulator Indotel and then-mayor David Collado in Santo Domingo and for five years served as executive director of the Young Businesspeople Association (ANJE) before becoming its president.
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