|Headline reads: Who will be the President?|
Back to the question of why elections are so heated here. Many government positions are appointed. That is not uncommon in the US, however, here the appointments may go down even to affecting who runs individual public schools, fire
departments, police stations, and all government offices. Governors are appointed for all provinces. If your job, or your relatives job was on the line because of an election, it might create some stress, anxiety, or stir up emotions in you.
Yesterday being election day, by law there were not to be any public gatherings that could be in any way construed to be political. There was a 24 hour ban on selling liquor, or public drinking. We were even told that a curfew was in place after 10 pm, and anyone could be arrested wandering the streets at night. Almost all the churches in the country canceled their Sunday services because of the elections. I say almost, because we went to a Haitian service in the morning, as many of these Haitians do not have a right to vote, they have work permits only (if that). Estimates are are saying that there are between 1 to 2 million Haitians in the Dominican Republic. We had a great service as this small church celebrated their 2nd year anniversary as a fellowship. There were 25 people in a 10 ft. by 12 ft. room (the size of a small bedroom),
They are praying about buying a piece of land for their future church building. They are $5000.00 US short. It was a unique service for me as I translated for the English speaker (Evangelist Landis White) into Spanish, and in turn Pastor Frantz translated into Creole.
|Pastor Frantz, myself, and Evangelist Landis White|
Today the mood was festive as the winning party celebrated by organizing purple flag waving caravans, with horns blaring. These are processionals with cars, trucks and buses in line causing all kinds of traffic jams. We saw one pick-up truck dragging a car door on the street behind them to make noise as they announced their victory.
The new president Danilo Medina has talked about changing the education system. Currently because of lack of public facilities for school use, most children only go to school half a day, either from 7:30 am to 12:00 noon, or 1:00 pm to 5:30 pm. He has said he favors a system more like the US, where children will study until 3 pm. How to make a change like this will be interesting to watch. He is saying he would start with one new grade added every year. He is talking about 12 years to incorporate these changes. He would have to count on the next president(s) following through on this goal. Unfortunately, history here has shown that plans made by one party, are not necessarily followed up by another party. In general, though, there is a feeling of stability in the air, as the PLD (Partido de la Liberacion Dominicana/The Dominican Liberation Party) continues at the helm of the nation.