Local February 22, 2013 | 3:35 pm

Bahia de las Aguilas scandal wanes…political blame game gains

Santo Domingo.- The Minister of Tourism on Friday said president Hipolito Mejia’s Decree 273-201 declaring eminent domain is at the root of the Bahia de las Aguilas land scandal. "With that decree the president (Mejia) says the state didn’t own the land and instructs National Assets to pay for the expropriated land."

Francisco Javier Garcia said after the decree, the Justice Minister during Mejia’s Administration halted all prosecution on those grounds.

The official, one of three commissioners who recommended “transacting” with the holders of titles, most of which were the result of forgery, lauded president Danilo Medina’s decision to settle the land dispute in court.

He warned however that "the South’s tourism development has no chance without Pedernales. I maintain it and sustain it,” he said, referring to the province where Bahia de las Aguilas is located.

Garcia also slammed the Academy of Sciences’ criticism of the development plan, because instead of a research organization, in his view has become an entity dominated by leaders of the opposition party (PRD).

He showed an alleged report of the Academy of Sciences from 2004, during Mejía’s administration, which notes: ‘one of the best opportunities to develop tourism is Bahia de Las Aguilas’.

The study, entitled "Technical Proposal to develop Bahia de las Aguilas," calls the area’s tourism potential " immeasurable and one of the best options for this industry."

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