Local January 18, 2024 | 11:20 am

Fraudulent scheme in Sierra de Bahoruco National Park exposed

Santo Domingo.- The Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) and the Coalition for the Defense of Protected Areas have raised concerns about a purported scheme where unidentified individuals seek billions of pesos in compensation from the State by falsely claiming ownership of 70% of the lands within the Sierra de Bahoruco National Park.

In a press conference at the UASD, led by Luis Carvajal, the president of the UASD Environmental Commission, and Eleuterio Martínez, the president of the Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic, the alarming issue was brought to light. Carvajal stressed that despite the Sectoral Law on Protected Areas allowing fair compensation for legitimate owners, recent claims lack refined property rights.

Carvajal disclosed that seven lawsuits have been filed against the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources by individuals asserting ownership of nearly 70% of the national park’s 1,100 square kilometers without substantiated property rights.

The UASD, through its Environmental Commission and the Coalition for the Defense of Protected Areas, pledged to remain vigilant and take necessary measures to prevent the illicit enrichment of those attempting to falsely claim ownership of national parks.

Martínez indicated that the coalition had filed an appeal with the Superior Administrative Court as an initial step to protect the Sierra de Bahoruco Park. While acknowledging the legal actions taken by the Ministry of the Environment and the administrative Attorney General’s Office, Martínez emphasized the importance of further investigations by these institutions and the judicial system’s control bodies.

The coalition, which includes organizations such as the Acción Verde Foundation, the Jaragua Group, the Moscoso Puello Foundation, and the Cibao Ecological Society, urged the Real Estate Jurisdiction to halt the “scandalous” violation of registration blocks imposed by law on protected areas.

The Sierra de Bahoruco National Park spans the provinces of Barahona and the border provinces of Pedernales and Independencia, covering an area of just over 1,100 square kilometers.

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Paul Tierney
January 18, 2024 12:30 pm

There will be chaos coming out of this. Mayde, there are true owners. Can it be expected that there will be many owners for same parcels of lands? In the past the government had some form of title and/or permit allowing people to cultivate and/or harvest wood from designated areas. This may be part of the chaos that some people are using to make gains at government expense. We can expect to hear more stories about this,