October 26, 2021

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Stronger Jointly – Ambassador Robin Bernstein’s AMCHAM Thanksgiving Speech

11 min read

Excellent afternoon to absolutely everyone right here now as we assemble for this American tradition of Thanksgiving.  Getting together this 12 months to give many thanks and be grateful, even if it is practically, is a testomony to the journey we have embarked on in 2020.  It has been a rollercoaster of a yr, and we have all confronted struggles.  But the essential issue is that we confronted people problems with each other, which is a powerful reminder of the primary concept of Thanksgiving.

Now, I am a lot more appreciative and grateful for my spouse and children, colleagues and friends – as we help each other and stand jointly through the ups and downs.  That is also legitimate of the partnership in between the Dominican Republic and the United States.  It has tested to be much more than being neighbors, far more than just a friendship, far more than just a partnership, for me, we are loved ones.  It has been said that families are the compass that guides us.  They are the inspiration to arrive at great heights, and they are there for us when we have to have assistance.  Our toughness and partnership is unwavering even in periods of wonderful transform.  We stand with each other, we rely on every other, as we have observed from our cooperation on COVID-19 to Secretary Pompeo’s historic check out in August to today.

When I to start with arrived, I created promises to you where I laid out my vision and plan to build a much better bilateral romantic relationship among our two terrific nations.  From safety and safety, investment and trade, disaster preparedness and training – I have kept my term.  This calendar year, even through the obstructions and difficulties that the coronavirus has brought us, we have labored on strengthening our relationship, bringing us nearer collectively, and doing the job to attain shared progress and success.  This partnership has a sturdy basis that will endure.

The United States carries on to help the Dominican Republic in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, illustrated by the international support manufactured possible by the American people’s generosity and the U.S. government’s motion.  Aid from the U.S. government in the Dominican Republic is just about at $9 million in assist of the COVID-19 reaction. This summer we completed a donation of 50 ventilators to supply existence-preserving machines across 13 hospitals in the Dominican Republic by USAID.  We also donated two industry hospitals with a 40-mattress ability and 4 ventilators every single, by the United States Southern Command.  The Centers for Disease Regulate has been working hand-in-hand since the beginning of the pandemic with community federal government partners to give technical assistance and guidance on how to reply.  We have also engaged the private sector by highlighting how U.S. companies add to the Dominican folks and have labored with AMCHAM to provide a virtual discussion board and possibilities to see how companies can correctly reply to the challenges. Our Public Affairs department provided $100,000 to Dominican designers who created medical sheets, scrubs, booties, and hats for frontline health care staff.

A lot of of us have misplaced relatives, pals and colleagues, and our hearts go out to each and every one who has experienced loss and agony.

In spite of COVID-19, we have nevertheless concentrated on the four pillars – Aspect – I recognized when I arrived in the region. S in SIDE is for safety and security and our safety partnership is stronger than ever. In regard to citizen safety, by way of SOUTHCOM we have presented PPE to Dominican companions and lately donated eight Jeeps to maximize the Dominican Navy’s capability to promptly deploy alongside the maritime border in assistance of maritime and land interdictions and other operations.  The U.S. govt, also through SOUTHCOM, donated a Around Coastal Patrol Vessel (NCPV) to the Dominican Navy valued at $8.5 million that builds the capacity and capacity to conduct maritime protection and counterdrug functions.

As international immediate expense is at the coronary heart of the “I” in Facet, we manufactured it a intention to strengthen the foreign investment ties between the United States and the Dominican Republic, and brought the Growth Finance Corporation for a visit back to the country.  I am especially proud of this accomplishment.  Even in the deal with of problems, we have been at the Presidential Palace final thirty day period where by we have been honored to participate in the ceremony to indicator the MOU that formally marks the incorporation of the Dominican Republic in the America Crece initiative.

The signing of the America Crece MOU between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic sets the stage for U.S. investment in infrastructure, energy, tourism, and other jobs that will bolster crucial industries, produce positions, and bolster the community financial state.  The DFC Chairman indicated that the United States is eager to assistance this exertion if the Dominican Republic follows by on crucial reforms that are essential to enhance the expenditure local climate.  The USAID Caribbean Vitality Initiative is also part of the America Crece initiative that aims to catalyze private investments in the electrical power sector that will modernize strength infrastructure and increase power resilience across the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean.

For the reason that the choice to spend in the Dominican Republic will finally be created by private corporations weighing a huge array of complicated variables, a clear, procedures-centered investment weather is essential.  We have been inspired by some of the new government’s statements and actions on this entrance, together with its dedication in the America Crece MOU to carry out new general public procurement legislation and establish financial investment jobs financed via general public-non-public companions in a way that is timely, transparent, and constant with international best techniques.  The Dominican Republic’s recent selection to sign up for the Clean Network is another significant step in ensuring that it maintains command of its robust digital and telecommunications infrastructure, which the non-public sector requires in get to thrive.

It also presents an incredible chance for the Dominican Republic to grow to be “La Perla del Caribe” in the hi-tech and innovation sectors in the region, as Undersecretary of State Keith Krach said on his current take a look at.

We glance forward to operating with the new government to implement those commitments.  We have by now carried out a excellent deal of operate as a result of USAID offering technical support to acquire new public procurement legislation, which we hope will be sophisticated soon.  We are also doing work with the Dominican federal government to detect further parts wherever we can assist the administration’s major reform priorities to advance transparency and a principles-primarily based small business local climate, and broaden access for compact and girls-owned organizations to government contracts.

And I would be remiss not to point out the powerful marriage our embassy proceeds to nurture with AmCham, which has been pivotal to advancing our mission priorities.  No matter whether it is delivering commercial companies to prospective U.S. traders, coordinating small business roundtables, or arranging occasions like Semana Dominicana, AmCham has labored aspect-by-aspect with us to assist provide our two nations closer than at any time just before.

On disaster preparedness and resilience, the “D” in Aspect, we accomplished many improvements.  The foundation we laid to be ready for a catastrophe authorized us to respond promptly to the pandemic. The area hospitals are one key example of this partnership.  I worked tirelessly to bring these hospitals to the Dominican Republic to be made use of for a natural disaster.  They arrived correct on time to reply to the wellness disaster in the most-desired regions in the state.  One of the field hospitals was offered by Dominican Vice President Raquel Peña to serve the Esperanza community in Valverde while their principal medical center gets renovated.  The other is now in Villa Vasquez in Monte Cristi.  Our partnership with the Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias (COE) goes back again numerous yrs, and we have noticed it evolve into 1 of the most effective early messaging and response coordination facilities in the region.  We also held an annual disaster preparedness occasion with AMCHAMDR for their associates to know how corporations can put together for natural disasters, especially in gentle of COVID.  By means of USAID, we worked with the COE to update the mobile software (Alerta COE), an early warning system app downloaded on your smartphone for all-natural disasters.

Eventually, the E is education – our job last yr to make partnerships involving Florida and Dominican bigger instruction establishments was vital in providing sources to uncover alternatives to the recent instructional troubles mainly because of COVID-19.  The Embassy funded five research and virtual exchange partnerships in between U.S. and Dominican greater education and learning establishments to address difficulties exacerbated by COVID-19 and to foment youth leadership advancement.  Twelve higher education investigate and exchange partnerships resulted from this summit and the Embassy implemented nine webinars showcasing finest practices and study that includes U.S. school.  Additional than 200 Dominican larger education and learning representatives participated in just about every webinar.  We also noticed a have to have to deliver much more English means just about and the Embassy funded the Open Studying English Program which provides much more than 500 Dominican youth with access to English and career preparation webinars, and mentoring and teaching for English instructors to transition to digital schooling.

With the privilege of staying my country’s Ambassador below, I have also aimed to be a voice for women and young children in this state.  In that vein, our initiative with Vitamin Angels to deliver prenatal vitamins to vulnerable expecting Dominican moms is really critical.  Focusing on making the ability for women business owners, last 12 months, I brought the pilot of the Academy of Women of all ages Business people or AWE to the Dominican Republic.  The 8-month schooling and mentorship application with 36 women entrepreneurs was so prosperous that we just lately released the second iteration of the plan for 30 girls throughout the state.  As a result of the Women’s World-wide Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP), USAID is partnering with nearby banking institutions to include ground breaking money goods that do not include hard collateral, opening up new sources to support the growth of gals-led businesses.

These days marks the 60th anniversary of the murder of the Mirabal sisters, and together we want to do a lot more to honor their memory by getting rid of violence from women and the most susceptible.  Together with the Dominican govt, we are operating to combat gender-primarily based violence, trafficking in people and to support human rights.

Additionally, I’m really proud of the light we are making an attempt to shine on promoting nutritious and successful existence for Dominican youth athletes as a result of our Protected application.  It really took root from my personalized knowledge with a young baseball player below whose leg was amputated due to a disreputable ‘buscon’ who injected him with steroids meant for a 1,000 pound horse, but it is similarly critical that all academic athletes are Sanos, Asegurados, Formados, and Exitosos (Harmless)! We have continued the conversation almost by acquiring every month discussions with popular athletes and baseball players on the Embassy’s social media platforms.

I would like to now present a visual illustration to demonstrate you how the journey of 2020 has so a lot we should be grateful for – roll the clip.

As we reflect on the previous and carry on to create on this astounding foundation in the existing, I can confidently say that we have paved the street for the continuation of a good foreseeable future.  It is by means of this sturdy partnership we have crafted that our two countries will go ahead with each other.  The two of us have faced many changes and challenges this yr – 2020 has not been uncomplicated – but we have a distinct route moving ahead.  The U.S. will collaborate to be certain that we are a associate in the new Dominican government’s eyesight to create additional options for overseas immediate financial investment by reforms and legislation that will make it a lot easier for corporations to compete by using general public procurement and far more chances for public-non-public partnerships.  We stand completely ready to support the new administration and carry on to be a husband or wife when it arrives to addressing the themes that they have highlighted, like anti-corruption, safeguarding your strategic assets, and transparency.  As I claimed prior to, the United States is ready for providers fascinated in investing in the DR and we are happy to collaborate to operate jointly to meet recent problems.

We also have an understanding of the need to make sure COVID-19 is beneath handle in the nation so that companies, tourism and the economy can get restarted.  Our colleagues at the CDC, USAID, and other sections of the U.S. authorities are collaborating throughout all sectors of the Dominican govt to make confident we can give the finest instruments, assistance, and guidance to reactivate vital sectors of the Dominican overall economy.

Last but not least, we are below to collaborate and be a lover for the new alternatives and problems the long term will bring – no matter if it be telecommunications, 5G, expanding ports, or any other expense and aid in citizen security or other critical components of the government.  We know how vital it is for a place to make confident they carry on to possess their strategic property.  That is why we are the Dominican Republic’s selection a single partner.  We have invested in a robust and resilient Dominican Republic. A democratic, protected, prosperous Dominican Republic is in both our pursuits.  That is crucial for ongoing U.S. investment, which is essential to Dominican economic growth. The Dominican people know what is at stake.

As I stated in the commencing, we are spouse and children – we are below for each individual other by way of the great and the poor.  Individually, for me, the Dominican Republic has become my 2nd property.  From the music – merengue and bachata – to the tradition, the foods, the baseball, the superb environmental magnificence of the beaches and mountains- but most of all the persons.

Ustedes son mi familia. Ha sido una experiencia única, de verdad. Ha superado mis expectativas. No sé si decir que mi percepción ha cambiado, sino que se ha profundizado. La calidez del pueblo dominicano y la energía con la que me han acogido a mí y a mi familia han sido realmente gratificantes. Este país está lleno de potencial y vamos a continuar fortaleciendo nuestra increíble relación bilateral en interés de ambos pueblos.

Como dijo George H. W. Bush: “No desconfío del futuro no le temo a lo que viene. Porque nuestros problemas son grandes, pero nuestro corazón es más grande”.

República Dominicana, siempre estarás en mi corazón. Somos más fuertes juntos.

Como siempre y para siempre – Estamos Unidos.

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