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Old 21-09-2014, 07:49   #1
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Crooks In Dominican Republic

I went to The BVI and picked up my CAT and headed back to Fl with a friend and 2 guys that do delivers. We had to stop in the DR twice each time was a medical emergency and had to put a crew member off at each stop.
I could not believe the corruption and demand for Money from the military and then the plain clothes authorities . They came on my boat 1 military and 3 plain clothes thugs and were quite intimidating . Some could speak limited english and some could not .
I was so angry over the treatment of the crooks I hopefully will never go back. I just kept my mouth shut and did not show any emotion or act up set
But I am an old Special Forces guy, I know a bad situation when it is happening, and the hair on the back of my neck was on end the whole time .
Now as far as the general Public they were very friendly and helpful.
But I noticed when the Military came around they backed away and became very Quite.
So be ready for bribes when you go there or best yet STAY AWAY!!!
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Old 21-09-2014, 07:52   #2
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Re: crooks in Dominican Republic

I said bribes what I meant was a demand for money!!!
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Old 21-09-2014, 07:56   #3
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Re: crooks in Dominican Republic

Demands for money in the DR???? You are the first to experience this - no one else knew about it!!! Thanks for the warning!

Just having fun - I think everyone else already understands the situation there (surprised you hadn't heard of it before). And it isn't unique - you will find similar in other parts of the world's common cruising grounds.

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Old 21-09-2014, 08:14   #4
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Re: crooks in Dominican Republic

we had just the opposite experience -- we went into boca chica to wait out a blow and 4 guys came on board and did the most compete inspection we have had yet and they insisted that one of us go with them at all times -- were we intimadated? nope - a couple were obvious undercover as when they bent over to look under or around something the very large gun in the back of their pants became visable -- they were courtsy and kind to us - did we pay something extra - yes but is was not required and not asked for and was done well after they left and done through a 3rd party - we have done that before

so i guess our experience is just the opposite of yours --
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Old 21-09-2014, 08:17   #5
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Re: crooks in Dominican Republic

Quote:
Originally Posted by rancher44 View Post
I went to The BVI and picked up my CAT and headed back to Fl with a friend and 2 guys that do delivers. We had to stop in the DR twice each time was a medical emergency and had to put a crew member off at each stop.
I could not believe the corruption and demand for Money from the military and then the plain clothes authorities . They came on my boat 1 military and 3 plain clothes thugs and were quite intimidating . Some could speak limited english and some could not .
I was so angry over the treatment of the crooks I hopefully will never go back. I just kept my mouth shut and did not show any emotion or act up set
But I am an old Special Forces guy, I know a bad situation when it is happening, and the hair on the back of my neck was on end the whole time .
Now as far as the general Public they were very friendly and helpful.
But I noticed when the Military came around they backed away and became very Quite.
So be ready for bribes when you go there or best yet STAY AWAY!!!
I am curious and the following are sincere questions asked in a friendly tone of voice.

How did the demands for money come across? For what purpose or reason did the officials give? What did they say?

Did they give any kind of "official papers" that show any receipt of fees?
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Old 21-09-2014, 08:20   #6
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Re: crooks in Dominican Republic

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Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
we had just the opposite experience -- we went into boca chica to wait out a blow and 4 guys came on board and did the most compete inspection we have had yet and they insisted that one of us go with them at all times -- were we intimadated? nope - a couple were obvious undercover as when they bent over to look under or around something the very large gun in the back of their pants became visable -- they were courtsy and kind to us - did we pay something extra - yes but is was not required and not asked for and was done well after they left and done through a 3rd party - we have done that before

so i guess our experience is just the opposite of yours --
You wrote you paid through a third party. How was the payment determined and for what purpose given?

Was the third party a professional "agent?"
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Old 21-09-2014, 14:26   #7
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Re: Crooks In Dominican Republic

I am a newbie on this site. I am doing research for possibly cruising in the future. Can I ask in what ports you experienced this treatment? While I have not cruised the DR I have traveled there many times (even have an ex-wife from there - another story). It is my experience that this type of corruption is common but regional. The farther away you get from Santo Domingo, the more corruption you will encounter. If you are a gringo, you are fair game. I had an immigration officer at the POP airport try to touch me for a propina once. I wonder if you had exact amounts for the different amounts due, showed lack of Spanish speaking ability, a copy of the governmental regulations in plain view they would have treated you the same. This is disturbing to me because the DR was on my list of places I wanted cruise.
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Old 21-09-2014, 14:58   #8
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Re: Crooks In Dominican Republic

So sorry you had a bad experience! But what a totally different experience from ours in May. We were on the Southern Coast and entered the country in Salinas though had first anchored for a few nights in Isa Beata. There were absolutely no issues with clearing in, in fact it was rather fun. Next we sailed over to Barahona than on to Marina Zarpar in Boca Chita.

Clearing out was the real issue. But the staff at Marina Zarpar went so far as to give us a free night when the weather closed in and we had to wait to leave thus forcing us to go through Clearance procedures a 2nd time. We then spent several days at Isla Saoma before being able to cross the Mona.

We NEVER had anyone ask for money other than regular fees. Everyone except the officials in Boca Chica were polite and accommodating. (In Boca Chica they were polite just far from accommodating). I posted the issue on noonsite.

Boca Chica: Yachts must leave immediately after Departure Clearance — Noonsite

You can also read about our adventures on the coast of Hispanola on our blog
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Old 21-09-2014, 18:42   #9
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Re: Crooks In Dominican Republic

To answer the questions
The officials did not give us receipts they just said they need like 100 to let us leave
That was at one port. The day before [in that port ]I had wanted to clear so we could leave early in morning .I also ask how much more was I going to have to pay to leave --I didn't find out until the next day.
The next port was Lupren and to skip all the details there was so much confusion we kept asking what else do we need to do before we can leave one of the Military said we could go. Well another came down to the dock as we were getting ready to leave and he was really pissed off. He said he had to go to the boat . Thats when the goons came down and they all demanded to go to the boat. They looked in he saloon and then were still kind of ruffled. The water taxi came by to take them to port and that was the third party . They kept hesitating on leaving and finally the driver said they expected a tip-- So we paid .
I do not like to be held up I had no idea that this is common practice - Who determinds what is fair --Is it based on how much you look like you have ? What would they have done to us we we had refused --KILL US ?
Take our boat ? I had a message from one member and they demanded 1000 for him to leave the DR. He finnally settled for 110
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Old 21-09-2014, 19:01   #10
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Re: Crooks In Dominican Republic

I heard the same sort of story from Rep Dominicana before. First hand.

It is apparently a common practice in that country.

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Old 21-09-2014, 19:07   #11
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Re: Crooks In Dominican Republic

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Originally Posted by rancher44 View Post
To answer the questions
The officials did not give us receipts they just said they need like 100 to let us leave
That was at one port. The day before [in that port ]I had wanted to clear so we could leave early in morning .I also ask how much more was I going to have to pay to leave --I didn't find out until the next day.
The next port was Lupren and to skip all the details there was so much confusion we kept asking what else do we need to do before we can leave one of the Military said we could go. Well another came down to the dock as we were getting ready to leave and he was really pissed off. He said he had to go to the boat . Thats when the goons came down and they all demanded to go to the boat. They looked in he saloon and then were still kind of ruffled. The water taxi came by to take them to port and that was the third party . They kept hesitating on leaving and finally the driver said they expected a tip-- So we paid .
I do not like to be held up I had no idea that this is common practice - Who determinds what is fair --Is it based on how much you look like you have ? What would they have done to us we we had refused --KILL US ?
Take our boat ? I had a message from one member and they demanded 1000 for him to leave the DR. He finnally settled for 110
I suspect language was a big reason for communication problems but also knowledge of local customs. They hesitated waiting for a tip. Is this different than a hotel bellman or concierge? Or a taxi driver? It's a local custom, but if you don't give it, then I don't know of anything bad happening. Tipping customs in the US are very different than Europe so travelers generally have to learn.

Even mentally thinking of them as goons isn't going to make things more pleasant. As I understand it, both visits were unplanned, both included offloading a crew member, so not exactly routine visits. You say they demanded money-How much over a reasonable fee? We go to the Bahamas and they "demand" money-$300 as that's the entry fee for us. Oh, they also "demand" departure tax for all over 4 people (4 covered by entry fee).

I'm sorry but all I heard reading was your feeling they were pissed, your feeling they were ruffled, your feeling they were goons, your feeling you were held up and great harm would have come had you failed to tip them. But the only specific thing that you've said happened was they "hesitated" when leaving, anticipating you'd give them a tip. I've read of those who didn't and had no problem. I would tip simply in appreciation of them allowing me to visit their country. And requiring $100 to leave doesn't somehow shock or appall me. Most countries have some form of entry and/or departure fees.
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Old 21-09-2014, 19:11   #12
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Re: Crooks In Dominican Republic

Here is what happened to one Canadian guy in DR last year.

Sailing Vessel Beruta Ship's Log: An Unpublished Noonsite Article About My Voyage from Curacao to Dominican Republic's Prison
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Old 21-09-2014, 19:28   #13
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Re: Crooks In Dominican Republic

Sounds like a classic case of "La Mordida" (the bite). The philosophy in many south american countries is why should the innocent pay the salaries of the police? Why not the criminals instead? Of course this can be abused, but that's the reasoning behind expecting the criminals to augment the paltry salaries paid to the police.

Now, I'm not at all suggesting you were a criminal, but that philosophy extended is - why should the poor citizens of the DR pay the salaries of people who check boaters in/out of the country? Shouldn't the boaters pay? The compromise is the DR pays a small salary and the boaters are expected to augment their wages through gratuities.

The amount of the gratuity is typically dependent on the level of service you require. For example, check-in during normal business hours and the expectation is minor. Check-in during a holiday or late at night and you are expected to compensate for putting them to work during their off-time. They surely won't be compensated for the extra work from the government. If you were called into work at all hours, wouldn't you have some sort of compensation expectation?

I'm not suggesting it's right nor wrong. Only that it's a different mind-set. One that you don't have to agree with, but by understanding where they are coming from you may feel better about the "system".
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Old 21-09-2014, 19:39   #14
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Re: crooks in Dominican Republic

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Originally Posted by rancher44 View Post
I said bribes what I meant was a demand for money!!!
If you don't mind, how much money are we talking about? Above and beyond the normal fees I mean...
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Old 21-09-2014, 19:53   #15
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Re: Crooks In Dominican Republic

Pretty much all of 3rd Wolrd operates like that. We're easy marks for them and the mentality is - if you have the $$$ to sail a nice 40-50ft boat and not be at work you certainly can afford a few extra bucks for the locals.

A friend was once telling me a story of delivering a boat through Suez Canal. There were angry yells for "bakshish" (money or payment in Arabic he guessed) at each stopping point all the way during the transit. The boat was nice but the crew were rag tag East Europeans so after figuring that the locals backed off from asking hundreds of $$ and "settled" for $50 altogether in extra bribes.
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