Local September 10, 2013 | 8:53 am

Tourism Police get an earful from ambassadors

Santo Domingo. – A gathering hosted by the Tourism Police (Politur) on Monday for the representatives from various countries to lay out its safety plans for tourism regions turned into a soap box on which diplomats voiced complaints from visitors from their country including Greater Santo Domingo’s traffic chaos, the detention of up to four hours for minor infractions and retained documents.

U.S. Embassy citizen affairs director Mary Fisk Telchi said visitors frequently complain that people with no authority retain their documents. "A common complaint we have is of American passports retained by entities which have no jurisdiction …such as car rentals or hospitals where passports are held."

Calling document retention by individuals without any authority “unacceptable,” Fisk noted that around 1.6 million U.S. tourists visit Dominican Republic every year.

The British Embassy affirmed that many UK tourists are detained for up to four hours for minor issues without justification, while Araceli Azuara, the OAS representative revealed that many foreigners complain of credit cards being cloned, and asked for stricter controls.

She also complained of the poor quality of the taxi services, many unmarked, “because they’re always colliding and one wonders if you’ll be the next to get hit."

Moreover, Mexico’s Ambassador griped about the alleged lack of authority in the Colonial Zone.

Saved by Chile

The gathering headed by Politur chief Justo Fernandez was saved from disaster by Chile’s representative, who refuting other diplomats, said the Colonial Zone can be visited without fear and noted that the image of insecurity which has been sold about the sector, is “no more than perception.”

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