Can one get by in the DR by strictly following the law?

InsanelyOne

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This may sound a little strange but it's been on my mind a lot lately. I read the DR1 forums frequently and a recurring topic is the amount of corruption and general disarray of most governmental systems and institutions. I've lived in the Caribbean for almost 4 years now and will be moving to the DR in a few months. I plan on staying for several years and intend on doing everything "by-the-book". I have a couple of acquaintances already living there and one was telling me that he always keeps a 500 peso note handy as you never know when you'll need it to get something done. I'm not quite sure if he's exaggerating. So here's my question:

Can you live in the DR without having to pay people off to get things done?

I have to confess I find the thought of bribery and extortion most offensive and upsetting. Am I just overreacting or is it as bad as some like to imply?
 

MrMike

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I have been here for 10 years and have never really had to pay any bribes. The few times I tried I didnt get what I wanted anyway, so I dont really see the point.

Most of the time in the DR you dont pay bribes for special treatment from government officials or to get away with things, you pay them to get officials to do anything at all resembling their normal job.

And even at that, making friends with them or someone they are afraid of is much more efective than a bribe.
 

amparocorp

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i don't think of it as bribery/extortion, i look at it as tipping. for example, in the US a speeding ticket is likely to cost 150 US dollars, plus your insurance premium will go up. i much prefer to give a dominican policeman a few hundred pesos and make a new friend.
 

InsanelyOne

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i don't think of it as bribery/extortion, i look at it as tipping. for example, in the US a speeding ticket is likely to cost 150 US dollars, plus your insurance premium will go up. i much prefer to give a dominican policeman a few hundred pesos and make a new friend.
Maybe with time my perspective will change but as it stands now I could never do something like that.
 

MrMike

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Nor do you need to. I have never heard of anyone geting a speeding ticket here. I have however been pulled over a few times for traffic related stuff. In all cases forgeting how to speak Spanish was more than enough to get waved on.
 

pyratt

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I've never paid a bribe, BUT...I have been known to hand the cop on the corner (NP) a cold bottle of water, pay one of the shoe shine mafia to shine his boots and occasionally buy a cup of coffee and share conversation....but only for those who I see constantly in the areas I frequent...thuss creating friendships with those charged to "keep an eye out"....while not looking for special treatment, I'm sure it puts them at ease with this "gringo".....and before it's stated, NO, I've never been asked for anything by them.
 

AlterEgo

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Jan 9, 2009
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Playa Najayo & South Jersey
No hablo Espanol

I have however been pulled over a few times for traffic related stuff. In all cases forgeting how to speak Spanish was more than enough to get waved on.
That works amazingly well for me too:squareeye It also works with the aduana at the airport. After traveling to DR for 33 years I've got the dumbass American gringa act down pat.
 

ffritz

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There is a favorite spot on the road from Navarrete to POP where the cops sit & flag down cars. We were stopped one Sunday & informed - with the aid of Universal Sign Language - that it was "National Police Day" & they were thirsty. 200 Pesos later they were our new friends lol.

As regards the ethical quandry of InsanelyOne, I look at it this way. The police are paid a pitiful wage. As a foreigner living here & not working we pay no taxes. A few Pesos every now & then is a small price to pay to keep thngs moving.
 
Mar 5, 2007
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it's nice to know that they try to enforce some traffic violations.
I remember last trip going from the airport to Costambar the taxi was following what looked like a new van but it had no rear lights NADA nothing just holes with wires hanging out. He also was not using any hand signals to indicate he was turning or stopping for this Gringo it was scary so much so my beard turned grey.
Oh sorry it was already WHITE
Santa