In The Sun?
|Is It Still
Safe To Live As An Expatriate In The Dominican Republic?
|by Ginnie Bedggood
the daily newspapers in the Dominican Republic attest to rising
rates of crime, some of a violent nature, a burgeoning drug culture and
some 36% of the population living below the poverty line (which means
on less than US$2 a day). So, is it still safe to live as an expatriate
in the Dominican Republic or is Dominican society falling apart? Can the
American and European retirement population still find their piece of paradise
in the sun, to make their golden years truly golden, or do they have to
surround themselves with high tech security devices in order to protect
themselves against robbery........and worse?
It is certainly
true that the current Dominican Republic is not the same as the
one this writer emigrated to more than 12 years ago.
were few expatriates, those who were here integrated with the Dominican
population, drugs on the streets were virtually unheard of and crime rates
were very low.
All of that
has changed as what is after all, a third world country (or a 'developing
country' for the politically correct) struggles to enter the twenty
first century. In fact what is happening here is in many ways similar to
what happened in other parts of the world 50 years ago and more.
move from countryside to town, an agrarian economy becoming more industrialised,
a switch of focus from extended to nuclear family and, yes, drug vending
and associated crime.
None of this
is peculiar to the Dominican Republic - it is the hallmark of 'progress'
with all its attendant ills. Add to this mix 4 years of the most corrupt
Government the Dominican Republic has ever had (2000-2004) and
rising unemployment and it is not difficult to see why some crime exists.
In the last few years US citizens have 're-found' the Dominican Republic.
whilst escalating, still seem a 'snip' to Europeans and Americans
alike. Rates on interest gained on investments are far higher than in most
Western countries, making it possible to live on the interest gained and
never dip into the capital.
has the benefit of being tax free although this could well change. The
weather is wonderful (other than during hurricanes!) and the indigenous
population is friendly and helpful. So in many ways the Dominican Republic
is an ideal retirement destination.
If you are
some of the newer foreign arrivals would appear to have more money than
sense. They can afford an opulent lifestyle in what is, after all, a third
not to bother to learn the language (Spanish), the culture and the
mores of the country they have chosen to call 'home'.
All this demonstrates
for economically poorer Dominicans is the lifestyle gap......well, more
of a crater than a gap. And not surprisingly, a people who are not resentful
of others' good fortune by nature, are likely to have feelings of social
injustice, which has been known to manifest itself in some robbery of expatriate
But, this has
to be put in perspective. It is not a crime wave and there are many other
countries which are far, far worse.
We had a recent
visitor from South Africa who could not believe that golf clubs can be
left in a car port of a low walled house without disappearing. And in fact
the only crime which impinges upon the expatriate population is the occasional
robbery - all easily avoidable with sensible precautions.
Crimes of violence
are virtually unheard of in relation to the expatriate population; when
they do occur, there is always a 'reason'.
for their piece of paradise could do a lot worse than move to the Dominican
But only after
doing a lot of research, making a start on understanding the country and
its people and being determined to integrate as far as possible with the
Those not prepared
to make these adjustments had better head to Florida!
Index ~ Dominican
Republic Index ~