Expert lists safety violations in top Dominican tourism region

DominicanToday.com July 15th - “Tourists come here looking to enjoy their vacations in a safe place and unfortunately it’s the last thing they find”

A DT reader and building security expert contacted us on concerns of what he describes as serious violations in the major hotels of the Bavaro-Punta Cana area.

We agreed not to disclose their name for now but given the gravity of the reported violations DT repeatedly tried to contact the Tourism vice minister for the East Region, Dr. Virgilio Cedano for comment, and from a spokesperson for the National Hotels and Restaurants Association:

“Dear Mr. Pineda, a thousand congratulations for such a well oriented digital magazine with clear and precise information, without blindfolds or half truths.”

“As they say in my country; ‘cut to the chase’.”

“As I commented yesterday during our telephone conversation, I’ve been witness to some situations that violate basic security regulations against fire in hotels and public transport, which possibly puts the economy of the Punta Cana area at risk and the rest of the Republic from the negative publicity if this type of event occurs, or what’s worse, the danger it poses for the lives of guests and many parents and mothers whom must look for their daily sustenance in these companies that don’t count on adequate security systems against fire, or because of obsolete equipment or have incorrect or lack any maintenance.”

“Some of the defects found were: Extinguishers either empty or rusted, which were sandpapered and painted over. This is a serious violation because they hide damage which can cause a serious accident, this equipment is recharged with high pressure and an oxidized equipment can explode and hurt or kill the technician working on it. Old hoses without water, broken, rotted, and without hydrostatic tests.”

”Extinguishers without the annual checks. Disconnected emergency lights. Disconnected emergency alarms, electrical cables within the water cistern … and many other things that if I continue I won’t finish.”

”My strongest criticism is of the insurance companies that know what occurs here and then look the other way what interests them is to acquire the premiums and don’t pay if something happens because they know that these lodgings are violating the regulations.”

“These supposed companies contract “expert technicians" in the area of fire extinguishing equipment without the due technical preparation and much less with due certifications. Everything to save a few pennies.”

”They don’t realize that if a fire breaks out it’s unfortunately going to affect property and human lives. After this occurs comes the regrets and mostly the blame game but they’ll be subjected to lawsuits in the millions when it’s proven that the equipment was damaged and/or in inadequate conditions for use.”

”Tourists come here looking to enjoy their vacations in a safe place and unfortunately it’s the last thing they find.”

”In February this year my company hosted a seminar in the Barcelo Hotels Convention Center, free of charge and aimed at security against fires in tourism establishments in the Punta Cana-Bavaro area. I expected a maximum of between 40 to 50 people, but to my surprise the salon was filled with 180 personnel from different hotels and different tourist points attended, interested in knowing more about improving the security of property, guests and employees.”

”We could state the concern that exists among the personnel which toils day to day in these hotels and recognize the chaotic situation which most of this area’s lodgings are now in.”

”For two weeks I had met with Dr. (Virgilio) Cedano and have been explaining this situation in detail and asked him to give this proposal personally to the Minister of Tourism. I understand that Don Virgilio is a person with high civic values and morals, for which I decided to inform him of the situation in which affect part of the hotels in this area.”

”During the course of next week it will contact him to find out if the letter was delivered and the Minister’s reaction to this situation. If I decided to break my silence it’s for reasons of creating awareness. I don’t want to be part of what can be prevented and for that reason I am raising the voice of alarm.”

”But from now on I will send him photos so that he can see what I am telling him. I appreciate your interest and you already know where to contact me for additional information. I hope that with their help the responsible agencies will intervene in the matter and in that way prevent a major tragedy. I wish you success in your endeavor.”

Sincerely, (Name Omitted)

EDITOR’S NOTE: DT is awaiting a comment by Virgilio Cedano, and a spokesperson for the National Hotels and Restaurants Association (Asonahores), whose president Haydee Kuret de Rainieri is out of the country, according to a receptionist of the Group’s executive Karen Gomez.

Go back | Date: 16 Jul 2010
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