The Civil Status Offices of the Central Electoral Board worked under a regime similar to the one they currently operate Dominican consulateswith clear margins of discretion that ended up benefiting those who ran those entities.
This consisted of the civil status officer it was the one that established the price of the fees, which were charged for the services of the Civil Registry. In addition to how much was charged for documents such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, and how much did a Civil Status officer charge to celebrate a marriage both inside and outside the official office.
Each official, as explained Roberto Rosario, past president of the Central Electoral Board, it established a different cost without being interested in how this harmed the citizen.
In addition to this, the former president of the entity indicated that mafias were created around the oficialías, which hindered the process of obtaining the documentation of the people.
Something that facilitated this action was that, at that time, more than 98% of the jobs in these entities were manual. So, together with employees from within the Board and personnel from abroad, citizens were extorted, who sometimes had to pay large amounts of money to get a document, and even took long periods to get it, for those same reasons. obstacles.
The also former president of the Central Electoral Board (JCE) said that,Just like today, everyone knew about the situationso much so, that it had been dragging on since around the 80s and 90s.
The framework was there and everyone knew it, but it was not of interest to those who passed through the office, according to Rosario.
“We knew what was happening because, as the Listín Diario publishes it nowother media denounced it at that time”, he explained, adding that, taking into account the complaints that came out in written and televised media, in 2007 a regulation was submitted to the plenary session of the JCE so that it proceeded to declare such income as public.
In that regulation, as detailed by Rosario, it was established that, from that moment, the salary received by the Civil Status Officer It would become a salary that the JCE would pay, contrary to what happened previously, when everything paid to the official office covered the operating costs of the entity and the rest went to the benefit of that official.
The public servant declared that there were around 30 or 40 official offices that had monthly income of more than RD$800,000 and, in some cases, exceeding RD$2,000,000 per month.
At the time of starting up what is established by the submitted regulation, the first year there was an annual income, for that concept, of RD$600 million and in 2016 that figure was already RD$1,200 million for those self-management activities.
He explained that, in the case of consulates, there are some that work under the same criteria, giving as an example those of New York, Madrid, Barcelona and those of Haiti, where, in a certain way, they operate under the same mode. of “discretion, regularization and total autonomy” over the funds, which are contributed by the citizen.
“They are public funds that are handled privately and are used for the sole purpose of favoring someone,” said Rosario.
Likewise, he pointed out that the current government had promised in the campaign that, if it assumed the leadership of the State, it would resolve and eliminate these “privileges” and convert them into public revenue.
Which, if it were to happen, would improve the civil service offered by the consulates and citizens would receive a better and cheaper service. He also criticized The Dominican Republic currently has the most expensive consular service in Latin America.
And he argued that the Constitution puts the control and disposition of foreign policies in charge of the president, both from the administrative and functional spheres. “Only a decree from the president or a decision issued by the Mirex leadership is enough for this to be regularized just as the JCE did.”
“When I submitted the regulation, no one asked me, no one demanded it, there was simply the political will to reduce costs for citizens, to make their lives easier and make this service more efficient,” Rosario commented.
Also He explained that thanks to these incomes, 98% of the paperwork that was manual and currently 100% it is automated, adding to the fact that, in the same way, the assets of the JCE increased “substantially” and almost all the offices in the interior of the country were built with the resources that came from the payment of citizens.
Rosario said that this could happen now, that the foreign service that is offered to people be “efficient and dignified, which has become, “if not the principal, at least the second line of our economy in times of pandemic and post-pandemic”.
“Just as the Board did in 2007, Mirex can do the same now. It can issue a resolution or a regulation that the organic law allows, assuming control of those revenues,” he revealed, adding that these resources, which remain in the hands of consuls, must pass into the hands of Mirex or the sole account of the treasure of the Dominican Republic.
Rosario indicated that this act and its control of the administration lead only to corrupt practices that must be expelled from the State.
“There is no impediment and no law is required for it. I did not require a law for that, ”she expressed.
Roberto Rosario, also past president of the Administrative Chamber of the JCE between 2006-2010, considered that there is no political will from the government to solve the issue of the consular service so that it becomes a public action to benefit citizens and to the Dominican State.
“There is no political will of this government so that what is being doneusing the public function for private benefits, becomes an action or public policy that favors citizens and the State itself”, he said.
The political leader described that the consulates have a broad power to “penalize the citizen” through establishing costs or the rates of the services that they offer them in the foreign demarcations where they work.
Likewise, he spoke that this is a practice that is not new, that it is used as a “compensation or favoritism mechanism” towards certain people or even political leaders to use the function with the objective of developing financed political activities or simply enriching themselves, in that case. case, with resources that enter there.