The pastors, vicars and Chaplains of 12 churches, two temples and five shrines of the Colonial Zone came together to deal with a big problem in the neighborhood. Reverend Padre Nelson Rafael Clark from the Sanctuary of La Altagracia, Friar Santiago Batista, San from Iglesia Miguel and Vicar Evaristo Heres of Iglesia Santa Barbara came together with the Union of Neighborhood of Colonial Zone/ Unión de Juntas de Vecinos de la Zona Colonial to discuss the problem.
As reported on June 20, 2012 that authorities are granting permits without controls for business operating in the area. This has brought unrest and distress to families whom have lived in the area for generations.
Priests Nelson Clark y Fray Santiago Batista spoke about how the noise and chaos disturbs the people who live in the Zona Colonial area. They compared the noise, drunkenness and promiscuity as Sodom y Gomorrah. Many of the neighbors spoke of their personal experiences and problems with the noise and chaos as well.
Some of the main complaints is the proximity of these businesses that sell liquor to the churches and chapels of the Colonial City. The lack of police protection in the night gives way to much crime and delinquency in the streets.
Other complaints include the lack of control when granting permits for the operation of restaurants, bars, cafés and nightclubs in the Zona Colonial. It has gone so far as giving permits for bars and nightclubs, playing music much too loud, that are within walking distance of the Church of Our Lady of La Altagracia. This would have been unheard of in the past. There have been a few “undesirable” bars in the area before and all have been shut down.
The priests signed a document and press release at a press conference held at the Church of Our Lady of La Altagracia. The priests met with the press along with many concerned neighbors claiming that the situation in the Colonial Zone is leaving many of its residents uneasy and that they have the right to live in peace. They want to know how businesses can open with no permits or regulations. They also stated that they did not think anything would change because many of the politicians and officials children are frequent visitors to these businesses.
The pastors said that the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo is increasingly open to entertainment centers thus making fewer places where families can share a happy healthy lifestyle. There are 42 bars, discotheques and Cafes and over 60 Colmados in the Colonial City. They also pointed out that late night and into the early morning hours loud music can be heard out into the streets from these businesses selling alcoholic beverages. They also denounced the use of drugs, the practice of homosexuality and other sexual acts in public places.
Also reported a general sense of chaos and disrespect. People are parking wherever, sidewalks are virtually impassible be it with cars parked half on the walkways or people standing or sitting blocking passage. People are parking in front of the church doors and parking garages barring entry to the residents. There is constant honking and loud music coming from passing cars setting off vehicle alarms. People leaving the establishments are loud and obnoxious being loud at all hours of the night and early morning with no respect for the peoples living in the homes that line the streets. There is always spilled trash on the streets and many broken bottles. The streets, walls and doorways smell like urine where people feel free to relieve themselves on the doors, walls and even inside entryways of family homes and churches.