Rant For The Day

It has been a while since I have had anything to rant about. I have done a fair job of shedding the Type A personality that was a requirement for the 30 years I worked in Ross Perot companies. Every once in a while I get a flash back and things, that might not bother others, bother me.

Today was one of those days. I went to Boquete to visit a friend that lives in Valle Escondido. I have been other times without problems, but today was different. If you have never been to Valle Escondido, it has a guard gate you must pass through.

Since I was going to a residence, I had to request a card that allowed passage through the automated gate. Today, the guard asked to see some identification. I assumed it was to record my name for security reasons. I had no problem with that and handed him my pensionado card. He took it and returned with the electronic gate card.

I asked about my pensionado card and he said he would give it back when I left. I told I didn’t like that, but since I was on a tight schedule, I went on.

When I later returned to the gate to exit, the same fellow came out to get the gate pass. I asked about my pensionado card, and he turned around and went back into the gate house. He came back and reached for the gate pass without extending his hand which held my card. When I would not give him his card without having mine in hand, he decided to go back in and talk on the phone. Annoying!

When he returned and gave my card, I gave him the electric gate pass. He said it was management policy to take the card. If it is indeed management policy, then it really needs to be rethought.

I was more than a little bit angry. I make it a policy to never relinquish my passport or pensionado card to anyone. In Panama, documents, such as that, have a way of disappearing, or information misused. Getting a replacement is costly and very time consuming.

Had I been a person looking at a property to buy or rent in Valle Escondido, I would have made the decision not to do so based on today’s experience.

I agree with a gated community knowing that it is admitting only authorized people. However, the guard did not ask who I was going to see. He did not have previous notification from the person I was going to see, telling him to expect me. He did not call the residence to see if they were expecting me. Therefore, he provided no security. He didn’t even look at my card to verify that the photo was me.

Supposedly, keeping my card was to insure that I would return their electronic gate card. I prefer not to lose control of items that have inputting information on them, such as passport numbers.

Los Molinos, has a guard gate too, and they record your name when you enter. I have only entered Los Molinos to go to the restaurant. I have also visited the gated community of La Barqueta. You go not get through that gate unless the guard has talked to the owner of the house you are visiting.

Today is the last time I will go to Valle Escondido and give up my identification card. Call it a lack of trust. There is too much identity theft in today’s world.

Well, that is my first rant in 2012. I hope it is the last. I am sure Lilliam does too. Lilliam gets annoyed when I rant.

7 thoughts on “Rant For The Day

  1. i don’t blame you for the rant…that is some nerve the guard had to re-write protocol. we were coming back from david when we saw an american (gringo) broke down on side of road right by las ruinas. we pulled over & found out he blew a water hose. he said he was on his way to visit a friend who lives in valle escondido. we drove him there. the guard at the entrance accepted readily the name of the friend he was there to visit & let our car through without further ado. now in my mind that is a bit lack of security. sounds to me as they don’t have a happy balance of security.

  2. Justifiable rant in my opinion.
    We tried to visit the Valle in 2002 or 2003. It was just getting started then, the Ngäbe had been denied use of the valley for the first time in history to get to their jobs on the fincas to pick coffee as they had done for decades. We drove up the the gate house just on a sightseeing tour and were denied entry. The guard explained that we had to get a pass for admission in the office in town.
    The whole experience reminded me of the old Canal Zone establishment. The Zonians were a class apart from every other group in Panama. The US military was the lowest class, followed by Panamanians. The Zonians only associated with Zonians but they were somehow experts on all things Panamanian. Personally, if I were going to live in a foreign country, the last place I would want to live would be a gated community. What’s the point of living overseas if you are just going to create a little slice of USA to live in?
    We have never been back to the Valle.
    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx

  3. I live here and I want to apologize for the rude treatment. I watch as people come in and out of the gate with not so much as a pause. I also watch taxi cabs pass through secondary gates punching codes. Recent employee changes have resulted in the loss of an extremely professional man who ran Security here without flaw.
    I regard you as one of the few ex-pats here who is trustworthy and fair; you have a well established profile in the community. This should never have happened!

  4. I was in Valle cE. just 2 months ago…just had to tell them I was “looking”….been there before, never had a problem…
    imo, in a gated community (we build in such ,and i would not want to live in one, my wife does though…we dont now), the guard should write down your info, like driver lic , car plates when you enter ,write down whom you are visiting , probably should call them to see that is is ok, and then write down when you exit…NOT take or hold anything. Sopunds like a new guard , maybe rules changed ,OR he changed them on his own…I think a call to Valle E. is in order to verify and possibly tell them they are wrong.

  5. In Panama is not “legal” and not allowed that your Cedula be given at any place and for them to keep. Some security people ask you for any other type of documents with your photograph. I agree that owners, managers, supervisors of security companies at any installation, company, government institution should look for other measures of control for visits and people entering their places.

  6. This reminds me of when an immigration officer came to our house to interview us for our pensionado visas in Nicaragua. She asked to see all the regular documentation we already submitted for our pensionado visas. Then she asked how we received our money since we couldn’t open a Nicaraguan bank acct. without residency. We told her we had a bank in the states and we used an ATM card. She asked the name of our bank and our acct. number. We played ignorant. Then, she asked to see our ATM card. She grabbed the card out of my husband’s hands and COPIED the number of our ATM card into her notebook. She turned it over on the back and looked at the security code, but she didn’t copy the code number into her little notebook. We were SHOCKED! After she left, we called our bank and canceled our ATM card and had them issue us new cards. I am still dumbfounded! And the worst part is that we can’t report her to immigration because they may deny us our residency. We should be getting our cedulas next week. Believe me, I am going to rant about this and report her after we receive our cedulas.

  7. I took a look at your blog, which may be read by clicking on your comment name. It looks like you have a real adventure ahead of you in Nicaragra.

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