Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal, flanked by nearly every one of his top ministry officials, met with press Dec. 14 to review the ministry’s work since he had assumed leadership in May.
The minister said that Costa Ricans “could feel the increased presence” of police on the streets of San José and other cities, and said this week’s graduation of specially trained Tourist Police (see separate story) would add much needed security to the beach towns of Guanacaste, which are currently experiencing out-of-control crime.
Berrocal told the press that he wasn’t “psychologically prepared” for the problems he encountered in the General Immigration Administration, which forms part of the Public Security Ministry, but officials have carried out a “total cleansing” of the administration.
Immigration Director Mario Zamora acknowledged he inherited an institution near collapse, but said he is working to modernize it and eventually digitalize its operations. Zamora added that he expected to present a bill to reform the current Immigration Law in January.
Monday, as a fruit of those labors, the regional immigration office in Puntarenas, on the Pacific coast, processed the first passport outside of San José, giving hope to many who fear the chaos and exaggerated wait times involved in getting passports from the central Immigration offices in west San José.