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Sep 28, 1998

U.S. donates $550,000 to anti-crime effort

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That scandal safely defused, at least for the short run, it was time for the police to get back to the job they are hired to perform: that is fighting crime. And that job will be made a little bit easier thanks to some cash from Uncle Sam.

The agreement signed today with the United States, puts five hundred and fifty thousand dollars at the disposal of the Belize Police Force to be used in the fight against crime and drug trafficking. In his address at a brief ceremony at the Racoon Street Police Station, Minister of National Security, Jorge Espat who signed on behalf of Belize, reiterated his government’s zero tolerance for crime and drugs and said the helping hand from the U.S. couldn’t have come at a better time.

Jorge Espat, Minister of National Security

“It gives an indication of the United States government’s continued support to the government. It is also important to note that this year’s allocation is extremely larger than last year’s. I think we got about two hundred twenty thousand dollars last year. We’re now getting five hundred fifty thousand dollars and we have indicated three projects for those five hundred fifty thousand dollars. One is to construct the J.I.C.C. building in Belmopan, to assist the Belize Defence Force as well as to spend about a hundred and ten U.S. thousand dollars, I believe, for law enforcement development. So it’s is a good beginning for this new government.”

Commissioner of Police Ornel Brooks says that agreements such as the one signed this morning, go a long way in enabling the police force to carry out its duties locally as well as taking part fully in multilateral and bilateral cooperation.

Ornel Brooks, Commissioner of Police

“Our joint intelligence coordinating center has to be expanded for us to continue to play an effective role in the region and within the hemisphere as such and the funding that is being provided, for that project again, will go a long way in facilitating us.”

Q: “Also you acquired two new dogs to add to the canine section, that is obviously going to assist a great deal as well?”

Ornel Brooks

“Of course. In the past we had a canine section, but that had gone down because of the lack of maintenance. Now we have the infrastructure in place for us to have an effective canine section and the acquisition of these two new dogs will certainly go a long way in our fight against the scourge of drugs.”

That plague, according U.S. Ambassador Carolyn Curiel, can be the single most hindrance to effort at enhancing the development of a nation and commended both governments for joining hands in the fight against narco-trafficking.

Carolyn Curiel, U.S. Ambassador to Belize

“The scourge of drugs hurts both our societies in ways that may not even be apparent now. Drugs kill hope for young people and that takes a toll on the future, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If we work together in partnership, we can make a brighter future. And that’s what the people of Belize and the people of the United States deserve.”

This is not the first time that sweet words have been uttered and a check passed between the United States and Belize. Perhaps when a Belizean drug baron is finally behind bars in Hattieville will those words be taken seriously by the public. Patrick Jones for News Five.

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