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Mar 29, 2012

CARSI; millions spent on Central America Security

Maria Otero

The Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) has made contributions to the Belize Defense Force as well as the Belize National Coastguard. During her press conference this morning, Maria Otero spoke of the accomplishments by law enforcement in Belize resulting from the relationship with the United States.

 

Maria Otero, Under Secretary of State

“The United States is providing significant assistance through CARSI. Through CARSI, we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to disrupt criminal networks, to build investigative and prosecution capacity and to implement violence prevention programs for vulnerable communities especially the young. For example this morning I had the opportunity to visit the Yarborough Community Policing Center—not very far from here—which is working to advance not only law enforcement capacity, but also to help build up the community so that it is safe and secure. Our bilateral collaboration has resulted in significant achievements. The Belize Coast Guard has been an excellent partner with the United States. It has put U.S. donated training and equipment to very good use. In November of 2011, a dedicated Custom Official immediately after completing training with the U.S. Customs and Border patrol team that was visiting Belize used that training and that specialized equipment to stop a truck that was trying to smuggle with more than one hundred kilograms of cocaine into the border with Mexico. I would also like to congratulate Belize for its efforts to combat trafficking in persons. We applaud the successful prosecution of two human trafficking cases earlier this year—these are the first such convictions in Belize in several years. And we encourage the Government of Belize to finalize the passage of a new stronger trafficking in persons law. Yesterday I met with a committee on anti-trafficking of persons which is comprised of members of the government from varied ministries—from everything from tourism to labor to human development and civil societies; quite a number of NGO’s. That committee works together to move forward the actions that take place against the trafficking of persons. it is the first time that I have seen in a country the very active work between civil society and the government in advancing initiatives at the legislative level, at the judicial level and in creating a far more integrated way in which to address trafficking of persons from every angle.”

 

Otero travelled from El Salvador to Belize and is now heading back to Washington. 


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