U.S. to fund regional crime-fighting program

U.S. Ambassador Beatrice Welters.
Photo courtesy U.S. Embassy, Trinidad and Tobago
Photo courtesy of U.S. Embassy Trinidad and Tobago

The United States will provide $45 million to the Caribbean region for the year 2010 to fund a crime-fighting program.

A request will be made from the U.S. Congress for a further $79 million for 2011.

This was revealed was U.S. Ambassador Beatrice Welters to Trinidad and Tobago at a press briefing at the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain recently.

She said the funds, which can be used to support hardware purchases such as offshore patrol vessels, will be available to Caribbean states and the mechanism for access to the funds is being worked out.

Welters said Trinidad and Tobago “is playing a significant role in the implementation of this initiative.”

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Julissa Reynoso also speaking at the news briefing said the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative will focus on combating corruption within the ranks of the security agencies as well as the combating of the drug trade by supporting a holistic array of measures.

“Prevention is critical. You can’t just give hardware, you can’t just give money, you have to create alternatives for young people,” she said.

Reynoso also noted that the measures are separate and apart from the funding devoted to dealing with the situation in Haiti.

She said that the U.S. has invested $1 billion in program to assist Haiti in the wake of destruction caused by earthquakes recently and that further supplemental allocation of $1 billion was also granted.

“We have a commitment to Haiti. It is the most urgent issues we have in the region,” Reynoso added.

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