US Ambassador to Hand over Equipment to Minister of National Security Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 07 January 2010 00:00

Ambassador Vinai ThummalapallyOn Friday January 8, 2010, U.S. Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally will hand over US$63,000 worth of equipment purchased through the U.S. Government’s Merida Initiative to Minister of National Security, Hon. Carlos Perdomo. 

The Merida Initiative is a multi-year regional effort to strengthen the capacities of the governments in Central America, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti to combat the violent national and transnational gangs. The Initiative is also

directed at fighting organized narcotics trafficking organizations that plague the region.

Equipment to be turned over on Friday includes bullet-proof vests, handcuffs, cameras, binoculars, night vision equipment, metal detectors, metal scanners, video projectors, computers, flashlights, and Global Positioning System receivers. This equipment will be distributed to more than 20 branches of the Belize Police Department and the Belize Central Prison.

This equipment comprises only a fraction of the equipment and training that is being provided to the Government of Belize through Merida Initiative funding.  To date, more than US$500,000 of equipment and training has been ordered through the Merida Initiative.  Belize is expected to receive a total of US$1.5 million from the agreement.

When the Guardian asked Ambassador Thummalapally if he thought the funds allotted to Belize was adequate to accomplish the goal of the Initiative, he said that because of Belize’s geographical position in regards to drug trafficking - “the funds to Belize can only increase”.