Security Boost for the Twin Towns in Cayo Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 00:00

Security levels within the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena and surrounding areas have recently been dramatically boosted. This security re-setting comes as a result of the donation of two Polaris Sportsman 500 H.O (obtained from Benny’s Home Center at mile 2 1/2on the Phillip Goldson Highway at reduced rates), twenty Omstar bicycles, communication handsets, binoculars and other gear courtesy of the United States Embassy. The items were presented to a joint force of the San Ignacio Police and the Cayo Neighbourhood Watch Association (CNWA) on November 30th, 2012 by Joseph Boski, Political and Economic Section Chief of the U.S Embassy in Belmopan.

This is a significant achievement for the CNWA, an organization based in San Ignacio. It was made possible only through a concerted effort by its members.

CNWA’s Article One makes it clear that moving forward united was the only course available. CNWA’s primary objectives are to inspire, encourage and, empower people from Cayo to unite, to become one voice, with neighbours looking out for neighbours and deeply committed to serving the community and Belize. About four months ago, CNWA got an opportunity to apply for a grant from the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI.) After many meetings and paperwork by CNWA’s grant coordinator Michael Cyphers, a retired Emergency Management coordinator with a background in chemical engineering, the grant proposal was among four from a total of forty submissions that was approved under the CARSI initiative.

The CARSI program itself is over a hundred million dollar per year assistance by the United States to Central America. The Belize component under CARSI is approximately five million dollars US per year. CARSI gives grants, working from Government to Government, with the full recognition that the prosperity of Central America is a key ingredient to the continued prosperity of the United States. CARSI is currently working to improve the capacity of the judiciary in Belize as well as immigration, police and custom officials. One major project now under CARSI is the mobile interdiction team, which is a multi-agency team of police, customs and immigration personnel. These persons are now receiving training from a special operations group, composed of officers from customs and border patrols from the United States.

While CARSI focuses on citizen security, the majority of its grants are not through community groups. Support by the U.S Embassy for CNWA and Crime Stoppers seem to be a break from that tradition.
In the case of CNWA, the U.S Embassy noted their unique programs in working with the police.

“I am very impressed that there are up to seventeen groups of this association…you are a model for the country…”, said Joseph Boski, to the assembled members of the CNWA and Police at the San Ignacio Police Station last Friday.

Desoree Phillips, Senior Superintendent and Officer Commander for Community Policing agrees, “It is a great privilege, this is my home. Never before have I seen the community come out forward to help the police. This is a perfect model for the true spirit of community policing.”

Also present for the special presentation last Friday was Howard Oldham from Crime Stoppers. Oldham took the opportunity to present a check of five hundred dollars to CNWA President Marcel Bedran. The prize money was for CNWA’s winning of a neighbourhood watch logo, which will now become the standardized logo for the rest of the country.

Each neighbourhood watch in the San Ignacio and Santa Elena Area will now receive five large Neighbourhood Watch Signs bearing these logos and according to Joseph Boski from the United State Embassy, “…to inform potential criminals that the neighbourhood watch is in effect.”