U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State visits Cayo Print E-mail
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Thursday, 10 April 2014 00:00

U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Francisco Palmieri (Paco) toured the San Ignacio Police Station on Friday of last week , as part of his two day visit to Belize. While at work, Francisco Palmieri overseas the Caribbean and Central America in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.  Francisco Palmieri has served in various posts around the World; including the Columbia and Mexico/Merida operations, in addition to 19 Narcotics Affairs Offices throughout the Western Hemisphere.

During his visit Palmeiri met with Officer in Charge of the San Ignacio Police Formation Ralph Moody and his Deputy Reymundo Reyes, as well as Community Groups making an effort to reduce crime in the area. Present at the meeting with him was Caesar Sherrard, Chairman of the People’s Coalition of Cayo PCC and Ernie Braun, Chairman of the Cayo Neighborhood Watch Association CNWA.

During his visit at the police station in San Ignacio Town, Francisco Palmieri had an inside view of the Evidence Room, which had been obtained with the assistance of the U.S Embassy.  He also had conversations with a finger print specialist attending to a finger print recognition system at the San Ignacio Police Station.

The assistance to San Ignacio Police has come as part of a 15 million dollar Central American Regional Security Initiative CARSI that has been implemented since 2009 through the U.S Embassy. CARSI has allowed the Belize Police Department (BPD) to build a Community Policing model throughout the country, including San Ignacio and Belize City. CARSI has provided transport vehicles increasing the visibility of the BPD.

The U.S Embassy provided a CARSI grant to the CNWA, which as revealed by the yearly statistics released by San Ignacio Police, has contributed to a notable decrease in home invasions and other traumatic crime experiences in San Ignacio and Santa Elena, the largest population center in Belize after Belize City. The grant allowed the improved communication between the Neighborhood Watch and the community policing unit, which has become a model for the rest of Belize.

“Today I have had a real chance to see how effective the police are working with their local community and by working closely with the business sector and the neighborhood watch groups…they have taken control of their communities and that is the kind of cooperation that Belize is showing producing results and I want to just say I think it is out of the leadership of the Police Commissioner here that you are seeing real progress,” said Francisco Palmieri.

After viewing two ATVs’ at the outside of the San Ignacio Police Station, Francisco Palmieri and his team completed their tour of the Cayo District last Friday by visiting the Xunantunich Archaeological Site. Thus; Francisco Palmieri became the highest-ranking U.S Department State visitor since former Undersecretary Mario Otero’s visit in early 2012 and enjoying much sunshine and Belizean hospitality as he did so.