Posted: Tuesday, December 14, 2021. 3:28 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Today the United States embassy and the Government of Belize, represented by the Ministry of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries, held a bilateral meeting to discuss security matters.
Present at the meeting were U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Leyla Moses-Ones and Political/Economic and International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Chief Andie De Arment. The Belize delegation included the Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa, Chief Executive Officers with responsibility for Security and Defence, Kevin L. Arthurs and Brigadier General (Ret’d) Dario Tapia, Director of Immigration Debra Baptist-Estrada, Customs Comptroller Estella Leslie, Coast Guard Commandant RADM Elton Bennett, and Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, as well as other senior law enforcement and judicial officers. Those in attendance reviewed security data, progress made on joint efforts, and opportunities for enhanced collaboration.
“Fostering citizen security and strengthening the rule of law is a key pillar of the partnership between the United States and Belize. From assistance on countering trafficking in persons and illicit narcotics to professionalizing forensics labs to equipping law enforcement and customs with vehicles, and much more, the United States is committed to standing together with our partner, Belize, to create safer streets and more resilient communities,” said Chargé Moses-Ones.
In his remarks, Minister Musa stressed that the issue of transnational organized crime is complicated and has been compounded due to the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Therefore, it is reassuring that we are not in this fight alone, but instead with the continued strong relations between our countries we will fight the organized criminal elements while expanding on Belize’s vision for a safe and secure Belize with its sovereignty and territorial integrity intact,” Musa said.
A joint statement issued by GOB and the US Embassy, following the meeting, said that Belize and the United States host bilateral meetings on a bi-annual basis to seek ways for increased cooperation on national and regional security issues, and that the United States has provided more than US$34.8 million to advance security in Belize since 2009.
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