Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 10, 2009

The U.S. Chargé d'Affaires to Belize, J.A. Diffily, signed a letter of agreement on February 9, 2009 with the Government of Belize implementing the Merida Initiative, a multi-year regional effort to combat organized crime, gangs, and the trafficking of narcotics and firearms. Minister of National Security Carlos Perdomo signed the letter on behalf of the Belizean government. Also present was Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of National Security, Lloyd Gillett. The signing of the letter provides an initial $1,008,000 in funding for the first year of the Merida Initiative.

Under this agreement, the Belizean Ministry of National Security will participate in the following three projects fully funded by the U.S. Government: the Central American Fingerprint Exchange, $150,000; Improved Policing and Police Equipment, $608,000; and Improved Prison Management, $250,000.

Representatives of the Government of the United States and the Government of Belize will meet quarterly to review qualitative and quantitative progress towards achievement of the project goals and objectives. These evaluations are in addition to the ongoing monitoring of the programs and activities conducted by each government.

PRN: 2009/117