Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell participated in the signing of an amended agreement yesterday that constitutes a donation of $2.7 million from the United States to assist in protecting Bahamian borders.
Mr. Mitchell was joined by U.S. Embassy Chargé D’Affaires Lisa Johnson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demonstrate both countries shared commitment in the fight against international crime with the signing of the seventh Amended Letter of Agreement on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement that was initially signed on September 24, 2010 as a part of the U.S.-Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.
“The significance of this agreement is irrefutable. The Bahamas government recognized that the protection of our borders from the pernicious threats of money laundering, human trafficking and the smuggling of illicit drugs and firearms, requires a concerted effort and welcomes the assistance of its closest neighbour,” Mr. Mitchell said.
“The assistance of the U.S. in buttressing The Bahamas’ national security efforts in law enforcement, counter-narcotics control, drug demand reduction and anti-corruption reform is critical in countering this incessant and increasingly menacing threat,” he added.
Charge D’Affaires Lisa Johnson noted that the signing of the agreement will play a significant role in reducing transnational issues.
“This agreement provides an additional $2.745 million for programmes to enhance the capabilities of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos to support drug demand reduction programmes, to assist the Bahamas Department of Corrections, and to increase The Bahamas’ capability to investigate and prosecute crime,” Mrs. Johnson said.
“This amended letter of agreement is the largest single contribution to date under the 2010 Letter of Agreement and the total amount now totals over $10 million provided since 2010 for the purposes I’ve explained,” she added.
Mr. Mitchell also announced The Bahamas’ plans to host the upcoming U.S-Caribbean Security Summit geared towards uniting regional experts who sought to combat organized crime affecting the region.