In what Public Security Minister Fernando Berrocal called a symbol of friendship and solidarity, he received a $2 million check from Taiwanese Ambassador Tzu Dan Wu Tuesday during a ceremony at the Foreign Ministry.
The funds will be managed by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) and spent on vehicles including cars to transport detainees, pickup trucks, 4x4s and motorcycles, according to a statement from the ministry.
These vehicles will be used in “critical areas” with extreme crime, including the San José metropolitan area, the Caribbean port city of Limón, the southern Caribbean region, and the beaches of the northwestern Guanacaste province and the central Pacific.
Berrocal said acquiring these vehicles would be impossible without the donation, which he said supplements efforts by the Public Security Ministry to comply with President Oscar Arias’ campaign promise to put 1,000 additional police officers on the streets next year.
For 2007, the ministry’s budget is 35% more than this year’s budget, allowing for an additional 800 officers to work under the Public Security Ministry and 200 officers under the Justice Ministry, he said.
“We’re advancing strongly with our own efforts, but we have also asked for help from good friends who support us,” Berrocal said.
Ambassador Wu explained that the donation is the fruit of conversations between Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian and Arias during Shui-bian’s visit here in May for Arias’ inauguration (TT,May 12).
“Taiwan is committed to helping Costa Rica fight crime and drugs and improve social order, and we show this support with concrete actions,”Wu said.
Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno presided over the ceremony, and CABEI Costa Rican representative Alfredo Ortuño received the check from Berrocal. The bank will have complete control over purchasing the vehicles and managing the funds, a measure implemented to ensure “complete transparency in the management of public funds” and prevent corruption that has occurred in the past, Berrocal said.