British Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne announced Thursday £180,000 ($287,000) in new security funding from the British government for Central American countries.
“Violence and organized crime are major concerns in Central America, and I am pleased we are able to share our expertise with our partners in the region,” Browne said at a Central American Integration System conference in London.
The cash will go to fund various projects across Central America including police training at an international police academy in the U.K., and specialized training for Belizean law enforcement agencies. Funding will also support the International Commission Against Impunity, a U.N.-backed commission working in Guatemala, and will provide technical equipment for combating drug trafficking to the police forces of Costa Rica and Honduras.
Browne made his first official visit to Costa Rica last month. He told The Tico Times that the British government was planning to increase engagement with Central America after neglecting the region for decades.
This new funding appears to be a step in that direction.
“These issues have a wide impact, felt in Latin America and Europe, including the U.K. It is in all of our interests to tackle the problems at their root,” Browne said at the London conference. “The additional funding announced today reflects the importance we attach to our relationship with Central America, and how vital we believe it is to deal with crime in an effective yet non-violent way.”