WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S.: United States Congressman Eliot L. Engel has pledged support for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, calling for it to be funded to “the fullest capacity”.
Engel gave his support in a meeting with Jamaica’s Ambassador to the U.S., Audrey Marks, last week when she paid a courtesy call on the New York congressman at his Rayburn House offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Part of Fiscal Year 2011 foreign aid request U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration submitted to Congress earlier this year, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative is a multifaceted effort by the U.S. government and Caribbean partners to develop a joint regional citizen safety strategy to tackle the full range of security and criminal threats to the Caribbean Basin.
During discussions with Marks, Engel praised the Jamaican government’s focus on tackling organized crime and leaders of criminal organizations. He said the tactic would also benefit the U.S.
Engel said the Obama administration recognized the Caribbean as a priority and has an obligation to assist when needed, in addition to looking for opportunities to help Caribbean nations become stronger democracies.
Marks thanked Engel for his longstanding support of Jamaica and the Caribbean region, and briefed him on her government’s development thrust, which includes the revitalization of downtown Kingston through socio-economic intervention in underserved communities and other initiatives.
Marks stressed the importance of U.S. support for this project, and requested Engel’s backing for the State Department’s Jamaica programs that require congressional approval.
Engel, who chairs the Western Hemisphere Affairs Subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, represents New York State’s 17th District. The district includes Rockland and Westchester counties and the borough of the Bronx in New York City, which have large Caribbean immigrant communities. (JIS)