On Monday, April 27, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Lisa Johnson joined Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration The Hon. Fred Mitchell in an official signing ceremony to further strengthen the joint efforts of the United States and The Bahamas in addressing transnational security challenges. Chargé Johnson and Minister Mitchell formally signed the Seventh Amendment to the Letter of Agreement on Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement, an agreement that supports a shared interest in preventing illicit trafficking and increasing citizen security in The Bahamas. The agreement was originally signed on September 24, 2010 by the U.S. and Bahamas governments.
In her remarks, Chargé Johnson noted the significance of the funding provided to The Bahamas under the U.S. government’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) that seeks to reduce illicit trafficking, increase public safety and security, and promote social justice. “This agreement provides $2.745 million for programs to enhance the capabilities of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Operation Bahamas, Turks & Caicos; support drug demand reduction; assist the Bahamas Department of Corrections; and increase The Bahamas’ capability to investigate and prosecute crimes,” she said. Chargé Johnson added, “This is the largest single contribution to date under the 2010 Letter of Agreement, which now totals over $10 million. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our collaboration with The Bahamas to counter illicit trafficking and help make the region safer and more secure for all our citizens.”
Minister Mitchell noted in his remarks that the agreement seeks to not only facilitate cooperative opportunities between The Bahamas and the United States, but also demonstrates a shared commitment in the fight against international crime. “The Bahamas government recognizes 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 neighbor,” he said.
Minister Mitchell added that the country looks forward to continue working closely with the U.S. government on initiatives to create stronger, safer, and more prosperous nations. He also announced that The Bahamas will host the U.S.-Caribbean Security Summit in the coming weeks that will bring together regional experts to discuss combating organized crime that plagues the region.