U.S. Chargé d'Affaires to the Dominican Republic Roland W. Bullen and Dominican Minister of the Interior and Police, Franklin Almeyda Rancier, signed the first letter of agreement implementing the Mérida Initiative, a multi-year regional effort to combat organized crime, gangs and the trafficking of narcotics and firearms on Friday, June 26. The signing provides an initial $2,155,000, with an additional $345,000 to follow in FY2008 funding for the first year of the Mérida Initiative.
Under this agreement, the Dominican Government and the U.S. Government will be partners in projects funded in part or fully by the U.S. Government. Mérida Initiative funding is to be used for projects that include: Providing equipment and technical consulting services to the Financial Analysis Unit, $200,000; National Police Reform Projects, $300,000; Anti-Money Laundering Assistance, $300,000; National Directorate for the Control of Drugs Reform Projects, $750,000; Development of a National Digital Criminal Database, $550,000; Equipment for the Navy Intelligence Unit, $250,000; and a Joint Haitian-Dominican Border Security Program, $150,000. A second letter of agreement to be signed in the future will provide additional funding to these and additional projects including the targeting of at risk youth and anti-gang programs, community policing, and demand reduction.
Representatives of the Government of the United States and the Government of the Dominican Republic will meet quarterly to review qualitative and quantitative progress towards achievement of the project goals and objectives. These evaluations are in addition to the ongoing monitoring of the programs and activities conducted by each government.