Minister Ablonczy Highlights Canada’s Contribution to Improving Security in Costa Rica and Central America

March 15, 2013 - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today represented Canada at a ceremony in San José, Costa Rica, marking Canada’s contribution of $1.7 million in security equipment to Costa Rica’s National Police School. Minister Ablonczy was joined at the unveiling of the equipment by Mario Zamora, Costa Rica’s Minister of Governance, Policy and Public Security; Marcela Chacón, Vice Minister of Governance and Police; and Eric Lacayo, Director of Costa Rica’s National Police School.

“Our government has placed a priority on working with like-minded partners in the Americas to strengthen the security, stability and safety in the region,” said Minister Ablonczy. “By working with Costa Rica’s National Police School, we are making a tangible difference in the lives of people in the region and helping to fight back against criminals who engage in illicit trafficking of drugs and contraband to other countries, including Canada.”

The delivery of this equipment, which includes surveillance vehicles, bulletproof vests, helmets, radios and global positioning systems, fulfills commitments made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his visit to Costa Rica in 2011 and at the 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. The contribution will help to support Costa Rica’s police force to meet its growth targets and effectively manage the increased number of recruits training at the National Police School.

The Harper government has been making consistent efforts to improve security in the Americas, including in Costa Rica. Since 2011, Canada has provided a total of $3.4 million in security assistance to Costa Rica through Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program. In addition to the $1.7 million celebrated today, Canada has contributed $600,000 in training by the RCMP in advanced police investigative techniques, as well as $1.1 million in ballistics identification technology, to Costa Rica’s judicial police.

For more information, please consult Canada-Costa Rica Relations.

- 30 -

A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Joshua Zanin
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)
613-944-2300

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
Follow us on Twitter: @DFAIT_MAECI

Backgrounder - Improving Security in the Americas

Funding for the equipment comes from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP), launched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2009. The ACCBP provides up to $15 million a year to help countries in the Americas prevent and respond to threats posed by criminals operating throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Canada has adopted a comprehensive, coordinated and collaborative approach to improving security in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Our growing contributions, through training, targeted equipment contributions and staff exchanges, are making an effective impact on security and justice in the region.

Since 2011, the RCMP and the Canadian Police College have conducted training sessions for members of the Costa Rican National Police, the Judicial Investigation Agency and the Drug Control Police.

National Defence and the Canadian Forces are helping grow the capacity of security forces in the Americas through training and cooperation, by expanding bilateral relations with key countries, and by participating in hemispheric exercises and operations, among other initiatives.

Media Centre