By NAN STAFF WRITER
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. April 28, 2022: Today, during a House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations hearing on the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the Department of State, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised Caribbean-born Congressman Adriano Espaillat’s (NY-13) for spearheading of H.R.4133 – The Caribbean Basic Security Initiative Authorization Act – which passed the House last night, 340 – 86.
“So, first let me just thank you for your leadership on this. One of the things we’re trying to do more on – and I had an opportunity to talk to the Chairwoman about this as well yesterday – is to focus more on the Caribbean Basin across the board,” Blinken said. “Of course there’s the climate challenge which is – as you know very well – acute, and helping to make sure our nearest neighbors have the means to engage in adaptation and building resilience.”
H.R.4133 – The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Authorization Act, would allocate nearly $75,000,000 per year from 2022 through 2026 to improve security cooperation with Caribbean nations and combat illicit drug trafficking, support justice sector reform and strengthen the rule of law, and address instability caused by natural disasters.
Funds for carrying out the initiative shall be used for purposes that include (1) promoting citizen safety, security, and the rule of law in the Caribbean; (2) prioritizing efforts to combat corruption; and (3) promoting the rule of law in the Caribbean and countering influence from authoritarian regimes.
The State Department shall develop a strategy that incorporates specific, measurable benchmarks demonstrating a prioritization of efforts to increase disaster response and resilience through carrying out specified coordination, resilience, and preparedness programs in beneficiary countries. The State Department must also submit an implementation plan that includes a timeline and stated objectives for such actions to be taken.
“This bill is vital to combatting drug trafficking, promoting good governance and independent justice sectors, and empowering civil society in the Caribbean,” said Rep. Espaillat. “The U.S.’s partnership in strengthening the security of the Caribbean in a multidimensional manner will help fortify stability and development with some of our closest allies. Working together, we can help increase citizen safety, build resilience to natural disasters caused by climate change, and improve strategies to reduce illegal narcotics trafficking.” Rep. Espaillat secured $80 million for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative in the fiscal year 2022 federal budget. H.R.4133 would codify funding increases as well as improve the efficacy and focus of CBSI to address continuing concerns in the region. It will incorporate efforts to promote disaster resiliency given increasing and worsening hurricanes in the region that threaten long-term security.