The Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in the country, Robert Thomas, highlighted the efforts made by the Dominican Government through the Interior and Police to strengthen citizen security programs throughout the national territory.
He expressed his confidence in the work being done by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Dominican authorities in matters of security and promotion of democratic principles.
“In the United States we are committed to the Dominican government in these two aspects (security and democracy),” said Thomas.
At the opening ceremony of the National Day of Citizen Security in the Municipalities, together with the Minister of Interior and Police, Jesús Vásquez Martínez; the secretary general of the Dominican Municipal League (LMD), Víctor D’Aza; the director of the Police, Major General Eduardo Alberto Then, and the executive vice-president of the Institutionalism and Justice Foundation (FINJUS), Servio Tulio Castaños Guzmán, the diplomat valued the strategies being developed for citizen security, considering that the basis of democracy is sustained by the city leaders, in clear allusion to the mayors.
“The ambitious efforts that the Dominican Republic has undertaken to strengthen its institutions and improve citizen security remind us all that democracy is achieved and maintained from the grassroots, because no one is better qualified to promote these values than city leaders,” he said.
He warned that authorities must remain vigilant to act immediately against the influence of anti-democratic actors that erode institutions and the role they should play in favor of society.
“The United States will always be ready to support the Dominican Republic in achieving the goal of guaranteeing citizen security; we have supported numerous community efforts to prevent crime and strengthen relations between the community and the Police,” he assured.
He understands that the Local Security, Citizenship and Gender Roundtables, as well as the municipal plans will continue to play an indispensable role in the coming years for the national authorities to develop public policies that contribute to the improvement of all sectors.
Signing of the agreement
During the event, an agreement was signed between the LMD, FINJUS and the MIP, which aims to prevent crime in each of the 158 municipalities, thus strengthening the Integral Strategy for Citizen Security “My Safe Country”, which is firmly and decisively promoted by President Luis Abinader, together with the transformation and professionalization of the National Police.
Minister Vasquez Martinez stressed the importance of the same, as it allows the consolidation of the Local Security, Citizenship and Gender Roundtables, which have become a great space to seek joint solutions to security problems and other ills affecting the municipalities.
He also said that a security plan or strategy will only work more effectively if the mayors of the country are integrated into it and become fundamental axes to diagnose the specific needs of their municipalities and serve as overseers of the proper implementation of public policies on security, making constructive criticism.
He pointed out that in all developed countries, mayors’ offices play a stellar role and for this reason, mayors are the protagonists in providing the inhabitants of their municipalities with citizen security, territorial organization, public spaces for recreation, and not only garbage and solid waste collection as was done in the past.
The event was attended by José Vila, commissioner for the Transformation of the National Police; Rebecca Latorraca, director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the country; Ángela Jáquez, vice-minister of Preventive Security in Provincial Governments, and Luis Soto, senior consultant of the Municipal Security Project of FINJUS, as well as mayors, local government technicians, members of the local citizen security roundtables, together with representatives of civil society organizations and international cooperation agencies.