Belize Questions US State Department’s Travel Advisory; Cites Contrary Crime Statistics
Tonight, the government is questioning the US State Department’s recent travel advisory on Belize but says it had nothing to do with its measures against Israel. On Monday, the US upgraded the country’s security risk to level 2 and urged travelers to “exercise increased caution due to crime.” The department stated that “Violent crimes – such as sexual assault, home invasions, armed robberies, and murder – are common even during daylight hours and in tourist areas.” Minister of Foreign Affairs Eamon Courteney says the statements are contrary to recent crime statistics that indicate a decrease, which prompted a meeting with US officials.
Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “I had a meeting this morning with the U.S. Ambassador to discuss that and other issues. We shared with her the statistics from the Belize Police Department which shows that crime across Belize and specifically in Belize City has gone down significantly thanks to the efforts of the Belize Police Department and therefore we said to her that we were very disappointed that they would issue the advisory that they did. We agreed to share information and to go forward in the future and to ensure that the accurate data is taken into account prior to making any assessment. But to your question, there is absolutely no correlation between our position on the Israel-Gaza war and the travel advisory that was issued by the Americans and I think you should confirm that with the US ambassador.”
We did ask US Ambassador Michelle Kwan if Belize’s position on Israel had anything to do with the advisory.
Michelle Kwan, U.S. Ambassador: “I didn’t say to all of you that we will be back, get back for more information, but the travel advisory there is no substantive change to the travel advisory. It updates every six months.”
Reporter: And it has nothing to do with Israel and Belize, Belize’s position at all ?
Michelle Kwan, U.S. Ambassador: “No, it’s a separate assessment.”