The U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Caribbean and Central America Francisco Palmieri arrived in Belize this afternoon for a two-day visit. His first meeting was with the commanders of the BDF and the Coast Guard General Jones and Admiral Borland.

After that he was whisked across to the Leo Bradley Library to inaugurate a Education USA Resource Center - which is an information resource to help Belizeans who are interested in studying in the US.

Today we asked him what the visit and the center is about:...

Francisco Palmieri, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
"It is very important to me to come to Belize because is really a key country is that it's the bridge between both regions; the Caribbean and Central America. I want to come here first hand. I knew that it would be a great opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of how Belize is developing its role in the region and to see how we can do things like this; donate some books to the library and help people start thinking about what they might want to do if they would like to study in the United States. Belize is a strategic partner in the effort to combat all kinds of trafficking - not just drug trafficking and because there such an important partner along the transit route of drugs leaving South America. We are looking at how we can continue to cooperate with them and expand our program of assistance."

Jules Vasquez
"You will be here for two days, are you able to say which other officials you will be meeting with and what other spheres of mutual interest will be discuss?"

Francisco Palmieri, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
"I am looking forward to meeting officials at the Foreign Ministry with the National Security team and I will also be visiting the adjacency area. I really want to learn as much as I can about this country and how the United States can continue play a constructive role with your government and with whom we have very excellent relations."

Palmieri is the highest-ranking Department of State official to visit Belize since early 2012. Tomorrow he will meet with his foreign affairs counterparts and me with Neighborhood Watch and Community Policing Officers in San Ignacio Police Station, followed by a trip to Xunantunich.

Channel 7