Security minister wants more money

The security minister told lawmakers Tuesday that he needed more resources  for the province of Guanacaste.

The minister, Gustavo Mata, was called before the Comisión Especial de Guanacaste in the wake of a murder of an Escazú tourist by a mob nearly two weeks ago in Playas del Coco.

Mata said that due to budget cuts the ministry does not have the resources to confront crime that has been plaguing the country. He pushed for approval of a tax on corporations that is estimated to raise $50 to $80 million a year. The bulk of the tax proceeds are earmarked for the ministry.

The reception was not totally sympathetic.  Marta Arauz Mora, a Partido Liberación Nacional lawmaker who represents Guanacaste, blamed the government for the budget cuts. She said that people would like to think that the murder was an isolated event but that it is a reflection of the daily reality.

She said that the central government cut 20 billion colons, some $38 million, from the security ministry budget and that the central government should act to provide the funds.

The corporate tax has been tied up in the legislature for months even though the Luis Guillermo Solís administration submitted a rewrite that reduces the tax for corporations with lower income.

Mata said that of the 630 police stations in the country 70 percent are marginal or in poor condition. He said the Fuerza Pública was losing about 60 officers a month and that the ministry has invested 3.5 billion colons into construction of a new police station in Liberia. That’s about $6.6 million.

He also said that crime in the canton of Carrillo was down when compared to the year before. That is where Playas del Coco is located. He blamed a 200-meter strip in the Pacific beach community for generating most of the problems.

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