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Oct 14, 2021

Vehicle Donation to the Police & Customs Departments

The Belize Police Department and the Customs and Excise department have gotten assistance from Central America Regional Security Initiative of the U.S. Government, in an effort to stem transnational crimes. The handing over ceremony was held at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan and a News Five team was there.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Over one hundred and eighty-seven thousand dollars – that’s the value of six pickup trucks given to the police and customs departments to assist them in their enforcement mandate. U.S. Chargé d’affaires Leyla Moses-Ones says the goal is to strengthen citizen security in Belize and by extension the entire region.

 

Leyla Moses-Ones

Leyla Moses-Ones, Chargé d’affaires, U.S. Embassy

“Transnational criminal activity in Central America poses dire implications to public safety, to Belize’s very sovereignty and to its economic prosperity and no one country can do it alone. And so successfully addressing these challenges requires a joint response with international partners. The agencies present today play very important roles in preventing and responding to reports of illegal activities within and along Belize’s borders and the United States is a very proud partner with Belize in this effort.”

 

The donation, which is part of the U.S. comprehensive security assistance to Belize, will be used by the Mobile Interdiction Team and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit of the Belize Police Department.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“The vehicles that will be received by MIT today, and I must say that it is two, will be used along the northern borders to continue to fight those transnational criminals from plaguing our country. The ATIPs unit is another important part of what we do as we know that human trafficking is a big thing. And the task that the ATIPs unit has is a tremendous one and I must commend them for the good work that they have done and continue to do. Most recently, I think just about two weeks ago, we were able to secure a conviction for a case in Dangriga and that speaks testimony to the fact that the human trafficking unit is doing what it can to stem this problem. With this vehicle now gifted to the unit, they will be poised to do better, they will be posed to be able to go out and seek persons who engage in these activities. They will be able to investigate properly, finding evidence against perpetrators and at the end to ensure that the prosecutors have what it requires to secure a conviction.”

 

Also on hand to receive one of the vehicles was Comptroller of the Customs and Excise Department, Estella Leslie. While we often think of the department as being stationery, Leslie says the vehicle will be used by the enforcement unit in the north.

 

Estella Leslie

Estella Leslie, Comptroller, Customs & Excise Department

“While we are at the border points and collecting duties and taxes to enhance our revenue, we also have a national security mandate so that is where our enforcement people comes in. You know the other day on the news they were talking about all the vegetables that are coming in and contrabands coming into the country. Our enforcement officers are tasked to ensure that doesn’t happen. So this vehicle that is given to us is just adding to our fleet for our enforcement section to be able to continue the work that they are doing in ensuring that contraband and all the illicit items that should not come in doesn’t come in.”

 

Collectively, the vehicles are expected to protect Belize’s land borders from the illegal movement of drugs, weapons, contraband and people.

 

Leyla Moses-Ones

“…increase the presence of law enforcement not only along the borders, but all of the remote areas of Belize. it will ensure that officers are able to deploy to some of the most remote parts of the country as quickly as possible, while providing additional resources to investigate trafficking in persons cases and customs and excise can now expand their reach over larger portions of the border.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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