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Sep 7, 2022

New Equipment for the National Forensic Science Services

The National Forensic Science Services was the recipient of equipment that will improve the capacity of the organization to carry out its duties. Both pieces of equipment will assist with the almost instant detection of illegal substances and can be used at the lab or on the ground at crime scenes by police officers and other law enforcement agencies. And then it also builds the capacity of the cold storage unit at the N.F.S.S. During a brief handing over ceremony today, the media found out that this is only part of a wider initiative to construct a new lab retrofitted with necessary equipment to be self-sufficient without having to out-source services. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The Government of Belize has purchased two pieces of equipment through a loan facility from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration for the National Forensic Science Services.

 

Gian Cho

Gian Cho, Executive Director, National Forensic Science Service

“The two equipment we received today is an advanced laboratory grade evidence storage refrigerator. We have refrigerators already, but forensic laboratory always needs additional storage space so this refrigerator will allow us additional storage space using proper temperature storage conditions. The second equipment is a portable foyer transform infrared spectrometer. It is tongue twister, but it is basically an instrument that allows for rapid field identification of chemical substances using confirmatory analysis. So it provides reliable accurate field testing of suspected control substances or any substances under law enforcement investigation.”

 

There has been greater reliance on forensic evidence for cases, and so Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa says that improvement of the N.F.S.S. is needed.

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs

“Traditionally police rely almost exclusively on eyewitness testimony, but we are now diversifying the evidence that we are gathering. And so what we have here today is a huge game changer. We have the field test kit that will now be used out in the field by our law enforcement agencies – not just the N.F.S.S., but also our A.N.U. officers, even the customs department can have access to it.”

 

It is part of the sixty-million-dollar Belize Integral Security Program that was designed back in 2010/2011. It was approved in 2014 and Belize received its first disbursement four years later. But according to C.E.O. Doctor Osmond Martinez, the project was using money only for operational expenses. So the acquisition of the two pieces of equipment is a historical moment for the project.

 

Osmond Martinez

Dr. Osmond Martinez, C.E.O., Ministry of Economic Development & Investment

“Today marks a historical moment for the project, which is the Belize Integral Security Program, for the Ministry of Economic Development, but more important, it shows the commitment of the Briceño administration that we have in getting the job done. We have been clear with all projects that if we will not deliver then you will have to step down and give the opportunity to Belizean people who want to do and who want to work for the nation of Belize and the Belizean people.”

 

Kareem Musa

“That is only one small aspect of the sixty million-dollar loan that we are investing in law enforcement in Belize. So the Belize Defence Force, the Belize Coast Guard, the Belize Police Department and also the NFSS will be huge beneficiaries of equipment, of infrastructure, of camera systems, of motor vehicles, you name it to enhance our law enforcement capabilities and certainly strengthen us so that when we get before a court of law, we can deliver that type of evidence.”

 

In subsequent disbursements of this loan, more funding will be provided for the purchase of additional equipment to supplement the inventory at the N.F.S.S.   But equipment aside, the National Forensic Science Services will, in the near future, benefit from the construction of a new lab, as well as a forensic morgue.

 

Dr. Osmond Martinez

“There is six point four seven eight million Belize dollars that will be invested in design and construction of forensic facility and two, there is two point one six nine million Belize dollars that will be invested in equipment to further equip the Belize Forensic Science Service and the total amount will be eight point six four seven Belize million dollars that the National Forensic Science Service will enjoy.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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