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Aug 9, 2011

Belize gets firearm marking equipment to control weapons trafficking

Over the last five years crimes committed using firearms have increased at an alarming rate. In an effort to combat crime and the illegal trafficking of guns around the region, the OAS implemented a program for the Latin America and Caribbean territories. Today, Belize was gifted with a firearm marking machine as a part of the program to improve controls against illicit gun running. News Five’s Andrea Polanco headed to the Police Training Academy in Belmopan for the ceremony.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Today a firearm marking machine, the first of its kind in Belize was presented to the Ministry of Police and Public Safety. The piece of equipment is expected to mark firearms confiscated by law enforcement agencies. That information will be entered into a database.

Florencia Raskovan

Florencia Raskovan, Specialist Public Security, OAS

“The equipment is a pin marking machine, electric, it basically has a controller and machine and the marking machine properly. We’re donating this machine together with a laptop computer and of course we’re providing the training for the officers. They’re gonna be operating the equipment. The equipment cost around ten thousand dollars. The whole process of marking is to be able to trace. So we’ll mark a weapon by the identifiable information as the serial number, country code in this case, caliber another piece of information very relevant, importing information very relevant. So once we’ve marked the weapons we have to be able to keep record of that information on the database. That’s why the OAS is also providing a laptop for that purpose, so that is gonna allow you to identify the last legitimate owner of the weapon. So once you have a weapon found involved in a criminal activities if you have the weapon marked you’re gonna be able to trace it and that’s gonna help the law enforcement authorities to identify the criminals as well as the traffickers and trafficking routes. So the database in this case is gonna be just for Belize, but because this program is regional many other countries are also gonna have marking of weapons are gonna be keeping databases.”

The machine is expected to have a significant impact on crime in Belize, and by extension, on firearm trade in the region.

Crispin Jefferies, Commissioner of Police

“I believe that today’s presentation will help us to avoid the type of situations where we’ve had firearms finding its way back in the hands of the criminal element that were once confiscated by the police. It is believed that this equipment will be used to specifically mark firearms confiscated by the court and start the process onwards for the destruction of firearms.”

George Lovell

George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of Police and Public Safety

“This machine that you see here in front of you here today will obviously strengthen the coordination, cooperation and transparencies among law enforcement communities in this region At home here in Belize, it will certainly enhance investigative techniques in trafficking and tracking of arms here in Belize and in the region.”

In order to maximize the optimal use of the machine, training for ten officers to utilize the device followed immediately.

Crispin Jefferies

Crispin Jefferies

“The training takes place immediately after this session and Miss Raskovan will be running the training and the capabilities of the computer is so much that it would give you the kind of thing that any other kind of computer would do, such as, say for instance you want a specific design lettering referred to as font, then the machine can do that. The sizing, we‘d be able to put a unique reference number, that is, BZ on any firearm.”

The donation is a part of the OAS program ‘Promoting Firearms Marking in Latin America and the Caribbean. Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

The Ministry of Police and Public Safety says it is also working on putting in place a National Commission Group to rid the streets of guns and identify the owners of weapons.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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6 Responses for “Belize gets firearm marking equipment to control weapons trafficking”

  1. I Have Awaken says:

    and the criminals care about this, why? Have the tightening on firearms license stop the violence on the streets? How dumb are the so-called smart people that make laws?

  2. Islander says:

    yup bEcause criminals will be so eager to get their guns marked they will make lines at the police headquarters. Yet another useless headache for legitimate gun owners.

  3. Jan says:

    Wow brillant. Applause & reverence to the police department, gosh is this a joke. I had to read over & over their comments. Why in the world would you mark a confiscated firearm & then destroy it. How the criminals get their hands on these confiscations. Maybe I’m so naive or dumb but this is only making a statement. Police Department is corrput !!! Its liike saying that they sell it the criminals. Thanks for the news flash.

  4. Elgin Martinez says:

    So what about the guns that are not marked?Maybe a tracking device on the criminals would have served a better purpose.I relly don’t know how many criminals are going to take in their weapons to get marked.Furthermore marking a weapon is not going to stop the comission of a crime with said weapon.

  5. Belizean says:

    You re both right, this does nothing to the illegal weapons trafficking through our borders, fuelled by all these wealthy drug dealers. When you dont target the core cause of our problems you waste tax dollars.

  6. mylegacyb4mypeople says:

    Where does the problems with illegal fire arms start? I doubt that it is mostly with the legitimate owner of those fire arms although I am certain that a legitimate owner of a fire arm would from time to time have their fire arm stolen there is a much bigger problem whereby these illegal fire arms are crossing our borders which is where our concentration needs to be, if Guatemalans can cross our borders illegally I am certain that they can bring all the illegal fire arms over that they choose to, same applies to the Mexican border and not to mention the many vessels that comes over from Honduras and probably the biggest offender is our very own customs department at the port where you can get just about anything in the country through the accommodation of those money hungry custom officers employed there. Remember My Legacy B4 My People.

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