In Belize, as well as in other Central American countries such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, gun violence has been a problem that continues to plague the different governments and police departments. The problem is, nobody can clearly say where the guns are coming from, and how to stop them from entering a jurisdiction. Well, to better equip Belize’s Police Department and the Customs Department, specialists from the Central American Program on Small Arms and Light Weapons Control (CASAC) is holding a special training at the Custom’s Department’s Office in Port Loyola, Belize City. It will last for 3 days from August 11th to the 14th, and CASAC, which is an entity under Central American Integration System (SICA), will teach these officers, who work at border entry points about how to detect the smuggling of weapons into the Country.
It is expected that 60 public officers from these two law enforcement agencies will be under the tutelage of Rafael Donis a technician of CASAC, and his team of representatives, which include officers of the national police of Nicaragua, Colombia and other specialized technicians of the CASAC.
For the 3 days, the local law enforcement will work on the theoretical and practical content of training. They will go over the legal components, the intelligence component, ballistics, the use of tools for the identification of firearms and their parts, police intervention, and police protocols. They will learn to how to profile potential traffickers, who are usually individuals who try to disguise their weapons smuggling operations as legitimate business in the country they want to sell on the black market. For example, a major element of the illegal trade of weapons that the international law enforcement has picked up on is that weapons are being imported into the country in smaller pieces. One component of a weapon comes in a bulk package in one container. Another component comes in another container, and so on and so forth. So, when the smuggler gets all his containers together, he or she is then able to assemble all the different components and put together the gun that is to be sold.
The training will also focus on detecting the different methods of weapons smuggling, and different agencies that gun-runners try to corrupt to make their operations easier. This training is to help all law enforcement officers who are the watchdogs at maritime, airline or terrestrial border entry points. The program is part of a regional effort carried out within the framework of the project “Support the fight against illegal possession and trafficking of firearms in Central America, and neighboring countries.” It is being funded by the European Union.