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Customs now has equipment to detect nuclear weapons Print E-mail
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Thursday, 04 May 2017 00:00

On Wednesday, May 3, 2017, there was a handing over of special equipment to the Belize Customs and Excise Department and the Belize Police Department by the Export Control and Related Border Security Program (EXBS). According to Gregory Bates, EXBS’ Security Advisor from the US Embassy in Panama City, they are looking forward to continuing their collaboration with Belize’s local interdiction teams.

The efforts of the EXBS are to minimize the global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, military grade nuclear weaponry, and other efforts of terrorism. They especially focus on the decrease of transfer of such radiological materials into the private sector. There are equipment and trainings that need to be implemented to assure that the distribution is reduced as much as possible. Working with governments and their departments ensure that officers are able to recognize such threats and that transfers are intercepted as expeditiously as possible. In these efforts, the Government of Belize and its respective departments, Customs and Police Departments, have received tool kits to equipt border authorities as it relates to the searching of vehicles and other cargo. Trainings, which have been going on for around three years, will continue to organize the persons on the front line of Belize’s defense.

While all this preparation may seem far fetched for Belize, the authorities believe that given Belize’s very vulnerable location between North and South Americas, Belize is viewed as a soft target and preparing in a military fashion can do more good than bad. We should be ready to work in a scenario of worst case. According to Colin Griffith, the acting Comptroller of Customs and Excise Department, although it appears that Belize has not yet been victim to such terrorist or radiological threats, it may be the case that the responsible authorities were just not able to recognize it due to their lack of training and equipment.

There was the handing over of the donation of the new equipment. That was preceded by the signing of the appropriate documents. Griffith and the representative of the Commissioner of Police, Robert Loriano, signed the papers and were each given a medallion. The equipment costs a total of US $45,000 and is a form of the US Government’s efforts to enhance Belize’s land, maritime, and inland border security.