US Embassy donates new equipment to Belize Customs to detect weapons of mass destruction

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

On Wednesday, May 3rd, the United States Embassy handed over a variety of equipment to the Customs and Excise Department in Belize City. The donation is part of the Embassy’s ongoing efforts with the Government of Belize (GOB) to enhance land, maritime, and inland border security.
The US$44,950 donation was made possible by the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) program, and it included several radiation detectors, an Isotope Identification kit, along with many tool kits. This new equipment will allow Customs to detect and identify radiological sources, and combat the trans-shipment of weapons of mass destruction between both countries.
EXBS minimizes the global proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, military grade nuclear weaponry, and other forms of terrorism. Collin Griffith, acting controller for the Belize Customs Department, received the new equipment. He stated that the tool kits will assist when conducting searches on vehicles and other cargo vessels. He also mentioned that training will take place to ensure that persons on the frontline of Belize’s defense are fully educated on how to use the equipment.
Greg Bates, Regional Export Control and Border Security Advisor for the US Department of State explained the importance of the donation. "Weapons of mass destruction is spreading globally…our efforts are to prevent the spread of these weapons into countries that are trying to develop a military grade, chemical, biological or nuclear program. There is also an issue to terrorism when we have organizations who have publicly announced their intent to develop and create radiological dirty bombs and chemical weapons…So part of the program is to help prevent that by preventing the illicit transfer of legitimate equipment for the private sector into the hands of individuals that can use the same equipment to create chemical, biological or radiological nuclear programs,” said Bates.
He further stated that he is looking forward to continuing their collaboration with Belize’s local interdiction teams to promote public safety. In the meantime, Bates said that he will be working with the GOB and their departments to ensure that officers are able to recognize such threats and that transfers are intercepted as expeditiously as possible.

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