They say man’s best friend is his dog and recently members of the Belize Defense Force, the Police Department and the Customs Department were assigned to their best friends and work partners. Several dogs were donated to the force under the US initiative, CARSI, and both the dogs and their trainers completed intense training sessions. They trained in various parts of the country, practicing to sniff out drugs, ammunition and recovery of weapons in places such as cemeteries and the airport. It’s a strategy that places a heavy emphasis on the animal that for many is still considered a pet. But the CARSI programme spent well over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to train the animals that are now being deployed into action in the streets. Members of the US Embassy, and the Ministry of National Security attended a brief session where certificates were handed out at the completion of the program on Tuesday at the Police Training Academy in Belmopan.
David Henderson, Acting Commissioner of Police
“The K-9 unit will greatly enhance the capacity of the Belize Police Department, the Military and the Customs Department as a K-9 unit which will be proactive in the fight against drugs and illegal firearms. And in conclusion, I believe that if the unit stays focus, definitely we can have some reduction in crime across the country; particularly in Belize where crime is more prevalent. And I believe if the K-9 unit is dispatched to the different border areas, it will greatly assist us with the in transit of drugs through our country.”
Lt. Col-Ret. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security
“It is my hope that with the new K-9 system being put into effect that we will see a marked increase in the amount of interdiction and arrests. I am pleased ladies and gentlemen today to say that it was the U.S. who came and rescued us out of a very difficult situation because the dogs were already in Belize and already trained these dogs and had I not gotten the U.S. Embassy through their CARSI program to help us with an additional four dogs, we would not have had the amount of dogs on the street. The program would have continued but not at the level and the magnitude that we are realizing here today. So I would also like to public thank the United States Government and the Embassy here in Belize.”
Nina Hawthorne, Charge D’Affairs, Embassy
“We’re very proud that this is a part of CARSI that we were able to help out in this extraordinary program. I would want to also thank the ministry, the police department, the customs department, the B.D.F. for their participation; their willingness to do this—again a terrific partnership. I especially want to thank the EODT team who have done such an extraordinary job to bring this to reality and to bring us to today with the success that we are having today. So we are having a K-9 graduation, but they don’t gowns and hats with little tassels, but that’s okay. I especially want to thank the handlers. I know that you all have worked so hard with these dogs and it’s not just the matter of the dogs; it’s a team. And the team is the key to really making it a success and making it work.”