Borders and airport to get electronic passport systems by October

Vinai Thummalapally

Although Belize has designated border crossings, the processing of visitors and nationals can sometimes lag. To speed up the process and to make it efficient, the western and northern border as well as the international airport will be experiencing an upgrade in their management systems. Passports will be read electronically which will allow easy compilation of data about the movement of tourists and locals. The funding for the initiative also comes courtesy of CARSI. The U.S. Ambassador to Belize Vinai Thummalapally says the system should be operational by October.

Vinai Thummalapally, U.S Ambassador to Belize

"Border security is essential. Most of you have travelled through the northern border with Mexico, western border with Guatemala and the P.G.I.A., our airport. We have partnered with Belize Immigration and an international organization of migration to install an automated border management system at the airport and the two main border crossings; this will be done by October of this year. For the first time, all persons entering or exiting Belize will have their passports scanned; providing a clear electronic trail. This will be tremendously helpful-not only to the immigration and law enforcement officials, but also to the Ministry of Tourism. Separately, customs/immigration and police will create two mobile interdiction teams to form 24/7 quick response units trained and equipped to handle emergencies anywhere in the country. As areas between formal borders and both ports of entry are difficult to patrol, these elite units will help reduce illegal activities along border areas. In the future, additional mobile interdiction teams will be set up in the south and in the west. Previous CARSI funded border security training has led to major drug and contraband seizures."

Channel 5