REMARKS BY MINISTER OF NATIONAL SECURITY, HON. JOHN SALDIVAR AT
HANDING OVER CEREMONIES FOR INTEGRATED BALLISTIC IDENTIFICATION
SYSTEM (IBIS) DONATED BY CANADIAN GOVERNMENT – 12 OCTOBER, 2012
Hon. Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Canada; Mr. Hugues
Rousseau, Canadian High Commissioner and other members of the Canadian Delegation;
Carlos Perodomo, Cabinet Secretary; Colonel George Lovell, CEO Ministry of National
Security and other members of the Ministry of National Security, Alexis Rosado, CEO in
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other members of Foreign Affairs; Mr. Patrick
Andrews, Honorary Canadian Consul; We are also blessed with the presence of Mr.
Douglas Singh, previous Minister with the responsibility for the Ministry of Police and
Public Safety; Mrs. Cheryl – Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecution; Ms. Ann – Marie
Smith, Chief Magistrate; Mr. David Henderson, Commissioner of Police and other
members of the Police Department; Brigadier General Dario Tapia, Commander BDF and
other members of the BDF; Captain John Borland, Commandant Belize Coast Guard; Ms.
Genoveva Marin and members of the National Forensic Science Service; Members of the
Various media houses represented here today; other distinguished guests; Ladies and
Gentlemen; a pleasant good morning to one and all.
I feel extremely privileged to have been afforded this opportunity of addressing
this most captive audience – and one capable of influencing positive change in our fight
against crime and violence here in Belize; I am encouraged by your presence here this
morning; this certainly gives me the assurance that as stakeholders we are all committed
to create a safe and secure environment where our citizens and visitors can live in peace
I wish to welcome the Hon. Minister and her team to Belize. My understanding is
that the programme of events included a fly over in a helicopter along the
Belize/Guatemala border accompanied by the Vice Minister of Guatemala and CEO in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. An official visit to the border (adjacency zone) is also
scheduled in the programme of events. I also note that Minister Ablonczy is the head of
the Consular programme for the Canadian Government and as such she will be visiting
the Mennonite Community in Spanish Lookout. I am hopeful that your stay in Belize will
help to further the excellent bilateral relation that both our Governments’ shared since
the establishment of diplomatic relations in November, 1981.
It is pleasing to note that the foundation is well on its way to be set for integrated
planning in citizen security issues. Following the Donor Coordination Group meeting on
Citizen Security with key CEO of the Government, on the 23rd August, 2012; where Belize’s
National Strategic Plans were discussed, a commitment was made for the development of
a road map which will chart the path for a more synchronized approach to the wider
donor contribution effort. We have also been actively engaging our friendly
Governments; dialogue with the British, Canadians, Mexicans and the US Governments
and others continue to result in major capacity building efforts.
In April 2012, through the Anti- Crime Capacity Building Programme, Canada
donated this Integrated Ballistic Identification System, TRAX – 3D, which is valued over
$2 million; which is said to be the most advanced ballistic imaging solution in the world
This will now significantly increase the ability of our law enforcement agencies to
make ballistic matches across crime scenes and jurisdictions. We are hoping that in a very
short time this equipment will assist in our investigating effort of the numerous crimes
involving guns and the arrest of gun crime offenders.
Hon. Minister of State, distinguished guest, It is important to underscore the fact
that this IBIS system was delivered to us in less than six months from the time a
commitment was made by the Canadian Government. Those of us who know how
difficult it is to navigate through the red tape and bureaucracy for donor countries to
provide this type of assistance, in such a short time frame, will understand how
unprecedented this is. The Government of Belize and in particular the Ministry of
National Security is extremely thankful to the Government of Canada for this most
needed and expeditious contribution. You demonstrated that not only you are a true
partner in the fight against National and transnational crime but you are serious about
playing your part.
Belize is partnering with a similar project being executed in Barbados. Barbados
has agreed to share a server with Belize and Belize has agreed to meet the cost of
maintenance of the server jointly with Barbados. Canada has also agreed to sponsor
training for one individual at the Forensic lab in the area of Serology, which is the
scientific study of blood serum and other body fluids. The training will be conducted in
Canada for three months at a cost $18,000 Canadian Dollars.
Moving forward, a recruit squad for the Police Department and one for the BDF
will be added to their strength. The BDF and the BNCG will be strengthened to provide
better security coverage along our borders and at sea. The K9 Unit is being fully utilized
to support the crime fighting effort. The CIMS will be rolled out countrywide. Resource
packages, similar to those given to Eastern Division will be extended to the Districts,
especially Cayo and Stann Creek, in a proportionate manner. Mobile interdiction teams
will be stood up. Legislation to limit the bail of repeat offenders and implement a sex
offenders’ registry and monitoring system along with efforts to increase the rate of
convictions of criminals will be pursued. Efforts will be made to strengthen the Police
Prosecution branch and institute greater coordination between the Police and the Office
of the Director of the Public Prosecution. We will ensure more effectiveness in the
investigation and preparation of cases for prosecution and ensure, together with the
Magistracy and Judiciary, the proper enforcement of the laws governing denial of bail in
cases of sexual and other serious offences; also Procedure to deal disciplinary with corrupt
officers in an expeditious manner will be pursued.
Our Intelligence Architecture will be revamped into a Fusion Center that will host
a new Counter Intelligence Unit, and the proposed National Crime and Violence Trends
Observatory (which would endeavor to conduct more in-depth analysis and primary
research projects on crime and violence trends across the country). The Fusion Center
would also serve as the Government of Belize’s International Liaison with international
and regional partners such as INTERPOL, the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre (RIFC)
in Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Finally, the Fusion Center will
facilitate the I-Trace software and conduct tracing services for all weapons and
ammunition recovered by any and all national security agencies.
There is a whole lot we have planned on doing, but, In times of shrinking
economies and limited resources it is a challenge for our Government to provide needed
resources in the quantity and in all the areas we would like to. Therefore we must be
strategic and real in our approach in addressing our many issues. We ask for patience as
we seek to achieve these planned objects.
We now have the most advance ballistic imaging solution added to our inventory;
I want to ask the staff of the Forensic Service to please look after it well so that it will
service us for a long time to come. We are depending on you to do so.
In ending, I wish to thank the Government of Canada for their kind contribution.
Also I wish to take this opportunity to join the Prime Minister of Belize, the Hon. Dean
Barrow, in offering my congratulations and thanks to the thousands of Belizeans from the
Cayo District and across the country who participated in the San Ignacio/Santa Elena
peaceful protest against crime on Thursday. Please be assured that the war on crime will
not slacken but be heightened by increased human and material resource allocation.
I thank you for the role you have played in this effort and for your attention.
Forensic Lab now has Ballistic Identification Capacity
Official handing over of IBIS
On Friday, October 12th, Hon. Diane Ablonczy, CanadianForensic Lab now has Ballistic Identification Capacity. Minister of State of Foreign Affairs handed over a state of the art Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS) to Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security. The donation was made in April 2012 and it took 6 months for the delivery to be made.
Worth over two million dollars, the system is capable of taking two and three dimensional images of expended bullet shells that are retrieved from crime scenes. These are then stored in a database and can be quickly and precisely compared to others, which have been previously collected and stored. Cross referencing of this type of forensic information gives law enforcement personnel better capacity of linking gun crimes. Aside from the IBIS, the Canadian Government will also provide training in the use of the equipment. They have also committed to the training of one officer in the area of Serology which is the study of blood serum.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Minister John Saldivar explained that Government has taken on the task of developing "a road map which will chart the path for a more synchronized approach to the wider donor contribution effort." Hon. Saldivar also pointed out that Government is also engaging friendly nations to improve the crime fighting capabilities of the country. Already, talks have been engaged with the British, Canadian, Mexican and U.S. Governments.
On the local front of crime fighting, Minister Saldivar stated that recruits will soon be added to the Police, BDF, and the Coast Guard to improve security coverage. Additional resources will also be extended to other districts across the country, in particular Cayo and Stann Creek. Even now legislation is being looked at to limit the bail of repeat offenders and the implementation of a sex offenders’ registry and monitoring system. Along with these efforts, there will also be improved coordination between the police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Other measures are also being looked at to deal with corrupt police officers in an expeditious manner.
Additionally, Hon. Saldivar said that "Our intelligence architecture will be revamped into a fusion center that will host a new Counter Intelligence Unit, and the proposed National Crime and Violence Trends Observatory (which would endeavor to conduct more in-depth analysis and primary research projects on crime and violence trends across the country)." This center, he added, will be the liaison point for regional and international law enforcement partners and will be augmented by software to conduct tracing services for all weapons and ammunition recovered by any and all national security agencies.
For her part, the Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs noted that the delivery of the equipment in six months "is the speed of light" for Governments. She added that because we are all connected, Canada too will benefit when the equipment is put to use. She said that modern states need tools in order to terrorize criminals and that is what is being done with the IBIS. With the new tool, she said that the state will better be able to get judgments against criminals to make sure that the country is safe.