Protecting the Principal: X-Ray Machines For Public Bldgs
Since 9/11 - the US Government has become one of the most security conscious Governments in the world.
And now they are bringing a part of that to Belize.
The US Government today donated three X-Ray machines to the government.
They're the kind you'd usually find at the airport - but one of these will be at the seat of power in the Sir Edney Cain building. Another will be at the CB Hyde building in Belize City and the last at the Kolbe Central Prison in Hattieville.
These were handed over today - along with a pair of walk through metal detectors. The US Deputy Chief Of Mission, Nini Hawthorne says security is an increasingly relevant priority:
Nini Hawthorne, Deputy Chief of Mission - US Embassy
"Protecting our facilities is a key component of the United States Government operations just as it is important to the government of Belize. When we protect our facilities, we protect the people inside them. In fact we have an entire bureau within the State Department that focuses on this critical area. As recent tragic events in Libya have demonstrated protecting government buildings and facilities must remain a top priority in an increasingly unpredictable world. We know that Belize is everybody's concern about protecting the leaders who guide and serves citizens. The security of these leaders starts in places where they work and where they live. To do their effectively they need to know and feel that they are safe and secure from people who may want to harm them. To assist this US security professionals use state of the art security detection equipment to ensure that absolutely no weapons or other potentially hazardous materials are introduce into those buildings. We believe that the introduction of these machines into this building that houses the office of the Prime Minister and other senior government of Belize officials is both necessary and appropriate. Their security is of paramount importance."
"The Belize central prison is another critical component of the country's justice and correction system. We hope that introduction of both x-ray machine and walk through metal detector at the prison will help eliminate contraband including drugs and weapons which could harm prison officials and inmates."
"The Charles Bartlett Hyde building in Belize City is another key government of Belize building. The introduction of the 3rd x-ray machine into this facility in December would be useful in ensuring that Belizeans civil servants and citizens are safe and secure while conducting their business."
Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of National Security
"I was very ecstatic when they came to my office a few weeks ago and told us of the possibility of this contribution from the Embassy and when we discuss the locations that we want to put these; first and foremost in our minds was the administration building, Sir. Edney Cane building where most of leaders and certainly our Prime Minister works on a daily basis. I was also very happy though that the embassy also agreed to locate one of these machines at the Charles Bartlett Hyde administration building in Belize City. I recall when I was the minister of Public Service and I had toured that building a couple years ago - that was one of the main concern of our public officers who work in that building, in the heart of one of those crime ridden areas that we just address last week with some new action. You can sit more comfortably in your offices and know that there is added security here in this administration building and at our prison for those who work in that facility."
The equipment is considered state of the art and is valued at about $300,000 Belize dollars.