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#504842 - 06/03/15 05:36 AM Forensic Lab and DNA Testing Coming to Belize  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Forensic Lab and DNA Testing Will Soon Be a Reality in Belize

George Lovell

One of the major thrusts is strengthening the forensic capabilities of the Police Department. Just a few weeks ago, twenty-seven police personnel were certified as international scenes of crime officers. Which of course begs the question – where’s the forensics lab and DNA testing facility which has been a campaign promise every election since 2008? Well there’s some good news in that regard as well, thanks to funding from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration.

Ret’d. Col. George Lovell, C.E.O., Ministry of National Security

“There is monies that have been set aside from that loan for the construction of a proper forensics laboratory. I just yesterday had a meeting of the Program Steering Committee which I chair, where we were looking at not just the time when we are going to see this happen, but the whole process, and I can tell you that in a very short time, and short can be relative, but in a very short time we should be seeing the whole loan arrangements being rolled out and the construction of the forensics lab taking place. One of the things we were trying to establish, or trying to acquire is a proper place with sufficient real estate for us to do a proper lab, and not only for us to have a very small property in which to construct and I think it was up to about almost four million US dollars for the lab, not including the equipment for it. All this will be done through the loan arrangement and we have as we currently speak, been dialoguing with the Americans to help us in terms of the drawings to ensure that they are done to proper scales. As you may well appreciate you can’t just get any engineer to construct a forensics lab, or else you’re going to have a building that looks good but is not ideal for forensics laboratory purposes, and so we are getting engineers that are skilled in that area through the CARSI program.”

Lovell says that discussion on capacity building for local technicians who will be staffing the facility is also currently underway. The monies should start being rolled out early next year, if all goes according to plan.

Channel 5

#510020 - 12/18/15 04:30 AM Re: Forensic Lab and DNA Testing Coming to Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 52,976
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Forensic Science Service Receives Cutting Edge Equipment

Another donation by the U.S. Embassy was granted to the National Forensic Science Service in Ladyville in the form of cutting edge equipment.  A gas chromatograph mass spectrometer machine, also referred to as the Ghost, was received by the department this afternoon at a brief handing over ceremony. Valued at approximately three hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the equipment will be used for analysis drugs such as cocaine and marijuana.

David Henderson, Director, National Forensic Science

“This machine is one of the most modern and it is known as Ghost in the forensic world. This machine will better be able to assist the forensic department in the analyzing of unknown substance, fire, trace material and any unknown substance that we might not be able to…that we are not aware of.”

Carlos Moreno, U.S. Ambassador to Belize

“Today we have the pleasure of transferring ownership of a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer, which is an instrument that is used in science labs to evaluate and analyze controlled substances: marijuana, cocaine, parted as well as rock cocaine, unknown substance, bunk or fake substances or mislabeled substances. So this is an instrument that the forensic scientists will be able to use here. It will be heavy dependent on proper training, however, or police who are collecting the evidence to make sure that in the first instance that the evidence is not contaminated—it is collected properly.”

David Henderson

“This department is fairly young because if you look at the forensic department, the end of January, we will only be three years. I think that we are trying to step up to standard and we must reach to the international standard.”

Duane Moody

“How is this going to help with what you guys do on a general basis and to assist with the combating of crime?”

David Henderson

“Well one of the things, as you might be aware, when it comes to toxicology and thing; we used to do very limited. But now we will be able to better address toxicology; any sort of substance and even pharmaceutical drugs.”

US Embassy Will Provide Training

Training for use of the equipment will be provided by the US Embassy, and Director Henderson says that in January, a staff member returns with a master’s degree in forensic science. According to Ambassador Moreno, police officers, prosecutors as well as judges will be brought on board to maximize use of the equipment by the criminal justice system.

Carlos Moreno, U.S. Ambassador to Belize

“Once the evidence is evaluated, it must be presented in court so police officers, will have to know the ins and outs—of not only collecting the evidence, but also presenting testimony about it. prosecutors—and I was a former prosecutor for about four years working with some these instruments—have to know sort of the basics about how the instrument does its analysis. And then also judges have to know whether or not this kind of evidence is admissible and whether the proper procedures were followed. So this represents a huge investment both by the government of Belize and the United States to ensure quality control in analyzing substances—both legal and illegal—that are going to be presented in the courtroom for purposes of criminal prosecutions. One of the missions here, the U.S. government has is to stem the flow of illegal narcotics that may be transiting through Belize; our primary concern of course would be cocaine. This instrument will assist when there are interdictions of those drugs either on sea or land. Those substances can be properly analyzed and the results can be presented in court in cases of criminal prosecution.”

Channel 5

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