Every day, one of the constants that can be look forward to on either radio or television is the weather report from the National Meteorological Service. It is one of the services that many people may have just been taking for granted. Today, whilst at the opening of the third phase of the meeting of the Caribbean MET Council, Love News met up with Doctor Kenrick Leslie, the founder of Belize’s National MET Service. Dr Leslie shared a brief history of his early days in the industry.
DR KENRICK LESLIE
“I started out at the Meteorological Service at the Federal Government at the West Indies. I was one of the first set of regional people trained in England in meteorology. Prior to that the Meteorological services which were centered in Trinidad, Jamaica and the Bahamas were staffed by English forecasters so I was among one of the first in the region to be trained as a meteorologist or weather forecaster.”
Dr Leslie went on to speak on the first steps taken in having the Belize Weather Bureau established as well as the personnel properly trained.
DR KENRICK LESLIE
“I came back to Belize in 1966 to start setting up the National Met Service, there was no met service in Belize. They had an observation station at the airport but there was no MET service so that was where I came in to put a plan together, submitted it to the Cabinet. It was a twenty year plan which they actually approved and through that we were able to train people. So when I left here in 1981 the MET staff had developed from a staff of two people to forty seven where we had professionally trained people and one of my goals was to ensure that they were not all trained at the same University so we had people trained in England, The Caribbean, The United States and Canada so as a result we had a cross section of people trained in Meteorology but from different institutions and therefore they came back with different ideas. I thought that was important so you don’t get everybody thinking alike and that was the genesis of the National Meteorological Service in Belize.
When Dr Leslie had begun the mission of developing Belize’s National Met Service, his position had fallen under the Civil Aviation Department. Less than ten years later, in 1972 the MET Office in the Civil Aviation Department was upgraded to the National Meteorological Service in the Ministry of Energy and Communication. As it pertains to the now traditional radio weather reports, it is to be noted that the first local weather forecast to be broadcast from the MET office over local airwaves was done in 1967, using the name Belize Weather Bureau as opposed to the National Meteorological Service.