The United States and Belize Sign MOU to Enhance the National Forensic Science Service
On November 2, the United States and Belize signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for expansion of infrastructure and technical training within the National Forensic Science Service. Under this "Forensic Crime Scene Office Project," the United States will support the construction of three Scenes of Crime offices, equip the offices with new forensic equipment, and provide training and advisory services for domestic technicians.
This project is part of the Justice Sector Reform/Forensics: Paving the Path to International Accreditation and International Association for Identification (the largest forensics certification organization in the world) Certification program. Under the MOU, new office spaces will be allocated in Belmopan, Dangriga, and Ladyville in order to meet workspace requirements, paving the way for Belize's international accreditation, by July 2022.
U.S. Embassy International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Coordinator Mary Walz emphasized, "The construction and installation of these three office spaces under the Forensic Crime Scene Office Project will immediately improve the working environments for crime scenes technicians in key locations across Belize. This, in turn, will enhance the security and integrity of evidence collected from crime scenes in locations across the country. It's all about making sure the people are served through justice being served."
The U.S.-funded Forensic Crime Scene Office Project is valued at over $750,000 BZD. Executive Director of the Belize National Forensic Science Service Mr. Gian Cho stated "This project will complement recent investments made by the Government of Belize to improve office space and technical workstations for the Scenes of Crime Main Office in Belize City. These upgrades will also allow for the addition of certified crime scenes technicians in the near future."
This project represents a continuation of U.S. support. In recent years, the United States Government, through the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan, has provided support to the National Forensic Science Service in the provision of forensic equipment, specialized vehicles, expert advisory services, and training to experts and administrators.