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Gov’t Collabs with US Embassy to Improve Forensic Investigations

Belize has begun making steps to transition from a coroner system to an established medical examiner system.  What this means is that the forensics unit would go well beyond a basic post-mortem.  According to a joint release from the Government and the US Embassy, the high-level roundtable discussion surrounds the implementation of death investigations for all cases of sudden, unexpected, unexplained, suspicious or violent deaths.  Currently the National Forensic Science Service assists the Belize Police Department with a quarter of all reported deaths annually in Belize.  According to the head of Belize’s Forensics Service, Gian Cho the current focus is on strengthening human resources in order to produce high quality, independent, accurate, timely and complete information in support of death investigations.”  The roundtable talks included the US Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Bureau Specialist Georgia Belezaire along with local officials including the Police Commissioner, the Acting Chief Justice, the Attorney General and CEOs in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Health.  The discussion was facilitated by Dr. Roger Mitchell, the Chief Medical Examiner in Washington, DC. Dr. Mitchell highlighted the need to establish a cadre of locally certified Medical Examiners to support the existing MLDI system in Belize and articulated a strategy for ongoing training and certification of Belizean Medical Examiners.