The Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations and the Belize Tourism Board has donated two brand new vehicles to the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) and the Tourism Policing Unit. The Toyota Hilux pickup trucks valued at 130,000 dollars were handed over this morning at a short ceremony held in Belize City. The donation is a part of BTB’s effort to work with Belize’s law enforcement agencies to bolster citizen security for both locals and foreigners. Minister of Tourism, Anthony Mahler, spoke about the significance of the donation.
Anthony Malher, Minister of Tourism: “We’ve always had good relationships with both the security services, whether B.D.F. or Police Department, and we’ve also had good working relationship with the NICH and the Institute of Archaeology and so to ensure that they can carry out their roles and responsibilities in a more efficient way, we saw the need for an investment in some vehicles. Some additional vehicles are going to come but like I said, you have supply chain issues so the vehicles are slower in coming than we would want it to be but within the next couple months, we should have all the vehicles in. We should get some. We should get some UTVs as they’re called and we will continue to ensure that the security forces and the Institute of Archaeology, both entities, have the necessary resources to carry out their function properly. Safety is critical to any destination. You can see when the crime rate got out of control in Acapulco that was one of the premier destinations in Mexico and that has gone way down over the last, I’d say 10 or 15 years. You can see when that incident happened out in San Pedro where the doctor got shot, the tourism uptake in that area went down by 25, 30% from what I have been advised and so we need a safe environment for Belizeans first and we need a safe environment for Belizans coming in.”
Minister of Home Affairs, Kareem Musa, explained that the donation will greatly assist in increasing the mobility of the Tourism Policing Unit.
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “You know, Dwayane, the Tourism Industry is our largest income earner as a country. It accounts for about 40% of our GDP and so we have to keep our tourism product valuable at all times. And our Tourism Police Unit is a specialised unit that is tasked with that very important job of securing the tourist whenever they visit our shores and so today, we’re extremely, extremely grateful to the Ministry of Tourism, the Minister, Hon. Anthony Mahler for this very kind donation of a vehicle for the Tourism Police Unit which will be utilised on the streets of Belize City for the cruise passengers that visit our shores every week and we do expect to receive more shortly. We had a donation of motorcycles and bicycles the other day. And so it’s continuously we’re getting donations and we are investing as a Police Department, in 20 more vehicles, some of which will be utilised by the TPU as well in the coming months. There was a tender late last year but as the minister mentioned, there are sourcing issues with motor vehicles. All the manufacturers are having difficulty sourcing the vehicles but we should be getting five of the twenty this week.”