By Alexis R. Milan
The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) with assistance from the Ministry of Tourism, presented the Tourism Police Unit (TPU) with some new equipment, including cycles and radios to assist the unit with their day-to-day activities.
Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia presented the new fleet of cycles and the radios. He said the contribution is important as it will assist the TPU to carry out its mandate to enforce tourism legislation and safeguard the tourism industry, which accounts for about 25 percent of Belize’s GDP.
The TPU received five new Yamaha XTZ125 CC trailbikes, which are capable of navigating through rough terrain and 28 new hand-held Kenwood radios. The radios will assist the officers to keep in touch.
The trailbikes are designated for the Tourism Police Formations in Hopkins Village, Orange Walk, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, and Belize City. The trailbikes in Hopkins Village will be used to patrol popular sites nearby such as Mayflower Bocawina National Park and the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.
The bikes are expected to make an immediate impact in Orange Walk as the TPU does not have any form of transportation at the moment.
Northern Ambergris Caye, which is not easily accessible, will also be able to see good use of the bike, which will allow for the deployment of the TPU and rapid response team.
The Cayo district, which covers a large area of land with diverse activities and eco-systems, will also benefit from the ease of access the bike provides. In Belize City, patrols are needed to ensure that only licensed operators are taking guests on tours and to increase police visibility to deter criminal activity in the Fort Street Tourism Zone.
The 28 handheld radios will be distributed between Corozal Town, Orange Walk Town, San Ignacio Town, Benque Viejo Town, Punta Gorda Town, Caye Caulker Village, Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Reserve, Caracol Archaeological Reserve, Hopkins, and Placencia Village.
Belize City, being the hub for cruise tourism and ground transportation into the country, as well as water taxi connections to the cayes, will also receive radios.
The BTB has also equipped the Caye Caulker Police Station with a base radio to be used in communication with the handheld radios that the Caye Caulker TPU has received.
A mobile radio has also been donated to the TPU and is now being operated from the vehicle assigned to the unit.