On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) presented the Tourism Police Unit (TPU) with five (5) Yamaha XTZ125 CC trail bikes and twenty eight (28) handheld radios to assist the TPU in carrying out its mandate, which is to enforce tourism legislation and safeguard the tourism industry.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., did the handing over. The trail bikes are designated for the Tourism Police Formation in Hopkins Village, Orange Walk, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, and Belize City.
Hopkins Village has popular sites nearby such as Mayflower Bocawina National Park and the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. The motorcycle will assist greatly in Orange Walk, as the TPU does not have any form of transportation at the moment. Northern Ambergris Caye is not easily accessible, therefore a trail bike will allow for the deployment of the TPU and rapid response capabilities. The Cayo district is a large stretch of land rich with diverse activities and ecotourism, therefore this trail bike is much needed. 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 are intended to improve communication between the TPU officers patrolling in the respective destinations countrywide and the police stations to whom they report. Corozal Town, Orange Walk Town, San Ignacio Town, Benque Viejo Town, Punta Gorda Town, Caye Caulker Village, Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Reserve (Caves Branch), Caracol Archaeological Reserve, Hopkins, and Placencia Village will now have enhanced communication.
Belize City also received radios, being the hub for cruise tourism and ground transportation into the country, as well as water taxi connections to the cayes. 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 presently housed in the vehicle assigned to the unit.
2015 FCCA Poster Competition Belize Winners
While in Belize City, handing over the donation to the Tourism Police Unit, Hon. Manuel Heredia also presented checks on behalf of the Belize Tourism Board to the Belize winners of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) annual Children’s Environmental Poster Competition.
This is an annual competition hosted by FCCA, enticing school children to design a poster under this year’s theme: “My Caribbean, Your Caribbean, To Protect and Preserve”.
The BTB received many entries, all creative, beautiful and worthy of national recognition. A finalist was selected from each division both Junior (under age 12) and Senior (13 to 16 years) and submitted to FCCA to compete against other FCCA member Caribbean countries. It was a close and fun competition for both the judges and the participants.
The BTB proudly announced the winners: Homayra Sarah placed 3rd in the overall Junior Division, while Nisa Sanchez placed 2nd in the overall Senior Division. Homayra Nawar received US$1,000 for placing third in the Junior category, and her school, St. Joseph RC Primary School, also received US$1,000. Nisa Sanchez received US$1,500 for placing 2nd in the Senior category, and her school, Edward P. Yorke received US$1,500 also.
Minister Heredia presented the students and the principals of the school with their respective checks and gifts from the BTB.