Belizean woman recognized by US State Department

Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2016. 1:19 p.m. CST

Bzean woman awardedBy BBN Staff: Yesterday US Secretary of State John Kerry presented 14 extraordinary women with the 2016 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Awards.

The recipients included Debra Baptist-Estrada of Belize, who works as a Port Commander at the Belize Immigration and Nationality Department. Estrada was present at the ceremony to receive the award personally from Kerry at the US State Department office in Washington D.C.

The State Department offered Estrada high praise saying, “In an institution largely dominated by men, 20-year Belize Department of Immigration veteran Debra Baptist-Estrada has consistently refused bribes and other incentives to look the other way.”

As Port Commander of Belize’s only international airport, Estrada worked with U.S. officials last spring to crack open a drug and human smuggling operation to the U.S. and Europe, the State Department added.

After being transferred to Belize’s northern border this summer, Estrada continued to bring her incorruptible style to the job, enforcing immigration laws that had not been enforced for a very long time, and rejecting bribes, the Department continued.

While many might shrug off corruption as “the human condition,” Estrada is quietly and courageously effecting change and strengthening the rule of law, the statement ended.

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