Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2022. 8:47 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: As part of efforts to upgrade the work of the National Forensic Science Service (NFSS), equipment valued at $146,000 purchased through a contribution from the BZ$60-million-project titled Belize Integral Security Programme (BISP), which is funded by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).
The items are, respectively, a Thermo-Scientific TSX Series High-Performance Laboratory Refrigerator for evidence storage and a Handheld Portable Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) Spectrometer for rapid field identification of liquid and solid chemicals. The equipment was purchased from EPROLAB, which will also be providing technical training to the forensic science practitioners at the NFSS on its proper usage and basic maintenance.
As explained by Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs and New Growth Industries, who received the equipment on behalf of the NFSS: “The trained personnel of the Exhibit Management Section and the Analytical Chemistry Section of the Forensic Laboratory will put [this] sophisticated equipment to immediate use as part of their regular casework. Stable, long-term refrigerated storage of evidence is critical for any Forensic Department, and Belize’s NFSS will continue to provide this important service with this new additional laboratory-grade refrigerator. Likewise, portable FTIR technology stands to greatly enhance the capacity of forensic scientists, ANU (Anti-Narcotics Unit) Officers, and border security personnel in their work to combat the trafficking of controlled substances by transnational drug trafficking organizations, while minimizing personnel exposure to potentially lethal substances.”
Other initiatives under the program earmarked for the NFSS include a pre-investment study on the needs and design of a new forensic laboratory and the advanced instrumentation to make it operational; a functional forensic morgue to support medicolegal death investigations; two refrigerated mortuary transport vehicles (coroner’s vans), and other necessary laboratory/medical equipment, for a total cost of $7,106,000.
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