The U.S. Military Liaison Office (USMLO) of the U.S. Embassy in Belize has made a donation of equipment to the National Fire Service as part of its humanitarian assistance program, following yesterday’s dedication of a new community center in Hattieville. We hear more from U.S. Ambassador to Belize, His Excellency Carlos Moreno.
Carlos Moreno, U.S Ambassador to Belize: Claws that are able to cut through heavy metal. Radios and other communication equipment, gas detection devices, portable water pumps and lights. The actual list will go in depth for you, but the way the project works is that we ask what is most needed by the Fire Service, and we see if we can meet those demands, and that’s what we’re doing here.
Reporter: Do you have any idea of the value of it?
Carlos Moreno, U.S Ambassador to Belize: The value is over 1.7 million Belizean Dollars. It’s a pretty substantial sum. Today we also dedicated through SouthPaw a community center and disaster relief shelter that cost about 800,000 Belizean Dollars. So in the space of 2 days you’re looking at 2Million Belizean Dollars.
Minister responsible for the Fire Service, Senator Godwin Hulse, accepted the donation on Belize’s behalf. He also discusses why it is necessary to keep repairing gear that has run out of usefulness.
Godwin Hulse, Minister for the Fire Services :Donation as you heard me say is extremely welcomed because resources for all departments involved all limited. There’s lot of things we’d like to do and buy because the fire chiefs keep saying Minister we need new Fire Trucks etc. But it’s a budget of 900Million dollars that has to spread across Education and everything in the country so when we get donations like this it’s extremely welcomed. It’s protective gear mainly, and it’s life saving gear. The Jaws Of Life, we have many traffic accidents, you know many time we can’t get people out, that’s what that type of equipment is used for. Of course our fire men who have to go into dangerous situations many times, particularly where they’re different gases and sort, they need this type of equipment to support them. As you heard it’s about 1.2 Million Belize Dollars so we are extremely grateful.
Reporter: On the topic of fire engines, we we’re told that a number of them area ancient. they are in strategic locations but because the equipment is so old, there can be a national emergency and those equipment could fail. Why is it that we keep on having to use them?
Godwin Hulse, Minister for the Fire Services: Well there are two answers to that. First of all thank goodness there is not that national emergency and so far as you know nobody has complained about the quick response of the fire department, that use to be an issues. Yes the fire engines are old but then they are like old and craft battleships. These type of equipment are close to a million dollars so you continue to maintain and maintain and you will see, don’t let the years 50’s and 60’s fool you. Like the old DC3’s continue to fly, the old Boys continue to fly, they’re continuously maintained and upgraded, but we do have in the budget next time if we’re back in office to renew some of them.
The equipment will be spread out among the major locations for fire stations countrywide.