The shooting death of a tourism police Danny Conorquie at the Caracol archaeological site has stirred a series of events that center on security and justice for the victim. The discussions as to how to deal with the aftermath of the situation continued this weekend with a stakeholder meeting.
Discussions surrounded the archaeological reserve and the Chiquibul National Park among members of the Belize Toursim Board, the National Institute of Culture and History NICH, the Institute of Archeology, the Tourism Police Unit, San Ignacio Police Formation, Friends for Conservation and the Cayo Tour Guides Association. The Cayo Tour Guide Association made a number of recommendations including the need to increase military presence on the route to Caracol and the site itself starting from seven in the morning. This way there would be better access to the site for tourism activities that include botanical tours, ecology, hiking and camping to name a few. The association also suggested that they would like to have a better rapport with the TPU and Armed forces or every security option available for their safety. The second suggestion is that at least two hundred meters or more near the site is thinned, not cleared to allow for better visibility within the park and perimeter.
A third recommendation is for access routes for ATVs and access to the perimeter and standing, manned security booths for better patrolling and security. The CTGA is also saying that there is a need to educate the Belize Defense Force personnel there on the process of tourism and how the site is organized so as to be more proactive and disciplined in their responsibilities at the site. A fifth recommendation is that NICH train their own wardens with direct responsibility for the park and that there is a need for their own transport specifically for this site to best manage emergencies. Another is that there is a need for a multi task force including the BTB, NICH, the Armed forces, and the Forestry Department, for the best protection of the route to and at the parks of Caracol, and the larger Chiquibul area. The CTGA suggested reaching out for international support for the defense of the Belizean forest suggesting that BTB and other related partners can launch a marketing/awareness campaign to achieve this. The final recommendation is that the army and tourism police personnel be armed and equipped with appropriate gear for the terrain. Work is already underway for improved security in the area such as the clearing of underbrush and the building of an outpost.
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