The Belize Port Authority is a statutory body falling under the portfolio of the Ministry of Transport and National Emergency Management.
The Authority is administered by a Board comprising of a Chairman (Representing the Minister), two Ex-officio Members (Financial Secretary & Chief Executive Officer) and seven other members appointed by the Minister.
Appointments are for a period of two (02) yrs.
The Ports Commissioner/Harbour Master is responsible to ensure the proper administration of the Belize Port Authority.
The Commissioner is supported by a team of six (06) Managers: Assistant Ports Commissioner, Chief Safety & Security, Accountant, Human Resources, Vessel Documentation & Planning, Policy & Public Relations.
Mrs. Merlene Martinez was appointed as the Ports Commissioner/Harbour Master of the Belize Port Authority on 1st June 2013. She comes to the Authority with many years of service in various management positions in administrative and enforcement agencies throughout her Public Service career.
Born in Mango Creek, Belize on 25th December, 1956, Mrs. Merlene Martinez holds a Master’s Degree in Public Service (International) at the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom (2001), a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration (Summa cum Laude) (1992), Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians, (1990), General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level in Economics and Accounting, University of London (1990) and a High School Diploma from Wesley College in Belize City. Mrs. Martinez received a Paul Harris Fellow Award (2008) of the International Rotary Club and was commissioned as a Justice of the Peace (JP) for the territory of Belize.
As the Ports Commissioner/Harbour Master, she is the Chief Executive Officer of the Authority and responsible for all functions entrusted to her under the Belize Port Authority (BPA) Act CAP 233, Harbour & Merchant Shipping Act CAP 234; Revised 2003, Wreck & Salvage Act CAP 237 and Abandoned Wreck Act CAP 235. Her duties entail (a) to operate the ports as appears to it best calculated to serve the public interest; (b) to regulate and control navigation within the limits of ports (c) to maintain, improve and regulate the use of ports and facilities (d) to provide pilotage services, beacons, buoys and other navigational services and aids.
Under Mrs. Merlene Martinez’s leadership, the port State control operations and safety and security of the maritime community in Belize continues to be a main focus of the Authority, particularly in fulfilling Belize’s obligations under the various international conventions and ensuring that the training opportunities continue to be utilised.
With a committed and competent workforce of seventy-eight (78) at the end of fiscal year 2016/2017, the Authority continues to rise to the challenge to meet the demand of the public by offering efficient and flexible services.
Mrs. Martinez’ vision for the Belize Port Authority is to continuously develop the organization to be able to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to the rapidly changing and demanding maritime sector.