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On Thursday, March 31, 2022, the U.S. Embassy presented its 2022 Woman of the Year Award to  Belize Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Alma Pinelo, of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. “A champion for women’s equality in Belize’s Armed Forces,” commented the U.S. Embassy of Belize. “Throughout her career, LCDR Pinelo has sought to empower women as equal partners in Belize’s security forces. LCDR Pinelo helped launch Belize’s first Women, Peace and Security Agenda to increase Belizean women’s roles in national security and to eliminate sexism, prejudice, and discrimination. LCDR Pinelo also plays a key role in the ongoing development of a Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response Program in the security forces. LCDR Pinelo is an unwavering champion for security and equality in her country. She is an inspiration for women in security in Belize and around the world.”

Alma Pinelo Named Woman of the Year By US Embassy Belize

Since LCDR Pinelo is currently in Taiwan for training, the award was accepted on her behalf by her mother Jennie Staines. Chief Petty Officer Kerstin Dickerson, the Chief Operations Coordinator from the U.S. Embassy Security Cooperation Office presented the award on the U.S. Embassy’s behalf. Congratulations Alma!

Alma Pinelo Named Woman of the Year By US Embassy Belize

Alma Pinelo deliveres her address to the gathering via live stream video from Taiwan

“Truly an honor to be recognized for the work I’ve been putting in for the last almost decade since becoming a commissioned officer,” commented Alma Pinelo on a Facebook post all the way from Taiwan. "Proper Integration and achieving gender equality and equity is not an easy task. Daily women have to go above and beyond to prove their worth and place they’ve made for themselves when some men simply get the praise for doing the bare minimum. I’m not mad, the world and society started that way. It just took women far longer to get recognized so we continue to advocate and ensure that our voices don’t get lost in all the testosterone. Thank you to the U.S. Embassy Belize for this accolade. Again I am truly grateful! Thank you to my mom, friends, and family that always support me in all I do. Thank you to the other service women and men that have helped and guided me along the way.”

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