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Belize’s first female Comptroller of Customs

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Jan. 12, 2021– For the first time in Belize’s history, there will be a female at the helm of the Customs and Excise Department. Last week it was confirmed that Estelle Leslie, the former assistant comptroller of the department, had been promoted to her new post as Comptroller of Customs after thirty-two years of service.

The UWI alumnus began her career at the Customs Department in 1988 as an entry-level officer with the vision of someday rising to the highest official rank within the department. After years of dedication to her field, Leslie was selected to take on the duties of the Comptroller post — a position that only she and one other candidate were considered for.

It is clear that Leslie’s rise to the top was far from easy, as her slow climb up the ranks from being a Grade 2 employee required her to also seek higher education during her employment. Now the Comptroller of Customs possesses a Master’s Degree.

In an interview with the media, Leslie said, “…from I stepped through the door in 1988, my dream was always to become the first female Comptroller of Customs. So I entered the department, made it my career. I started as Grade 2, moved up the rank to Grade 1, then to Senior Customs Examiner, then to Collector. That name was changed to Assistant Comptroller, then Deputy Comptroller and finally as the Comptroller of Customs. So I have worked several areas of the department. I haven’t shied away from any responsibility given to me. I’ve always done my job to the best of my ability, and I knew that in order to succeed and reach this level, it would mean that I would need to get some kind of education as well. So I went back to school, acquired my Bachelor’s degree and then my Master’s degree to equip myself for today, as the Comptroller of Customs.”

Estelle Leslie succeeds Colin Griffith, who is in the process of retirement.

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