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Oct 21, 2014

Agencies Collaborate in Cultural Preservation

The constant pillaging of Belize’s cultural and historic patrimony remains a national issue which cannot be swept under the rug.  The looting of archaeological sites, including El Pilar near the Belize-Guatemala border, has raised serious concerns from the conservation community.  For the past two days representatives of the U.S. State Department have been hosting a workshop during which local stakeholders are being educated on an agreement struck between Belize and the United States in 2013 prohibiting the sale and importation of looted artifacts in that country.  Greg Borgstede, an analyst with the U.S State Department, told News Five that looting is an issue that is not exclusive to Belize.

 

Greg Borgstede, Analyst, U.S. Department of State

“The workshop is a collaboration between the U.S. Embassy here in Belize and the Belizean National Institute of Culture and History and the United States is partnering with Belize in order to collaborate in ways to fight the problem of looting and trafficking of the cultural patrimony of Belize.  This is a major problem and last year the United States and Belize signed a formal memorandum of understanding to work together to fight this problem that’s serious here in Belize and ultimately to protect the cultural patrimony of Belize and keep it here in Belize.”

 

Isani Cayetano

Greg Borgstede

“In terms of the current discussion that’s taking place, what are some of the salient points that have been brought forward since the beginning of this workshop earlier today?”

 

Greg Borgstede

“Great question.  It’s pretty interesting to me that we do these kinds of workshops in various countries around the world and some of the key issues that always come up with all countries is coordination between governments and within governments.  So getting the various stakeholders all on the same page and coming to agreements on how best to fight the problem.  So here for example, we have from the United States representatives from the Department of State, from our Department of Justice, from our Department of Homeland Security and the goal being that we can show some ways in which the United States government works together to fight this problem and hopefully we can discuss these issues with representatives from various entities within Belize.  So the coordination both between our governments and within the governments can go as smoothly as possible, it’s never going to be perfect but that coordination issue is kind of what we are hoping to achieve.”

 

The workshop concluded this afternoon at the Radisson.

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