Interpol Contacted in Stolen Artifacts Case
Still on the issue of stolen artifacts, which globally represents a billion-dollar industry in the parallel market. Over the weekend, the San Pedro House of Culture was burglarized and stolen from within the building on Angel Coral Drive was an assortment of invaluable artifacts. The break-in was discovered by manager, Guillermo Paz, on Sunday morning. The Director of the Museum of Belize and the Houses of Culture, Sherilyn Jones, has since contacted Interpol in an effort to recover the items.
Sherilyn Jones, Director, Museum of Belize & Houses of Culture
“It is always unfortunate when we have looting of the sites or in the situation where the House of Culture was broken into and antiquities was stolen. Antiquities is a billion dollar industry across the world and it is difficult for us to really monitor. We are saddened by it, the fact that people would steal our own heritage and try an profit from it, but it is a billion dollar around the world. Obviously we have now looked at our protocols, our security systems that we have at San Pedro and we are going to take a site visit tomorrow and really address the serious concerns that we have. Obviously, the idea to have the objects out for people to appreciate might not necessarily be the way to display them. We might have to look at that. But like I said, it is an unfortunate incident; the police are investigating and we are hoping that even if it is just two or four of the objects that are recovered; that would be a good thing. But we are looking at the security issues in San Pedro. Whatever the buyer chooses to pay for an object, that’s really the price it is. I am not going to put a monetary value to it because then we don’t want to encourage other people to go out there and start looking for objects. It is an irreplaceable loss to our country and to our culture.”
“When it comes to this, I believe you guys have put out a ban when it comes to transportation of these Mayan artifacts or any artifacts in general.”
“Well whenever objects of historical or cultural nature are stolen, we contact Interpol. There is an object ID list…we list all the objects that are on there and it goes on to the Interpol website for lost and stolen antiquities. That is circulated around the globe so that if the item shows up in any art dealer or any country then they can track it back to Belize. We signed a bilateral agreement with United States so if it shows up in United States then it is repatriated back to the country.”
The stolen items include: two conch shell rings, three stone axes, one ink pot, a rare jade ear flare, three net weights, two arrow heads, a loom weight and a conch shell spoon.