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May 14, 2013

U.D.P.’s Grijalva destroyed Maya site for roads in Deputy Prime Minister’s constituency

The story and images of the irresponsible destruction of one of the largest Mayan Archaeological Sites in northern Belize has been picked up by most international news networks and there is shock, outrage and disgust expressed in every quarter locally. The scuttling of Noh Mul by U.D.P. political aspirant, Denny Grijalva, has reduced the more than two thousand year old ‘Big Hill’ to an insignificant little mound of rubble.  And Grijalva turned Noh Mul into a quarry just last week as fill for village roads in the constituency of Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega in time for village council elections. The intolerable, unspeakable action has been met with wide-spread condemnation and Grijalva is yet to speak. Since it was discovered last week Thursday, there was not even a murmur from any government department – until late this morning that is, when the Ministry of Tourism and Culture called out the proverbial lynch mob for the perpetrator… Mike Rudon has that story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

This once proud Maya site lasted more than two thousand years, through natural disasters and all the elements, but in the end it was no match for U.D.P. political aspirant Denny Grijalva, his backhoes and bulldozers. Today, five days after the destruction was discovered, C.E.O. in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Tracy Panton says that they will use all mechanisms in place to ensure that a situation like this never happens again.

 

Tracy Panton

Tracy Panton, C.E.O., Ministry of Tourism and Culture

“A formal report needs to be filed with the Ministry, with our Cabinet. We have given an initial report today. We are hoping by the end of this week that report will be complete and will be passed on to the appropriate authorities for action to be taken. We have to use the systems and mechanisms that we have in place. certainly there will be a lot of lobbying, hopefully from our N.G.O.s, from our tourism stakeholders, certainly from this ministry and our line agencies to ensure that this goes the full extent of the process, but we need to use the mechanisms that we have in place. We can’t reinvent them at this point and maybe we will learn from this. I am certain we will learn from this. Maybe we can strengthen our laws, strengthen the systems that we have in place, but for now we will have to use what is in place Our Minister of Tourism is very clear that this situation can never be repeated again in the future, so we will do all within our power, within our mandate, within our jurisdiction in terms of the framework of the law to ensure that this never happens again to the best of our ability.”

 

The Ministry of Tourism and Culture has come under local attack for what is perceived to be an unbelievable inaction and silence in the wake of the attack on our history and culture, but Panton refutes that perception.

 

Tracy Panton

“The criticism is very unfair. Dr. Awe as you know is the Commissioner of Archaeology for Belize. He is a member of the management team of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. He has spoken very loudly and clearly not only on his behalf but on behalf of the Ministry. We took immediate action by sending two of our directors out on site to begin the preliminary investigation and we want to be able to report to the media based on fact and not necessarily based on emotion. We want to be sure that we are being fair to all parties concerned. Any of us who have spent our life’s work in tourism protecting our natural resources and promoting our natural resources – it’s outrageous to us but we also have a responsibility to be able to report from a position of fact and information.”

 

And while the official stance is to stand off until an investigation and assessment in concluded and the Ministry can then speak from a position of full knowledge, it is hard to keep the emotionality of the issue at bay, especially in light of the loss of something which can never be replaced. And though that is bad enough, the careless damage could also affect donor grants used for further conservation.

 

Tracy Panton

“This was a wanton act by an individual, by a company that had little or no regard for our national patrimony so I am hoping that the donors will see through that, and by our actions, the way we move forward, the steps that we will take will hopefully assure donors that it is worth investing in Belize. For Orange Walk particularly that is a very significant site to the north of Belize. It is incomprehensible, really. It really is incomprehensible. There is no recovery of the history that we have lost. That is the true tragedy of the situation. But we have to move on. We have been getting, as you know, a lot of very negative international press which has obviously caused attention to Belize and this very…incomprehensible is the only word that I can use…occurrence and we will have to act accordingly.”

 

Denny Grijalva, the owner of De’ Mar’s Stone Company which destroyed the Mayan Archaeological Site, has been missing in action since the weekend, though last week he offered the media an apology via phone on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister Gaspar Vega. But at least according to Panton, it’s not going to be as easy as that.

 

Tracy Panton

“The national institute of culture and history has spoken to the company involved in this case. The Minister is as we speak giving a full brief to Cabinet on this case and I am sure that there will be some intervention at the very highest level. Currently there is a penalty of ten thousand dollars which clearly could never rectify the damage which has been done…ever. There’s no replacing an archaeological site and so one of the processes we will go through as a ministry is to look at these penalties and look at these processes as a result of this matter and we will learn by hindsight and we need to see what charges based on the report and based on advice we get legally, what charges we can levy against the persons involved.”

 

The Orange Walk Police has so far remained out of the issue except for recording the destruction on the scene, since they claim that they will have to receive an official report before they take any action. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

Our colleagues at CTV3 in Orange Walk spoke to Grijalva in Trial Farm Sunday, and he told them that he is completely unaware of what is happening, but will probably send out a press release sometime this week. They also spoke to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who also said he didn’t know of the destruction. Later in the newscast, we’ll have the reaction from N.G.O.s and many others.

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28 Responses for “U.D.P.’s Grijalva destroyed Maya site for roads in Deputy Prime Minister’s constituency”

  1. easy says:

    This made national news on two major major cnn and nbc nightly news how stupid can you be WOW !!!!!!

  2. Lift up your head says:

    Where these kind of people come from? Are they educated and most of all, do they have common sense? Is this the kind of people running for government positions, and are these the kind of people we want as leaders? As far as I’m concerned these are greedy criminals just there to fill their pockets. More revenue could have been made from tourism as it would have employed more belizeans over the long term. In their rush to fool the people that they are working hard, they would have done a nasty job on the road anyway. They were quite aware that it was a mayan temple they were tearing down, but they must have honestly believed that they were above the law because of their political affiliation as that is the mentality in Belize. Lets us not hope, but demand that all involved be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. Ease them out of their misery by freezing bank accounts, voiding all contracts, passports etc. and post up their photos everywhere so people can see what an idiot looks like. It is a shame how the GOB operates totally,diregarding the people

  3. Teddy Steinway says:

    PM Barrow you know now!

  4. m.price says:

    The dumb Belize voters will still vote them in, if they do vote them out they will vote in the last thief they voted out, the PUP. Dumb people boy..smh

  5. Storm says:

    “We’ll try to make sure it never happens AGAIN . . .” That’s a pathetically weak response from the government.

    Current law is weak, but it provides for FIVE YEARS IN PRISON.

    Every single person involved, from Danny Grijalva to the equipment operators to the truck drivers needs to go to prison for the maximum term.

    IF IT GOES HIGHER THAN GRIJALVA, LET THOSE ARISTOCRATS TASTE PRISON CELLS, TOO.

    The punishment is too little, too — the law needs to be amended to provide for cumulative sentencing, so the more damage is done, the more decades in prison, and the more MILLIONS in fines.

    Let’s make sure Grijalva hangs for this crime — metaphorically speaking, of course.

    WHY HAS GRIJALVA NOT BEEN ARRESTED, DETAINED, OR INTERROGATED?

    WHY HAS HIUS BUSINESS NOT BEEN RAIDED TO SEIZE HIS RECORDS, TO LEARN WHO ELSE MIGHT BE INVOLVED?

    WHY IS OUR PM BARROW, WHO LOVES TO HEAR HIMSELF SPEAK, MUTE ON THIS OUTRAGE???

  6. Storm says:

    “We’ll try to make sure it never happens AGAIN . . .” That’s a pathetically weak response from the government.

    Current law is weak, but it provides for FIVE YEARS IN PRISON.

    Every single person involved, from Danny Grijalva to the equipment operators to the truck drivers needs to go to prison for the maximum term.

    IF IT GOES HIGHER THAN GRIJALVA, LET THOSE ARISTOCRATS TASTE PRISON CELLS, TOO.

    The punishment is too little, too — the law needs to be amended to provide for cumulative sentencing, so the more damage is done, the more decades in prison, and the more MILLIONS in fines.

    Let’s make sure Grijalva hangs for this crime — metaphorically speaking, of course.

    WHY HAS GRIJALVA NOT BEEN ARRESTED, DETAINED, OR INTERROGATED?

    WHY HAS HIS BUSINESS NOT BEEN RAIDED TO SEIZE HIS RECORDS, TO LEARN WHO ELSE MIGHT BE INVOLVED?

    WHY IS OUR PM BARROW, WHO LOVES TO HEAR HIMSELF SPEAK, MUTE ON THIS OUTRAGE???

  7. William freda says:

    This is what you get when you let uneducated Salvadorians like Denny become cronies
    of politicians. deputy prime minister Gasper Vega doesn’t even have a high school diploma what do you expect. Very sad.

  8. Buju says:

    Why do we keep putting a political spin on this issue

    It doesnt matter who did it that fact is a national treasure is destroyed

    The way this station is presenting the news it seems like the only reason it is a big deal is because the culprit is a defeated member of the government

    This is a travesty in all aspects

  9. erectus maximus says:

    This man, Grijalva, simply is not more intelligent. A two minute conversation with him will tell you everything he knows. He used his church as a stepping stone to get to where he is and the leadershipless UDP will take his ilk cuz it can’t find anything better.

  10. Rob says:

    Look at this yet another arogant political aspirant who born in Guatemala and sought refuge in beautiful, peaceful belize and now destroying our heritage. TOTAL INSULT !!!!! iNTOLERABLE. Yet nothing will happen but a slap in the wrist : you have been a naughty boy! WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE BELIZE!

  11. GO UDP! says:

    Same govt.
    Same BS.
    pardons for the deserving.

  12. Jose Acosta says:

    BUJU. at least we the people are not paying for an ad of the UDPs wonderful achievements …of course the main reason is that Grijalva is a UDP defeated operative with special privileges that this station and other stations carry it …memba they are not normal people they work harder
    than us (DPM said so) so the law does not apply to them (so dem say)….

  13. Belizean Pride says:

    this man Grijalva is not even a Belizean but a guat lets jail his candy for a good while since we’re not at ease with the guats right now, what a disrespect to our nation he did along with the others involved.

  14. reel deal says:

    Denny Grijalva is a born Guatemalan, he will be given the order of Quetzal for infiltrating the enemy and causing major harm to its economy. the amount of money lost from this incident is incalculable. blasted on CNN. we are in the ranks of Somalia and Afganistan with rogue terrorists running the country. your position as a tourist destination falls overnight. funding for ecological and cultural preservation will freeze dramatically.. he and his associates should be charged as environmental terrorists. seroius jail time. in Belize you get 5 years for a stick of weed, 7 years for stealing a bag of chips and what for bulldoozing a 2000 year old mayan temple.

  15. Inquiring Minds says:

    where is PM Barrow?

  16. ashamed to be a Belizean says:

    the maya alliance, Greg Choc, Christina and other maya leaders need to make a statement. then suit the GOB, the DPM and Grijalba for damages to a priceless maya site, this was government work being done, in the DPM constituency and near to village council elections so they are all knowledgeable of this and they are all responsible. suit them for 50 million dollars. that is the only way it will never happen again, the only way..

  17. NY says:

    It is so depressing to know that such ignorance exist in the jewel. The press needs to stay on top of this story, so as not to have the and rich well connected get away with this despicable crime. THE PICTURES of those responsible for this unspeakable act, need to be posted so that the world could see how ignorant they are.

  18. joe lopez says:

    I don’t understand why people keep complaining abou this situation? First of all this maya ruin or hill was totally abandoned for a long time no one did something for this site, nor PUP or UDP or a non govermental organization, as far as I am concern this site has a owner and is not property of the gov’t. Also I want to mention that not even the tourism board was aware about this mayan site! Now that is being destroyed every body is complaining when in the first istance no one did something to preserve it as such! I am not happy for what they did but I don’t agree with the people complaining when nothing was done about this abandone site!

  19. Rough says:

    Sad to say, it is another NOLLE PROSEQUI case. The UDP Ministers will find a scapegoat to blame. 2 months from now, Belizeans done forget this issue.

  20. Neville says:

    Who needs the Taliban or Al-Qaeda? WE HAVE DANNY GRIJALVA! All of them like to destroy historic monuments.

  21. vicky says:

    WHY THE HELL WOULD THE GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE ALLOW THIS SMART @$$ grijalva TO SCREW UP SOMETHING THAT DOES NOT BELONG TO HIM NOR HIS FATHER. THIS IS NOTHING BUT PLAIN DISRESPECT. THIS IS SOMETHING HE WOULDN’T EVEN DO IN HIS COUNTRY OF ORIGIN.

  22. Voice of Reason says:

    To avoid straying from the point, I will work under the assumption that every accusation, critisism and bad words used against the previous P.U.P. administration were/ are true. The U.D.P. won that election on the backbone of promising the people, if nothing else, they would be honest. Between the rosewood scandal, the land scandal, and now the destruction of our Maya ruins it is becoming clear that Gappi Vega is indeed not ‘normal people’ . He is a tyrant and is the sadly the true Prime Minister of Belize as clearly Mr. Barrow has no authority or power to control Mr. Not Normal.

  23. El Mochombo says:

    Denny Para Primer Ministro
    Denny for Prime Minister

    Mr.Denny is the best

  24. Phil says:

    Maybe counscious Belizian should question who finance your politician, look at the `Uk and their invisible precense in your economy, policy maker, if its not the US or UK intruding in your running of your country, look at who’s realy in charge, learn from Venezueal, Cuba, Ghana when Nkruma was there, Guinea Bissao when Sekou Toure was there. A sujestion: watch the reason behind the removal of Ancient African presence in this part of the Americas, the Olmec civilization is in your doorstep and they also influence the Maya, read Van Sertima ” they came before colombus!” be vigilant and inteligent – the path of the wise. Hotep

  25. Eye in the Sky says:

    Fred Martinez, Belize Ambassador to Guatemala destroyed one of the temples at Noh Mul many years ago and was rewarded by getting the job as ambassador.

    PUP got into power after he did it and also did not prosecute him.
    …….. What I am saying he should also be sent to jail for a crime he comited on the country of Belize many years ago.

    You have any idea how much money the people of Douglas Village could have made one day with of these Maya ruins.
    Well back to chopping cane and smuggling beer.

  26. jason says:

    its a shame i live abroad was a proud belizean this governement has made me want to call myself an american now does gaspar vega and dean barrow know that they have a god to answer too on judgement day……stealing stealing and more stealing well in all fairness the previous adminstration was no better … what a shame belize will be declared a rogue state soon.

  27. Liberty & Freedom says:

    Enough said by others. The international repercussions will negatively affect the number one industry in Belize – Tourism. Instead of political mouthwash from Ms Panton, the entire lot of perpetrators need to be immediately arrested, Mr. Grijalva’s company must be shuddered and his license to operate another business needs to be revoked for a period not less than 20 years. If it were the old days, a good sledgehammer on the rock pile he has created would be a great punishment. There were several questions about Mr. Barrow’s whereabouts – he was last seen driving the bulldozer across the border to Mexico!

  28. al says:

    This is the same guatemalan born immigrant caught trying to illegally register immigrants in OW central in an effort to win OW central for the UDP. But the hurry to destroy Noh Mul is because of pressure from the Rosewood man(mone) to throw dirt in the villages of Ow north to influence the village council results. As to dean barrow ” how many times must a man turn his head and pretend he didn’t see” Bob Dylan ‘ Blowing in the wind”.

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