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Jun 27, 2013

Archeologist says despite charges, Noh Mul loss irreparable

Charges associated with the destruction of Noh Mul have been brought against several employees of DeMar’s Stone Company in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court.  While the men, including proprietor Denny Grijalva and his wife, were being arraigned this morning, Director of the Institute of Archaeology, Doctor Jaime Awe, was guest speaker at an Annual General Meeting held by the Belize Hotel Association.  He was only made aware of the proceedings while en route to the Best Western Biltmore Plaza.  Despite the fact that prosecution for the grazing of the ancient monument is a small legal victory, Doctor Awe says the damage is irreparable.  UNESCO, according to the chief archaeologist, has offered assistance in salvaging and preserving what is left of the site.


Dr. Jaime Awe, Director, Institute of Archaeology

Jaime Awe

“Charges were going to be laid in the magistrate’s court in Corozal and I was made to understand too that, I think, some of the charges were going to be the driver of the excavator, as well as the foreman of the company and also the owners of the company.  And, you know, because I was here tied in, you know, I’m sure it’s probably breaking the 12:30 news.  So that will help to update me as well.  But, you know, it’s in some ways some people say you feel good about the fact that the charges are being laid.  Of course, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the site was destroyed and nothing will ever change that destruction and so it’s not like, you know, I feel relieved or anything like that, you know.  I wish this day would never have taken place but hopefully the message is going to go out that we can’t just wantonly destroy Belizean heritage because at the end of the day, you know, it might take a while before legal action comes to bear but it will come to bear.  Now, in terms of where do we go with the site, you know, we have been exploring possibilities and ways that we can try to salvage some information and we are hoping to have some discussion with folks at UNESCO.  We received a letter from UNESCO, in fact, offering support, assistance and help.  It wasn’t defined what kind of assistance but, you know, like I said it’s something we plan to explore.  We’re going to go back up there and see what can be done.  I’ve also been in discussion with some colleagues, some archaeologists to see if they would be interested in going to the site and let’s see if we can recover any information because I know that we can do that.  We’re also starting to develop and intensify our educational outreach program to get in touch with Belize and to go out there and say, “folks you’ve got to work with us at preserving this incredible heritage because, as I’ve always maintained, the responsibility is not just the Institute of Archaeology, NICH or, you know, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.  We do as much as we can with the limited resources that we have but the responsibility is everybody’s.”


Interestingly, Dr. Awe says the Institute of Archaeology was in the process of amending relevant laws pertaining to the destruction of Belize’s heritage, to allow for heftier fines, when Noh Mul was destroyed.  As it is, destruction of the coral reef carries a much stiffer penalty that can run into six and seven digit figures, as opposed to light fines levied for the destruction of ancient monuments.

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2 Responses for “Archeologist says despite charges, Noh Mul loss irreparable”

  1. Paint it black says:

    If it an inside job by GOB, a give back to their political sponsors, obviously this case is closed.

    Time to bust tourists for weed and homosexuals for being homosexual as the number one national priority.

    Unlike the cartels who pay to take care of business before investing, these low lifes are the root of the problem in Belize.

  2. Corozaleño says:

    This is what happened long ago in the 70′s in Corozal Town.
    The ministers in charge had the Mayan city of Santa Rita torn down and used for building the streets of modern Corozal.
    Now we have well planned streets but no Mayan site to make money from.
    The result is that Corozal Town is now a poor ghost town and the person who ordered the destruction is a national hero.
    What a shame.
    That is life in Belize.
    One step forward and two backwards.

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