Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Agriculture, Economy, Environment, People & Places » $177,000 Lamanai Conservation and Preservation Project Launched
Mar 17, 2023

$177,000 Lamanai Conservation and Preservation Project Launched

The Lamanai Archaeological Reserve was designated back in 1985; four years after Belize gained its independence. It is said to be the archaeological site with the longest occupational history in Belize. It encompasses nine hundred and fifty-eight acres of land. Lamanai is also home to over three thousand species of plants and five hundred and forty species of birds.  Today, the Institute of Archaeology in partnership with the U.S Embassy launched a project valued one hundred and seventy-seven thousand U.S dollars for the conservation and preservation of the site. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

The United States Ambassador Michelle Kwan, is making the single largest investment made by any of her predecessors to Belize in cultural preservation. Through the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, Ambassador Kwan has donated three hundred and fifty-four thousand dollars for the conservation and preservation of the Lamanai Archeological Reserve.


Michelle Kwan

Michelle Kwan, U.S. Ambassador to Belize

“Well, I am so proud, uh, to be involved. The US Embassy is forwarding through NICH this important, Mayan site. The Ambassadors Fund for Culture and Preservation has provided $one hundred and seventy-seven thousand dollars to make sure that the next three thousand years from now future Belizeans will be able to be here and enjoy all the wonders of Lamanai. The magnitude of the fund is three times larger than any ambassador funds for cultural preservation. I am so thrilled first to arrive, a few months in, and to be the one being able to participate in this fund and being able to hand it over to NICH.”

The High Temple at Lamanai (Submerged Crocodile) has been plagued by a series of structural deterioration that has reportedly turned potential visitors away. Those issues are expected to be addressed, along with the continuation of new excavation projects on the temple.


Melissa Badillo

Dr. Melissa Badillo, Director, Institute of Archaeology

“With grant funding provided by the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation and the team at the Institute of Archeology, we can truly fulfill our mandate for the continued preservation of these magnificent structures that surround us. We are sincerely grateful for the partnership with the US Embassy and the new ambassador in supporting initiatives like this that directly impact the preservation of our national treasures. This encourages community involvement and engagement. I also wish to add that my team and I at the Institute of Archeology are extremely proud to know that we are the recipients of the largest grant ever awarded for our project in Belize under the US AFCP, and we look forward to many more successful projects in the future.”


Apart from the conservation objectives outlined for the High Temple, the Ball Court, and the Mask Temple, community engagement objectives have been indentified to foster greater community involvement in the preservation of the archeological reserve. Among the four objectives is the employment of a gender equitable labor force from surrounding communities.


Francis Fonseca

Francis Fonseca, Minister of Culture

“What’s beautiful about this project is that it involves the, the community, the Indian church community, and the surrounding communities we’re working with. The local women’s groups are working here. Uh, all of the laborers, all of the workers on this project are from the surrounding community. Um, you know, these beautiful magnificent, majestic archeological sites that we have across the country have to belong to the people. People have to have a sense of ownership of these sites. Um, and so I think that’s critically important for us, as you rightly said. Um, you know, we’ve been having some issues here because of, uh, the fragility of, of the entrance and, and the steps. Um, so this project will fix that, um, and, and restore, um, Lamanai to its magnificence. And once again, we’ll be able to have tourists, um, go up. But of course we won’t allow them to go up the steps. Uh, they’ll have to use the, the alternative, uh, steps that we’ve created on the side. Um, so those are being fixed and restructured. Um, so it’s, it’s a great project all around.”


The archaeological reserve is not only a cultural symbol, as a country heavily dependent on tourism; Lamanai plays an important role in Belize’s economy.

Joyce Tun

Joyce Tun, Associate Director, Institute of Archaeology

“The Lamanai Archeological Reserve is also important for its economic value as the site attracts thousands of tourists every year, both local and foreign, therefore contributing significantly to the local economy. And that is why this project is of utmost importance to us in terms of cultural preservation, natural resource management and protection, and the socioeconomic benefits it provides to our country, in particular, to those communities that buffer the reserve.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed