FECTAB held a press conference on November 17 to discuss what they said was an exclusive 75 year contract to Dark Night to conduct tours at a cave behind Jaguar Paw on the George Price Highway. FECTAB was irate that a foreign company would be allowed exclusivity of a Mayan archaeological site.
However, after meeting with NICH and seeing the contract for themselves, FECTAB says that the contract is for a period of three years, and they are satisfied that the company does not have exclusivity.
“It came out at us from nowhere, and there was some misinformation about it. This will happen, when it is obvious that an archiological site is suddenly available to one person or one company, and not anybody else, we fear the worst.
Now we know that the Dark Night contract is a three year contract. NICH has invited anyone to come there and read up on the contract, and you’ll see two things that are stark about the contract. We’re happy that these are true, that there is nowhere in that contract that gives permission to build a zipline through the caves, and the Dark Night people have no exclusivity to that cave.
It’s a matter of absolutely getting to the cave, and the entire area is owned by various people. A lot of it is owned by the people who run Dark Night, and so that is a little hurdle, but there are other areas.”
While Dark Night does not have exclusivity, the archaeolgical site is surrounded by private lands and according to Tom Greenwood, the only ones with access to those lands is Dark Night, and so it has now become an issue of access.
“There’s a road that actually leads to Dark Night, but unfortunately for about a quarter of a mile it goes through one of the properties of the owners of dark Night, and that, as you know, ended up being a little debacle, but I think that’s been sorted out.
Government has the right, and we would like government to excersise that right, to go in and bust that road through, and make that right available. NICH has told us, we can get to the caves, ‘Please, by all means go there.’ Once we get there and do the tubing through there, it’ll prove once and for all that this is not an exclusive cave given to anybody.
Ultimately, the Government retains the absolute legal right to cut a road through. We saw that happen at ATM. We saw that happen at Barton Creek. We saw that happen in many ways on the Hummingbird Highway.”
And what about the proposed zipline that is supposed to go through the archaeological site? Here is what Tom Greenwood had to say.
“We are very hard and fast on that zipline beingtaken down from inside the cave. As a matter of fact, I am totally puzzled.
One only has to think of the dangers involved in interfering with a cave system, but, on top of that, the laws are very clear. This is a Mayan Archiological Site. You cannot touch anything, remove anything, adjust anything, do anything to anything, unless you have the clearance of the National Institute of Culture and History / Institute of Archiology.
So when people come to this country and do what they want and get away with it, one can only think that either the system has broken down or someone within the system has allowed it to happen.”