As we reported earlier this week, Denny Grijalva has been found guilty of removing parts of an ancient monument and causing the destruction of an ancient monument. The monument in question is the Mayan site called Noh Mul. Back in 2013, it was discovered that contractor Denny Grijalva’s company, De-Mars Stone Company, was using the ancient ruin’s limestone structure for quarry material to pave village roads. Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith’s judgment on Monday declared, quote, “The damage to the mound is irreversible as the excavation has resulted in only the core being left. The Court understands the outrage experienced by the professionals at ‘NICH’…” End quote. Grijalva, his wife Emelda and project manager Javier Nunez, the court said, are to be held liable and accountable for the criminal acts of their servants in illegally excavating Noh Mul. Today in Belize City, they were, with the maximum fine allowable on each offense – 1 thousand dollars for the removal of earth from the Mayan Site and 5 thousand dollars for the wilful destruction of the Mayan site. Multiplied by three for each guilty defendant, that adds up to 24 thousand dollars.
Bryon Neal, Attorney for Denny Grijalva: In terms of the legalities, every person before the courts has an opportunity to put forward their defense and it was within our right to put forward that defense. If the magistrate did not find favor with it, that is why we were found guilty. And we are paying the maximum fines allowed by law so that I don’t want to second guess the magistrate and get into a back and forth about what the evidence is; she has ruled.
Denny Grijalva, Found Guilty of Destroying Monument: I am very sorry of what happened. We want to apologize to the Mayans, to the ministries involved and to the country and by extension, the whole world. I believe that we should work hand in hand with NICH and the different ministry that are responsible for this and see how we can find a way to protect the Maya Ruins, like proper signing and fencing. My company is prepared to assist them if they need any assistance, so this doesn’t happen again.
An appeal may still be considered.