It wasn’t too long ago that the nation’s attention was centered on the destruction of the Noh Mul Archaeological site in northern Belize. A portion of the site’s ceremonial temple was destroyed, reportedly at the hands of D-Mar’s Construction, for road aggregate. Four persons, company owner old Denny Grijalva, his wife 41 year old Emelda Grijalva excavator Driver Emil Cruz and foreman Javier Nunez, were subsequently charged for the demolition. It is uncertain what repercussions would be handed down to the accused, should they be found guilty, but Minister of Tourism and Culture, Manuel Heredia, told PlusNews that his ministry plans to implement more severe penalties to those who participate in these acts. Minister Heredia also made note of treaties signed for the protection of archaeological monuments and artifacts.
“We are trying to preserve whatever we have. I think that probably not many people know that NICH and the Ministry of Culture has thousands of artifacts that are just stored up in the warehouse in Belmopan. Those, we are seeing how we can get our National Museum of Belize; we are aiming into that, and hopefully in the next couple of years, we will be able to showcase everything that we have. Again, we are trying to amend the laws to make sure that we are stiffer penalties to make sure that if anything would happen to our archaeological sites, and everybody will think it twice before they engage into any type of…again we have been signing treaties including with the U.S. not long ago, whereby, if our articles are taken to the U.S. or elsewhere like that, it can be returned when found”.