COLA on Destruction of Maya Temple

News5 Belize May 13, 2013

It is not the first time that there has been destruction to Noh Mul. Our records show that in June 1998, similar destructive activity was reported by the Archeology Department on one of the smaller plazas. Fortunately, the damage was not as extensive as it is tonight to the main ceremonial plaza. But the motive is the same; the material is sought for road construction due to the scarcity of quarries in the north. In the absence of an immediate response from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and other relevant government agencies, Citizens Organized for Liberty through Action, COLA, is one of several organizations that have taken a zero tolerance position on the recent destruction of Noh Mul.  The monument was among the tallest man-made structures erected by the Mayas in northern Belize.  The usage of its millenary stones as road fill in the Orange Walk District has been described as deplorable and obscene.  COLA President Giovanni Brackett says the company responsible for the demolition of the ceremonial site should be made to pay a hefty penalty.

Giovanni Brackett, President, COLA

“We see it as obscene.  You can’t use no other term to better describe it. This is obscene that someone could destroy a national monument; to do something like this is appalling and you are lost for words. I mean to say, you would almost tear down an entire Mayan ruin, one of the highest in Orange Walk District for sand and gravel, to build road. And then you would say that you would offer an apology? We don’t need an apology right now; we need the stiffest penalty for this individual. What has happened here is uncalled for and we condemn it in the strongest term. And Isani to further elaborate, we are very concerned right now because several damages to the environment under the watch of the Minister of Natural Resources, Honorable Gaspar Vega, has gone almost unnoticed or even for a short while it comes up and then dies. We’ve seen the rosewood issue…culprits get caught, culprits get it back—in our point of view that is how we see it. We’ve seen where the rumor was that they wanted to build a helicopter pad on top of the Victoria Peak. That thank god didn’t go through. We have seen under this administration whereby a ruling against offshore contracts has been completely ignored and the ruling in the view of the government plays no role. We have seen that we have been blacklisted on the fishing for not being cooperative and reporting illegal fishing. And all of this has been happening not only under this administration, but specifically under the watch of the Honorable Gaspar Vega. And we continue to see issue just the other day; there were rumors of selling the island and the island having to be returned because it was supposed to be a protected area. And then you want to use language that is politically right to just brush this off as if though it is nothing. No this is total nonsense and it is unacceptable that the Belizean people have to stomach this sort of damages to the environment and to our natural monument. This administration needs to be put into check when it comes to the environment and to protecting our natural heritage. The question remains now; where is the Minister of Tourism? Where is he on the matter? Why hasn’t he put out a statement? Where is the B.T.B.? Where is the B.T.I.A.?”

Similarly, the People’s United Party has also issued a release condemning the destruction and plundering of Noh Mul, stating that the owner of the trucking company, Denny Grijalva, is a known member of the United Democratic Party and has been receiving government contracts for road repairs in the north.  Today, News Five made several attempts at contacting Denny Grijalvo for comment but we were unsuccessful.

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