Friday 28 June 2013

Charges Brought Against Contractor over Noh Mul Destruction

Denny Grijalva
In early May this year, an ancient Mayan monument Noh Mul (18°12'49.63"N  88°34'49.86"W) in the Orange Walk district in Belize was reportedly quarried away by the Demar’s Stone Company, to obtain materials to fix roads. Heavy equipment was caught in the act of excavating material from the edges of the mound. Material has now been gathered to go ahead with a prosecution, the company is being prosecuted and and three persons (among them a 19-year old who operated the excavator and a 60-year old site foreman) have reportedly been detained (Mike Rudon, 'Charges to be levied for the destruction of Noh Mul ' Belize news, Jun 26, 2013).  The company is owned by United Democratic Party politician Denny Grijalva.
[...] two men [a]  truck driver [...] and excavator driver [...], were detained at about five yesterday evening and released at around eight last night. [...] This morning foreman of the Demar’s stone company Javier Nunez turned himself into the Police Station after he heard that he was being sought for questioning. His interrogation was handled by these two special investigators brought in from the Crimes Investigation Branch in Belize City. Our source revealed that in his statement Nunez claims that he did not know where the material was coming from, and that in fact it was a village councillor from Douglas who went with the equipment to Noh Mul.
The men appeared in Corozal Magistrate Court on Friday to answer to charges this morning. It is reported that the foreman will be charged for causing the destruction of an ancient monument. The excavator driver apparently will be handed two charges – removal of stone from an ancient monument and wilfully damaging an ancient monument. Apparently no charges are yet being brought against the owner of Demar’s Stone Company, Denny Grijalva. It seems that although no charges will be laid against him personally, charges of removal of stone from an ancient monument and wilfully damaging an ancient monument will be brought against his company.

The site and its mounds are in the centre of this Google earth screenshot

The site from the end (Past Horizons)
from the side (Village View Post)
Not just one mound affected (Channel 5 Belize)

I get a bit of an uneasy feeling that we see here something of a political provocation aimed at the UDP. The earlier Google Earth coverage (Feb 2011) show that what look (in the fuzzy photos) like mounds were being quarried already in Feb 2011 (though I could not say whether this includes the one now in the news). There is also some digging to the east in 2001. So for over a decade this has been going on without anyone being dragged through the courts.

[PS: And before the xenophobic Houghtonists of the collecting world start frothing at the mouth about "malefactory source countries" and all that junk, let us recall that in Europe the removal of barrows as a source of road-building material was going on for centuries before the main cause of destruction became ploughing flat, and over to the east from the Washington Ranters (and nearer the Ozark Mountain Man) we have the Flattened Mounds of St Louis].

Mike Rudon. 'Wasn’t me? Denny Grijalva passes blame on Noh Mul destruction' News Five, May 15th 2013.

'PlusTV discovers other Mayan sites destroyed for roadfill', Plus TV May 21st, 2013.

1 comment:

Damien Huffer said...

Excellent! Hope everything proceeds smoothly with the trial.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.