The willful, wholesale destruction of the largest natural Mayan monument in northern Belize made international headlines in May of last year when it was discovered that a construction company owned by current UDP Orange Walk Central standard bearer, Denny Grijalva, had been pillaging the ancient archaeological site to obtain material for road fill, and yesterday, the accused perpetrators would have had their day in court.
However, the case didn’t actually progress as it was supposed to. In the wake of the scandalous incident, Grijalva and his wife, Emelda Grijalva, who are the principals for De-Mars Stone Company, the company which was accused of scrapping the monument, and their foreman, Javier Nunez, and excavator operator, Emil Cruz, were all held responsible for the damning act and were subsequently committed to stand trial.
Yesterday, 14 months later, the case was to be heard in the Corozal Magistrate’s Court; however, Magistrate Hurl Hamilton informed the court that he needed some time to become acquainted with the case file because it was recently handed over to him, even though the prosecution, represented by Crown Counsel Leroy Banner, was ready to proceed.
On May 13, 2013, Noh Mul was almost completely decimated by heavy construction equipment belonging to a business registered to Grijalva, and as a consequence, the Grijalvas’ company was charged with one count of removing parts of an ancient monument, and one count of causing the destruction of an ancient monument.
Emil Cruz, the excavator driver, was charged with removal of stone from an ancient monument without a permit, and willfully damaging an ancient monument.
Foreman Javier Nunez, on the other hand, was also charged with willfully causing the removal of stone from an ancient monument, and willfully causing the damage of an ancient monument.
The matter has been adjourned until October 14 of this year, when it is expected to begin in earnest.
After being at the center of both national and international controversy in the weeks after Noh Mul’s mauling, Grijalva publicly acknowledged culpability for the incident.