Letters — 17 May 2013 — by Tom Greenwood

Ms. Diane Haylock
President
National Institute of Culture and History (NICH).

Dear Ms. Haylock,

FECTAB hereby joins the voices, both national and international, in totally condemning the atrocity which was perpetrated on the Belizean people, and our Maya people in particular, when the entities shown on the media worldwide, were seen to be responsible for the monstrous act of destruction on the main temple at the archaeological site of NOH MUL in the Orange Walk District. Words cannot describe this event. Only criminals would carry out such a barbarous act.

Please be reminded that, as a tour guide, several years ago my attention was called to a similar event while I was in Orange Walk Town on a Lamanai transfer. I picked up other guides in that town, and made our way to the same site, to see destruction being carried out on a small temple at Noh Mul, again, of course, to acquire raw material. We quickly notified the authorities and put a stop to the illegal activity, with the help of the police. No one was prosecuted, if I remember right.

This latest act has plunged Belize into a nightmare level of bad publicity nationally and internationally, just when we are working hard to uplift our tourism product and our image. We have been badly damaged.

Only immediate action, as swiftly as possible, and criminal prosecution, as swiftly as possible, will help us recover somewhat from this unspeakable act against the people and patrimony of Belize.

FECTAB also wishes to remind the appropriate authorities of the way in which we objected, publicly and with loud voices, to the damage done to the crystal cave at Nohoch Che’en, and the cliff face above Cave Three, same location. Only this time it was no rogue road builder and his staff, but the very authorities who are legally tasked with the caretaking of our national patrimony. Our organization and myself and some of my executive members suffered serious ridicule, alienation, and more from official circles for daring to object on the cave matters.

A precious Mayan temple, some 2000 years old, is lost forever. A precious, pristine cave system and limestone cliff, 200 million years old, “sacred landscape to the Maya,” in Dr. Jaime Awe’s own words, have been damaged beyond repair, and altered for Belize and all the world to see, and worse, for the benefit of a foreign tour operator, EXCLUSIVELY for his use, enjoyment, and profit. NOH MUL was also destroyed for the use and profiteering of a foreign fellow residing in Belize, and his Belize operation.

All this is not lost on the public, and will get worse in terms of public outcry as we move forward. The international media will work this one into the ground, and we in Belize, with it. This has already begun. Whether we care or not is another matter.

Prosecution may take place in the case of Denny Grijalva. May.

Who undoes the damage at NOHOCH CHE’EN???? Who answers for that? How do we stop this kind of madness from ever happening again in Belize?

Let us hope that there can be some solution to these terrible affairs in our vulnerable little country.

The tourism industry deserves answers and positive action, we believe.

Sincerely,
Tom Greenwood
President, FECTAB

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