Grijalva Escapes Prison Time for Excavating a Maya Temple in Belize

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Updated: April 21, 2016

There was debate as to what would be the outcome of the case of Denny Grijalva after he, his wife and foreman of his company, De-Mar Construction were found guilty earlier this week.  As we reported, there was public outcry at the local and international level when it was discovered that a large portion of the Noh Mul Mayan Temple was destroyed by Grivjalva’s company, De-Mar Construction. The marl from the temple was used to pave roads in a nearby village. Operation ceased when National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) officials learnt of what was taking place. Today, Grivjalva was given the maximum penalty for removal of earth and the actual destruction of Mayan temple. Grivjalva’s attorney, Brian Neal spoke of the charges.

BRIAN NEAL

“Four of them were charged, the Company De Mar’s construction was convicted; Imelda Grijalva the wife of Denny Grijalva and Javier Nunez; they were each fined $1,000 for the removal of earth under section 61 and they were also charged $5,000 each for the destruction of the actual Mayan temple. That’s the maximum penalty; in fact, the magistrate made the point that we will set an example so that other people do not transgress our natural patrimony, she would set it at the highest possible and that was the highest possible by law. There was the possibility of a prison sentence of two years but we were able to avert that, thank God.”

Grivjalva expressed to his attorney that he is glad the case is over. Neal apologized on the behalf of his client.

BRIAN NEAL

“This has been ongoing for some time now, I forgot the date it started and it has  been hard on his family, hard on his business, hard on his reputation so naturally as a human being he wants to move on and bring some closure to it. I will say and I have to say that on behalf of my clients as I said in court this morning that we are sincerely sorry and we apologize to the Belizean people, we apologize particularly to the Mayan community and we apologize to anyone internationally because the Mayan heritage is so rich that we as Belizeans owe it to the entire world and so what happened is unfortunate. We are in no way saying that we are not responsible, we are sincerely sorry;I said that to the court and I am saying it again and I will say it a thousand times, we are sorry for what happened.”

Grivjalva has the right to appeal the judgment, and his attorney said that is exactly what they are going to do.

BRIAN NEAL

“There are certain points of law when you look at the reasons given by the magistrate that I as a lawyer take some issue with. It is not for me to decide whether or not we appeal, it is for the client to decide, he has decided to take a little rest, we have 21 days but we are inclined to appeal so that the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court can look at certain points of law just for the sake of completeness.”

Seventy percent of Noh Mul was extracted for paving roads.