Letter to the Editor
by Jan Brown, MGMSAC, Ltd, a Belizean Non-Profit Organization to preserve the history of Marco Gonzalez
I’m writing you because of reading another article on what this corporation proposes to do to our delicate island. Not only do I see the threat to natural habitat, wildlife, mangrove affected nurseries and its babies who will no longer thrive and grow up to become a tourist attraction somewhere on the reef, I’m also seeing it from a history aspect. The article defines the 3,000 acres as being “partially in the Bacalar Chico World Heritage Site area”, taking in the western locations of Laguna de Frances and Santa Clara. Can you say Maya sites? REGISTERED Maya Sites? Then to the center of the development map lies Basil Jones, very close to the proposed reconstructed airport. Another REGISTERED Maya Site.
I’m attaching a map from the Dr. Thomas Guderjan book “Ancient Maya Traders of Ambergris Caye”. (An archaeological team came to AC in the early ’80’s, sought out the Maya presence and Dr. Graham registered them with GOB.) See a pattern of dots? #17 – Santa Cruz; #16 (to the south and perhaps out of the proposed development) Laguna Frances; #18 (again not on the proposed development map) is Punta Limon; #8 – Basil Jones. A route and home sites of the Coastal Maya Traders on Ambergris Caye. I have been on walk abouts’ in the area of Basil Jones and there are more sites which have NOT been registered back in the 1980’s.
In the haste to sell off land to foreign investors, we are losing sight of what came before us. #11 Tres Cocos is all but gone behind The Hotel. #10 Hancock…where is that one along with #12 Guerrero? In the mangroves, or already built over for San Mateo? As for #13……well, folks, that’s your CENTRAL PARK down town San Pedro. Yes, it’s registered as San Pedro. From water to water, the SP Preschool to the (now) water taxi dock at Central Park – THAT’s a Maya site. All gone, except for what is still under a building or street.
Look at the Caribbean Developers (Belize) Ltd. maps and you will see an arrow indicating “Ancient Maya Site” by Santa Cruz. The next map of the actual development plan showing the western side by the lake indention as completely built out on top of any existing ruins. BUT, geez, they built in a “Maya Museum-Archaeological? How nice. Wonder who will control what comes out of the ground in that section? Institute of Archaeology is on top of this one, I hope.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful and a lovely tourist adventure if someone, some group on island could take interest in our Maya Heritage, besides myself at Marco Gonzalez, and create a tour of the Ancient Maya Traders of Ambergris Caye. If we could support archaeologists with a grant to come explore/excavate some of the sites before they’re all gone? GOB doesn’t have the money! Marco Gonzalez is authenticated to date to 100BC and perhaps older. Chac Balam on the opposite end of island is thought to be a vacation place for Maya elite, dating in the 900-1200AD. The canal separating Mexico and Belize was completed by the Maya somewhere in 600AD – think about it – 1400 years ago. And NONE OF THIS is being taught to our children, much less the tour guides by the very expensive Tour Guide Handbook.
Soooo, another sell off, if it happens in my lifetime, a proposed populace of over 15,000 to the north end to visit the 20 casino hotels, most likely without infrastructure before building (isn’t Grand Belizean Estates pretty and functional?) and Ambergris Caye starts looking like the strip of Cancun. No wonder powers-that-be have been talking about an “international airport” up north. A Duty Free area is to be included. Think about it and I hope to see you at the consultation on Wednesday. If you have anything to say, now is the time to start.
PS. Blackadore Caye isn’t on the map, but it’s registered as well. And a new one was registered in March just above the turn into GB Estates. Ta’ab Na, Maya for Salt Making.
More information HERE.