It has come to the attention of the Ministry of Tourism & Culture and the National Institute of Culture & History (N.I.C.H.), that on the weekend of September 22nd – September 23rd, 2012, an act of sabotage was perpetrated at the Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Reserve (commonly referred to as Cave’s Branch), one of Belize’s premier Archaeological Reserves and tourist destinations, located in the Cayo District.
Damages reported are deemed substantive enough to pose a serious safety risk to users at this site. Damages to the rappel platform include the cutting of client safety lines, the rope barrier, as well as partial cuts to the metal supports of the platform and to the anchor cable. There was also evidence of fire damage to portions of the entrance stairway to the Crystal Cave.
The Ministry of Tourism & Culture and N.I.C.H. are disheartened and deeply saddened by the unfortunate course of events. We are fully cognizant of the ramifications such acts of sabotage can have on the integrity of the country’s tourism product, the quality of the visitor experience, the investment environment, and on the sector as a whole. The Nohoch Che’en Archaeological Reserve receives the most visitors of any tourist site in the country and activities at this park represent a significant contribution to the livelihoods of hundreds of Belizeans. Additionally, being the largest revenue generator for N.I.C.H., this park supports the maintenance, management and improvement of visitor facilities for archaeological reserves throughout the country.
The Ministry of Tourism & Culture and N.I.C.H. view this attack as criminal and maintain its Zero Tolerance Policy against such acts at any of the sites it manages. The Ministry of Tourism & Culture and N.I.C.H. informs the public that, with the support of the Ministry of National Security and the Police Department, a full and thorough investigation will immediately commence. Those who may be found responsible for this act of sabotage will be dealt with within the strictest level of the law.
The Ministry of Tourism & Culture, would like to give its highest assurance to all concerned, that the safety of stakeholders and visitors is our most important priority. The Ministry of Tourism & Culture and N.I.C.H. look forward to continue improving visitor facilities, through strengthening of relations and in cooperation with all industry partners.
For further information please contact the Ministry of Tourism & Culture at telephone no: 227-2801/02 or at email address [email protected] or the National Institute of Culture at telephone no: 227-0518 or at email address: [email protected]