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Earlier in the newscast we brought to you the story about the anti-looting campaign launched by the Institute of Archaeology. One of the most important stakeholders in this initiative is undoubtedly the Police Department; hence, the Institute organized a session with police officers attached to the Orange Walk branch formation to sensitize them on the campaign. With a room filled with close to thirty police officers, Dr. Allan Moore, Assistant Coordinator for the Institute of Archaeology, spoke on the circumstance leading to people committing an offence by selling, trading, or even possessing any antiquity.

Screen_shot_2013-10-31_at_7.44.38_PMDr. Allan Moore, Assistant Coordinator, Inst. of Archaeology

“We are on an anti-luting campaign and we are travelling country wide to all of our stakeholders, the police department formation is a major part of our stakeholder, our partners in prevention of crime and if it is anti-luting then we saw it fit that they be one of our targeted sector of our community to discuss anti-luting and to discuss ways which we can partner which they can share with us which they can share with them in preventing any illicit dealings with artifacts or mount destruction or selling, importation or exportation of our cultural heritage.”

Irvin Aragon – Reporter

“You said that indeed they form a very important part in this entire campaign the anti-luting campaign how exactly the police play a role in this entire issue?”

Dr. Allan Moore, Assistant Coordinator, Inst. of Archaeology

“Well, obviously they are the ones who make the arrest whenever any infringement, we don’t have the powers to arrest, apart from having the powers of arresting, they are out there integrating and mingling with the community more than we are, they are out there in rural areas more than we are so by virtue of that I think they would come across the illicit scenarios than we are, as a matter of fact a lot of the times they would call us to go with them because they know of certain situations where artifacts are being looted or sold or imported or even being possessed.”

According to Dr. Moore, the Institute of Archaeology and its team of researchers only act as support system whenever Police officers identify people who may be conducting such illicit activities. To combat the crime though, there are several obstacles that must be dealt with.

Dr. Allan Moore, Assistant Coordinator, Inst. of Archaeology

“We go there to authenticate, to verify that yes they are indeed artifacts and they do what they have to do the arresting, the preparation for court hearing but we will assist them along the way and this is one of the things that we are showing them that we are making it easier and faster for the process or processes for the infringement on the laws, we for example have many forms that the officer could not take and say well identify the type of artifacts, they bring to us we sign it, authenticate them, it already has a slew of all the portions and sections of the laws so they can pick right there one that is appropriate to the scenario they are dealing with so it makes it fast, they take it to the court and it goes through rapidly.”

Irvin Aragon – Reporter

“In today’s session specifically here in Orange Walk, what are some of the challenges that these police officers presented to you in regards to this entire anti-looting campaign?”

Dr. Allan Moore, Assistant Coordinator, Inst. of Archaeology

“Well, I pointed out to them that Orange Walk is a big areas considering there are mounts everywhere, I mean for example Corozal that was built in old Chactemal which you were virtually digging into people stairs for excavation purposes of Santa Rita, the settlement was all out in Corozal so we would be faced with all these kinds of challenges where we would have abundance of artifacts, again another challenge that we deal with is a lot of cane fields so the is a lot of land clearing and on land clearing comes site destruction, they bulldoze mounts and artifacts gets scattered that compounds the problem because if you go out there one day and you just kicking around stones and then you  find  a jade around so you are possessing and you didn’t register it an so the police might come to your house and seize it I didn’t come here for this but what are you doing with this do you have a license for it?”

The public is asked to not buy, sell, or trade any antiquity.

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