By Marion Ali
Thirteen Maya persons from Santa Cruz, Toledo, including Maya Leaders Alliance (MLA) spokesperson Cristina Coc, had the charge of “Unlawful Imprisonment” dropped after the prosecution withdrew the charge against them Wednesday.
The group is happy they have one less charge to face when their case is called next, for allegedly subduing Rupert Myles, a Creole man, during a public meeting in their village in June of this year.
Myles, circumspect after the withdrawal of the charge, declined to comment, referring reporters to the police prosecutor, who explained that the decision was made upon advice from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
Myles, who has a common-law relationship with one of the village women, started to build a house on land which sits on UxBenka, an ancient Maya monument which the Mayas accuse him of desecrating. Myles, who attended the Sunday morning meeting in June in Santa Cruz, had allegedly walked away and threatened that he was going for his firearm, which was in his vehicle parked nearby, when the meeting could not establish common ground between his interests and the Mayas’ interests.
The Mayas then overpowered Myles, handcuffed and held him in custody until the police arrived. He reported the incident to the police, who then charged the Mayas.
Myles, meanwhile, was served several months ago with an eviction notice by the Department of Archaeology because the Department found that he was occupying a monument site. They had also served him with a Notice of Intended Prosecution for causing damage to a natural monument. The Reporter tried to contact the head of that Department, Dr. John Morris, to get an update on that matter but our calls and text messages went unanswered.
Myles has refused to move from the location, which is on top of a hill, because he claims that there was nothing at the spot when he went there and nothing to indicate that it was the site of a monument. He has also accused the Mayas of being racist.
The 13 Mayas must return to court on February 17, on a charge of “Common Assault”, also brought against them in connection with the same incident. Four of them are also charged with ‘Aggravated Assault’.