Judge orders halt to treasure hunting at San Salvador site
All digging at the site on Fortune Hill in San Salvador, where pirate treasure is thought to be hidden within a cave system, has been ordered by a judge to cease for 14 days.
The site has become the center of a land dispute that involves three families, all of whom claim they inherited the land from relatives.
During the treasure hunt reprieve, one of the claimants of the land, Dennis Bethel said he plans to go down to the site to see what damage another claimant, Dorothy Black-Beal, has done while digging for the treasure.
“We want to see what was done,”he said.”I suspect that however far they have gotten in their quest, they are trying to cover their tracks.”
Black-Beal and a group of excavators began their search for the treasure at the beginning of this week.
Work on the site was halted Wednesday, after it was found that Black-Beal had not attained the permits needed from the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation(AMMC)to search for treasure.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Zhivargo Laing, whose ministry has oversight of historic treasures, confirmed yesterday that the work was halted because the required permits had not been acquired.
“We understand that they did not get their required permit from the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation and I always said to them that needs to be done,”he said.
The families had their interests represented in the chambers of Justice Bernard Turner, who issued the consent order that stopped the digging.
“We have agreed with the other side,”said Bethel’s lawyer Sydney Cambridge.”We made an offer to discontinue all digging for 14 days.”
According to Cambridge, during the life of the consent order the families will try to determine exactly whose land the treasure site is on.
“We have the opportunity to go and investigate and see what’s on the property,”said Bethel.
Cambridge said his clients are not concerned with Black-Beal’s permit issues, only with her possibly trespassing on Bethel’s land and the possible erroneous boundaries on her surveyance.
“It’s a simple question of whose land it is,”he said.”The land does not move and it seems to be a mistake in the survey plans in terms of where the land is positioned.”
The third claimant of the property, Ellamae Rolle, did not have a lawyer present at the hearing in Justice Turner’s chambers yesterday. However she contends she is willing to go to court to prove the land is hers.