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The Mennonite Community Says they Are not With GOB’s Latest Move to Curb the Spread of COVID-19

A convoy of at least 12 vehicles was seen traveling from Spanish Lookout to San Ignacio Town yesterday as part of an expression of dissatisfaction over the recent Covid-19 regulations. The particular regulation that has brought upset is the limitations being placed upon unvaccinated persons. Each vehicle in yesterday’s convoy had a black flag mounted that reads, “Free Belize”. The Mennonite community has been one of several groups that are against taking the regulations on the vaccination. Our correspondents, Eliu Yacab and Elaine Berry were in Spanish Lookout today and spoke with members of the community.

“I think the reaction in the community was very similar to what the reaction was across the country. First of all outrage and then deep thought wondering how we got to this place. Our nation is not quite forty years old and to already be losing all these freedoms it just doesn’t add up and so in the community this is a small movement from the people within the community standing up and saying look this doesn’t make sense, our freedoms have to be fought for and this is not right that we’re losing for and guess what we’re having people stand up from all over the country joining the movement saying they’re so excited to see this happening.”

Reporter:  Will the community comply with the measures ? 

“I hope that we can reason with the government before that day comes where this mandate comes into effect. I don’t believe it is in the best interest of this country for anyone to comply to these measures because they are taking away basic human rights of freedoms over your own body so no I do not believe the community will want to comply with these mandates.” 

“We do absolutely do believe that they will come and enforce these measures. I have fallen victim of one ticket myself, I’ve already paid for two tickets for my employees it’s very expensive. We do feel that there’s a better place to put our money than give it to government and so most certainly we do expect them to come and enforce this, we have already fallen victim to some of these regulations.”

Reporter: Why does the community resist the measures taken that will be enforced on October first ? 

“I believe that as a community we have a moral conviction to stand up for the voiceless people of this country of Belize and what everybody should remember that we’re all Belizeans. It’s not only us Mennonites that want to resist these measures ,all of us , every Belizean, every voiceless, poor, rich, vaccinated or unvaccinated we all need to have a voice and we want to come together and have our voices be heard and we resist these vaccinations because we choose for our own bodies. We want freedom in this country and this is not freedom. So I believe that as a conservative community many of us feel that this is an intrusion on our freedoms and on the choice to choose over our own bodies and so this is a very sensitive matter for us. So no I think that this is a very scary time for many people and we want to choose for ourselves if we want to take the vaccination or not.”

One woman of the Mennonite community also spoke with our correspondents who had a message for the government officials.

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Last week Minister of Health, Michel Chebat announced that effective October 1, persons who have not received the Covid-19 vaccine will be unable to access public buildings and offices. These public spaces range from restaurants to government offices. Many have also gone on record on social media expressing their discontent with the regulation. Our newsroom will keep following up on this issue as the week progresses./