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Attorney Arthur Saldivar: Penalties under SI 74 “unconstitutional”

Posted: Monday, July 12, 2021. 1:03 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Attorney for the Belizean Rights and Justice Movement, Arthur Saldivar, began by establishing the basis by which the Minister of Health and the Government has the authority to set out regulations for quarantine in respect of public health and disease.

But the Public Health Act, argues Saldivar, sets out a limit of $200 in fines for violations at Section 82(a), invalidating penalties across Statutory Instrument 74 (and previous SIs) greater than that amount.

Moreover, the Government has acted unconstitutionally by mandating tests for COVID-19 for unvaccinated persons under SI 74.

And also unenforceable is a mandatory quarantine and 1,000 dollar fine for foreigners who test positive on arrival, yet the amount is five times higher for an employer that does not mandate workers to take the vaccine who are on frontline.

Saldivar also points out that discrimination exists against persons in the practice of their religion who may have qualms about the vaccine.

And he points out that there are risks and tradeoffs to living with COVID vs taking the vaccine and suffering potential damage. The government, he says, needs to provide full and complete information for the public to make an informed decision.

And he hopes that the legal fraternity will take up challenges to the law and the system.


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