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BTIA Newsletter: A Message from our President #548058
02/09/21 11:26 AM
02/09/21 11:26 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,383
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Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
[Linked Image]

Extract from Newsletter:

Since our organization’s Annual General Meeting in December, your President and Executive Committee have been extremely busy. Meeting weekly and communicating almost daily, this effort has focused on two critical areas:

Returning BTIA to financial health through cost-cutting and raising of revenue, and
Advocating strongly for measures that will help our tourism industry—and by extension, our nation’s economy—recover from the ravages inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Take a look at our most recent Newsletter, that continues this message from our president that highlights what we have done so far to revive BTIA, what we have accomplished for the industry as well as future developments.

https://btia.org/message-from-our-president-btia-newsletter/

Re: BTIA Newsletter: A Message from our President [Re: Marty] #548782
03/12/21 11:45 AM
03/12/21 11:45 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,383
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
A Message from our President- BTIA Newsletter #2

Extract from Newsletter:

For the first time in a year, there is more good tourism news to report than bad. Why the optimism?

Vaccinations have started in Belize. With the arrival of an initial shipment of 26,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, our Ministry of Health and Wellness has begun to vaccinate essential personnel and people over 60. In phase two, 8,000 frontline tourism personnel will receive the vaccine.
Vaccinations in the United States –our prime tourism market—are advancing at a rapid pace. This means more Americans are willing to travel. The result has been a corresponding increase in inquiries as well as future bookings for Belizean properties. Most tourism destinations countrywide are reporting an increase in visitor traffic.

Protocols for entry into Belize have been relaxed, making it easier for visitors to enter the country without compromising national health. The most recent decision to admit fully vaccinated tourists without testing is most welcome. Even the inconvenient U.S. requirement that all people entering that country—including U.S. citizens—must be tested before boarding their flight was met by a quick response from our public and private health sectors, offering timely testing at countrywide destinations.

Airlift, following deep capacity and route cuts by our traditional suppliers, is rebounding nicely. Our authorities are in advanced discussions with existing carriers as well as several new ones. Southwest is expected to resume service later in the year, and COPA will be back in June, opening the Central and South American markets and Europe via its Panama hub. United is poised to increase its Denver service frequency as demand from that city continues to grow impressively. Finally, the Mexico City-Belize route, reluctantly abandoned by Aero Mexico before the pandemic, is being actively considered by several other Mexican carriers.

Local tourism exceeded expectations and provided many hotels and restaurants with a revenue stream that, while not huge, in some cases meant the difference between hanging on or going out of business. The recent March 8th long weekend saw thousands of Belizeans on the move all over the country, spending money and getting to know their country. In Cayo, with the still-under-construction new road improving access to the Mountain Pine Ridge, local tourists thronged to the Rio On Pools, Big Rock Falls, and other attractions, including privately-owned resorts, restaurants, and specialized activities. No doubt, the long Easter weekend will see even more local tourism.

https://btia.org/a-message-from-our-president-btia-newsletter-2/

Re: BTIA Newsletter: A Message from our President [Re: Marty] #550020
05/06/21 11:48 AM
05/06/21 11:48 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,383
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
A Message from our President- BTIA Newsletter #3

Dear BTIA Members:

In communicating with our membership on a roughly monthly basis, I usually begin with a general introduction, update the latest happenings in the industry, and finish with what I judge to be an important core message. Today, however, I would like to cut to the chase with the core message upfront.

GET VACCINATED! NOW!
GET YOUR EMPLOYEES VACCINATED! NOW!
GET YOUR COLLEAGUES VACCINATED! NOW!
GET YOUR FAMILY VACCINATED! NOW!
GET YOUR FRIENDS VACCINATED! NOW!

If you want to see the tourism industry—and, by extension, Belize’s entire economy— recover as fast as possible, the most critical thing we can do is assure that every Belizean receives their two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

WHY is this so important?

Let us look at the big picture based on what we see at home and abroad concerning the pandemic.

There are things that we can control and things we cannot.
For example, we cannot control the pace of vaccinations in our largest market, the USA. We cannot prevent the rise and fall of Covid-19 infections in America or anywhere else in the world. We cannot control the USA requirement that all people entering the country have a negative test result.

What we CAN control is what happens here in Belize. Based on what we see in India, Brazil, Costa Rica and Europe, nations that think they have the pandemic under control often find out that within weeks the pandemic is raging with their health systems on the verge of collapse. If you believe that such a catastrophe cannot happen here, you live in a dangerous bubble.

So, what do we do to prevent Belize from becoming the next India?

First, we must be smart, flexible, and stay on top of the evolving situation.

Not only do we not impose tighter restrictions for entry into Belize, but we can continue to gradually and safely EXPAND the ease of entry as has been done over the last four months. Why? Visitors to Belize are either fully vaccinated or tested negative at entry. They will not be the cause of an explosion of the virus in Belize.

As experience has painfully taught us, WE are our own biggest enemy.

Every time we evade protocols by not social distancing, washing hands, or wearing a mask, we increase the likelihood of mass infection. Yes, you have heard this mantra too many times and like most Belizeans are just tired of curfews, masks and hand sanitizer. Realistically, fighting the tendency toward Covid-19 fatigue with education campaigns and/or cracking down on violators will only take us so far. What will take us much further is to get as many people vaccinated in as short a time as possible. That effort is well within our power.

The Minister of Health has told us that there will be enough doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to do the job. We trust he is right. We applaud the Tourism Minister for pushing to prioritize the 8,000 vaccine doses for our frontline tourism workers. As I write this letter, all indications are that more and more Americans are ready, willing, and able to travel internationally in the coming months. They will be flocking to Belize in greater numbers, provided that Covid-19 cases and deaths in Belize continue to stay low.

The best way to ensure that outcome is to get vaccinated! NOW!

Yours in Sustainable Tourism,

Stewart Krohn

https://btia.org/a-message-from-our-president-btia-newsletter-3/

Re: BTIA Newsletter: A Message from our President [Re: Marty] #551800
07/29/21 04:25 AM
07/29/21 04:25 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,383
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
A Message From our President- BTIA Newsletter #5

Dear BTIA Members,

There’s an old saying that “the best time to plant a tree is yesterday”. Unfortunately, the same adage applies to vaccination for Covid-19 as it increasingly appears that in the race against the virus we are several months late and thousands of arms short.

For a while, it looked like following a deadly first wave we had brought things under control. The Ministry of Health and Wellness somehow managed to acquire all the vaccines the country needed. The Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations convinced Cabinet to earmark an initial 8,000 doses for our frontline industry personnel. Health centers around the country swung into action.

The public response, however, was underwhelming. And while a majority of Belizeans procrastinated, found excuses, drank the anti-vax Kool-Aid, or just pretended not to notice the death of almost 350 fellow citizens, the far more dangerous Delta variant found fertile ground in Belize.

As a result, even as the number of visitors to Belize continues to increase, the percentage of Belizeans testing positive for Covid-19 is growing faster. Note that the vast majority of visitors crowding through the PGIA are fully vaccinated and the rest have tested negative; they are NOT the source of our latest Covid surge. That dubious honor belongs to our own citizens who flaunt the anti-Covid laws by failing to wear masks, wash their hands, observe social distancing, and above all failing to get vaccinated.

Of course, the situation described above is not uniquely Belizean. We are following the nearly identical trajectory taking place in the United States and almost every other country in the world. We think we have the virus beat, we ease up on our vigilance, and boom, we are back in pandemic purgatory.

The question now is where we go from here. The answer is not hard to figure out. If we are lucky the increased enforcement of anti-Covid laws and protocols will confine the inevitable rise in hospitalizations and deaths to proportions within the capabilities of our already stressed public health system. Let’s not even contemplate what happens if we are unlucky. But the best bet is to not depend on luck. If you care about yourself, your family, your industry, and your country…GET VACCINATED!

In much better news the broad consensus in the tourism industry is that—with a few exceptions– we are enjoying the best summer season in memory. The pent-up demand for travel by U.S. citizens is proving stronger than predicted and it appears that despite a short booking window the numbers should remain impressive through the winter season, especially with the Canadian market waking up from Covid hibernation. All bets are off, however, beginning after Easter 2022 as a reopened Europe may draw business from the Caribbean which means we’ll have to market much harder and retain the loyalty of our local market which has stepped up big time during the last 16 months.

Again, kudos to the public and private sector team working to bring an increased airlift to Belize. Frontier Airlines is the latest carrier to inaugurate direct service to Belize beginning in December from Denver and Orlando. They will join Alaska Airlines which touches down in November from Seattle and Los Angeles. Southwest returns from Denver and Houston, WestJet re-launches from Toronto and efforts are underway to bring some other low-cost carriers into the fold. All in all the total number of seats into Belize this winter should be the most ever.

Finally, on a somber note, the BTIA would like to express its most sincere condolences to the extended Chaa Creek family, especially Emil and Briony Bradley and Mick and Lucy Fleming who recently lost their 14-year-old son and grandson, Laddie. Laddie, as we all know, was shot without any justification by a police officer in Placencia. Let us hope that justice is served in the case and more importantly, such an outrage never happens again.

Stewart Krohn

https://btia.org/a-message-from-our...ncm2jis61Z-jyRZmztfnxpFyldLXyJ3mHVvOezIQ

Re: BTIA Newsletter: A Message from our President [Re: Marty] #552308
08/27/21 04:48 AM
08/27/21 04:48 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,383
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
A Message From our President- BTIA Newsletter #6

Dear BTIA Members,

It is now a year and five months since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in Belize. In the period beginning March 2020 we in the tourism industry have experienced a devastating period of lockdown, complete border closure, airport reopening, painfully slow initial recovery followed by a much more rapid recovery as vaccinations were introduced in the USA and pent up demand for travel took hold with a vengeance in late May and summer.

At the same time internally the pandemic situation in Belize has roller coastered from an initial Covid-free period into a series of peaks and valleys not too much different from most countries of the world as the introduction of vaccines and the Delta Variant vie with each other for supremacy.

Where are we today? To paraphrase some very old songs is it the “Eve of Destruction” or “Dawn of Correction”? Or perhaps both simultaneously?

First, the good news…

The recovery in the form of visitor arrivals and hotel occupancy rates this summer has been nothing short of spectacular. Many resorts are reporting numbers in excess of 2019 while inquiries and bookings for the winter are looking good. Previously laid off staff members are being rehired, tour operators are back in business along with increased numbers of tour guides, boat captains and drivers. Independent restaurants– still hampered by a curfew and occupancy limits—are rebounding strongly in our prime tourism destinations. Emerging and “off the beaten path” destinations in the north and south are still suffering but are beginning to show signs of life.

At the same time international airline capacity to Belize will be higher than ever before come December. All our major carriers will be back plus two new carriers—Alaska and Frontier—will join them, Alaska with service from Seattle and Los Angeles and Frontier from Denver and Orlando.

Even the cruise industry has returned to Belize with Carnival and Norwegian slowly adding arrival dates in Belize City and Harvest Caye.

And the bad news…

A severe wave of the Delta Variant has sent the number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S.A. to record levels in a number of states. While it is too early to determine how this will affect Americans’ appetite for international travel it certainly has the potential to hurt—and hurt us badly.

At the same time the rapid increase in Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths in Belize is even more alarming than what is happening abroad. This is so for a number of reasons:

Visitors do not want to vacation in a place where the Covid rate is extremely high and run the risk of becoming infected.
There is the added fear among visitors that our health care system will become overburdened and not able to provide adequate care for a foreigner who is infected and requires hospitalization.

Although the vaccination rate within the tourism industry is the highest of any group in Belize and nearing full compliance, the rate among the general population is abysmal, running around half that of the least vaccinated state in the U.S. This high level of vaccine hesitancy means that the pandemic here will only get worse and given the potency of the Delta Variant is likely to become entrenched among children as well as adults. Note that even with our tourism workers vaccinated they can still become infected and spread the disease, especially if they are exposed to large numbers of unvaccinated people outside of the work environment.

Ultimately, if Covid-19 cannot be brought under control in Belize there will have to be a return to lockdown. This is not the development that anybody would like to see but unless the situation changes it is where we are headed along with the resulting economic devastation, educational disruption and emotional grief occasioned by the loss of loved ones.

Sorry to be Mr. Gloom and Doom here but sweet talk and rational persuasion has clearly not worked. We at BTIA are encouraged that the Belize Government has moved toward vaccine mandates among frontline workers and our Board is now calling on all tourism businesses to institute a policy of “No jab, no job”. Forget about bi-weekly testing as an acceptable alternative to vaccination. Forget about a “religious” objection.

No, a vaccination does not guarantee you will not get Covid-19. But it will greatly increase the likelihood that you will avoid serious illness, hospitalization or death from the virus.

All of us are confronted with a simple choice: we can be part of the solution or part of the problem. We at the Belize Tourism Industry Association urge all Belizeans to act immediately.

Yours in Sustainable Tourism,

Stewart Krohn,

President, Belize Tourism Industry Association

https://btia.org/a-message-from-our...4-Iw23pxqAMUhjDsIkC81Ht7I8wPBGNzHV4W92Go

Re: BTIA Newsletter: A Message from our President [Re: Marty] #552714
09/16/21 05:07 AM
09/16/21 05:07 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,383
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
Stewart Krohn, President of BTIA statement on the rise in Covid19 and the CDC latest dedignation.

n case you missed it, Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) President, Stewart Krohn, spoke the truth yesterday, and very clearly.

First, on the USA's travel advisory to Belize:

""If you look at the statistics, for example, the United States has had over 40 million COVID cases, they have had over 653,000 deaths. Yesterday, they had 166,000 new cases and 1,895 deaths. If you compare those to Belize even on a per capita basis, if the CDC was ranking its own country the same way it's ranking other countries, the USA and virtually any state in the US would be in a do not visit category 4. so it's a little bit ironic, it's a little bit like the pot calling the kettle black. They are far worse off and have handled COVID 19 far worse than Belize or almost any other country on the planet." Bam see deh!

And on the anti-vaxers and vaccination hesitancy:

"We have got to get this thing under control. So that's why we say don't hesitate, vaccinate. This is the most patriotic thing you can do for your country, for the country's economy, for the people who are going to lose their jobs if there's no tourism for the winter season. It's that simple...

...you might want to say it's your body you make your choice; that's not the choice because it's not just your body. When you are unvaccinated, you are running a far greater risk of overwhelming the hospital system so because you don't get your vaccination, you take a hospital bed, I get a heart attack, I get shot, I suddenly can't get care; so to not get vaccinated you're not only hurting yourself, you're hurting everyone around you. You're making it easier for the virus to spread to children who are unvaccinated. You're also making it far more easier for new variants to spread and popup; new variants believe it or not can be more harmful than the present Delta variant that we are struggling against. So the whole conversation about vaccination has gotten twisted, this is not about personal choice, this is about saving hundreds if not thousands of Belizean lives, and the Belizean economy. It's too serious for people to be selfish."

Pt 1: BTIA President Says No Jab, No Job

But he added that getting vaccinated is a must and, by his reckoning, the decision not to do so is an inherently selfish one. He noted that while others might feel like it’s a choice that only affects them, the truth is that it affects the wider public, the health sector, the tourism industry, and the overall economy. Here’s how he put it:



Pt 2: BTIA President Comments On CDC's Ranking

But regardless of the unfair ranking, it seems that the tourists are still mindful of it. Krohn told us today that there have been cancellations, and if the country’s COVID numbers don’t start going down, it could be a huge blow for the industry.


Re: BTIA Newsletter: A Message from our President [Re: Marty] #552722
09/16/21 08:06 AM
09/16/21 08:06 AM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,524
Belize
Short Offline
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Short  Offline
Sad to hear the BTIA take such a divisive position - "No Jab, No Job". You should convince people, not threaten them. Include, not exclude.


Live and let live
Re: BTIA Newsletter: A Message from our President [Re: Marty] #552976
09/28/21 11:13 AM
09/28/21 11:13 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 76,383
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

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Marty  Offline OP
A Message From our President- BTIA Newsletter #7

Dear BTIA Members,

Instead of the usual President’s letter I would like to share the words of a stalwart of the tourism industry. Many of you know Tony Rath or at least know his work through his company, Naturalight. Over the last forty years few people have done more to promote the nation’s tourism and conservation of Belize’s natural resources than Tony. In the short essay below—originally posted on Facebook– he turns his attention to an issue that dwarfs all others with respect to the future of Belize’s tourism industry, overall economy and very survival.

Anti-vaxers represent a minority of the Belize population. There is also a small number that interpret a 2000-year old religious text written before vaccines or cellphones or modern medicine to argue against vaccination. And of course there are the conspiracy theorists. Nothing will change these people’s minds as many are politically motivated. I am not looking to engage them.

So, with anti-vaxers aside, there’s a much larger number of people who ask themselves very legitimate questions about the vaccine. Following are some of their reasons for vaccine hesitancy and my responses from reading and studying the science of the pandemic (I am not a medical doctor, but do have a college biology background). Hope this helps:

REASON 1 – I NEED MORE RESEARCH OR EVIDENCE.

None of these people using this reason are medical researchers, so doing “more research” is not feasible. What I think they mean is they need to read more studies with evidence. Apparently, they are not finding enough to read, or they are listening to non-scientific people. There is a tiny minority of scientists that present questionable evidence against vaccinations. Science is like that, it needs the doubters to keep the truth moving forward with more evidence.

As for evidence, over 6 BILLION vaccines have been administered worldwide, over 2.5 BILLION people have been fully vaccinated. Scientific evidence comes from using the scientific method. The same scientific method that has created a modern world of the Internet, electricity and the internal combustion engine is based on information gained through repeatable experiments. Experiments are based on a certain number of samples that you are testing for. The number of samples of an experiment is called “sample size”. Usually, the larger the sample size, the more rigorous and believable are the results. 6 BILLION is a fantastically huge sample size to look at for evidence. With that large sample size, the results will be as close to the truth as is possible using science. So we do not need more evidence that the vaccine is effective at saving lives (see graphs for examples of evidence), just like we do not need more evidence that climate change is real, or that the Earth is a globe, or that gravity exists.

REASON 2 – THE VACCINE WAS DEVELOPED TOO QUICKLY TO BE SAFE AND CAN’T BE TRUSTED.

First, we settled the trust issue as to the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine in the paragraph above. Second, the vaccine was developed quickly because humans have been developing vaccines for centuries. What was compressed was the bureaucracy and administration that normally follows vaccine development. All the ethical steps were followed for each vaccine. It is the nature of this pandemic (the epistemology) that allowed quick development – a large number of cases and widespread infections.

An example of vaccine development without a large number of cases is a vaccine for the Ebola virus which is still years in development because there are never many opportunities to recruit patients for tests. To recruit 30,000 people, and to observe a difference between the placebo group and the vaccine group, there needs to be a significant epidemic – like Covid-19. If a virus isn’t circulating, or only a little, that becomes very difficult to test.

REASON 3 – SOME VACCINATED PEOPLE CATCH THE VIRUS, EVEN BE HOSPITALIZED, AND THIS PROVES THAT THE VACCINE IS INEFFECTIVE.

Let’s look at what’s happening in the UK, which has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world at 65%. They are currently experiencing a wave connected to the Delta variant. When we look at the correlation between deaths and the vaccinated, there is nearly an absence, at the moment, of mortality associated with those vaccinated. At the same time, in Russia, where much less of the population is vaccinated (around 15 percent), there is a significant wave of mortality, with nearly 800 deaths a day.

So here we have a live demonstration – evidence – of how the vaccine, above a certain threshold, begins to work. But this does not mean there won’t be any more hospitalizations. In the UK, there is still a significant percentage of people that are not yet vaccinated, and it is precisely those people who are being hospitalized, not those who are vaccinated.

Of course, there can be glitches and a few vaccinated people might still contract the virus – called a breakthrough infection. There are even some who might experience serious complications and die. There is always some marginal vaccine ineffectiveness – any vaccine is never 100 percent effective – but it’s very low for the Covid-19 vaccines. . Covid-19 vaccines are very close to 100 percent effective. Remember how trustworthy this number is because of the large sample size of over 6 BILLION.

REASON 4 – SOME PEOPLE CLAIM THAT MESSENGER RNA VACCINES MODIFY OUR GENETIC CODE.

When you have Covid-19, a huge strand of RNA enters the cells, takes on the role of messenger RNA and produces proteins from our cellular machinery. When you’re infected by a virus, whether it is influenza, dengue, or Covid-19, it’s by an injection of messenger RNA. The same thing happens when an infected mosquito bites you and you get dengue, messenger RNA is introduced into your system. There is nothing very new here about injecting messenger RNA into your body. The main point is though that there is NO genetic modification with these messenger RNA viruses or vaccines. The only gene modification that exists in nature is with retroviruses, like the AIDS virus, which can modify the genome, but this is not at all the case with messenger RNA viruses. It is odd how you can be afraid that a vaccine will do something worse than the virus you’re trying to fight. Especially since the vaccine’s messenger RNA is destroyed within hours, to the point that a second dose is necessary. Messenger RNA does not exist in cells beyond a few hours.

REASON 5 – IF I HAVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE, MY IMMUNE SYSTEM CAN DEFEND ITSELF ON ITS OWN AND DOESN’T NEED A VACCINE.

If there was a healthy lifestyle that allowed you to fight against such aggressive viruses, science would have known by now, science would have observed and recorded it through the scientific method. Maybe being in good health allows you to resist the attacks of the virus longer and more strongly. For example, if you end up in intensive care, it’s better not to be too thin or in poor health. But that, unfortunately, is all that can be achieved by having led a healthy lifestyle before contracting the virus. Young healthy people are dying every day from the virus.

Of course, if you believe a healthy lifestyle means not being in close contact with anybody, living in the bush, that might be a way to protect yourself – not ever being in a situation where you might contract the virus. But other than this plan, no way has been found where the immune system can be sufficiently boosted to be able to spontaneously resist the virus.

FINALLY, REASON 6 – YOU GET YOUR VACCINE, AND THEN YOU ARE SAFE. IT DOESN’T MATTER IF I GET IT OR NOT, IT IS MY CHOICE.

That is the thing about biology, life isn’t lazy. It is always trying ways to reproduce more efficiently. So while I could get the vaccine and feel safe from the current variant, it could get into your unvaccinated body and mutate into something that makes the current vaccines ineffective. Or you could pass it on to those that can not take the vaccine for medical reasons, or your mutated version could infect my child, could hospitalize my wife, could kill my parent. Or, you could get sick and take a hospital bed that my loved one needs for a heart attack, or a newborn baby. It is selfish, self-centered and egotistical to look at this as a personal choice, as a human right, as a god-given freedom – this is about societal responsibility. This is an example of the social contract incarnate mentioned below.

There are many more fringe arguments, but these I have found are the main ones. THE MAIN POINT IS THAT WITH A SAMPLE SIZE OF OVER 6 BILLION, ALL THE EVIDENCE LEADS TO THE TRUTH THAT THE VACCINE IS SAFE AND EFFECTIVE AT SAVING LIVES AND GIVING US THE FREEDOM TO MOVE AGAIN. You and we as a society, are much better off if we all get vaccinated.

What about human rights, our right to chose, our freedom? That is the thing about living with other people. To be part of a society, we have to give up certain rights to live together in peace. It is called the “Social Contract” – an implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits; for example by sacrificing some individual freedom for the state safeguarding our property, or to keep us safe from crime or protect our health from polluters. There are so many examples of everyone giving up rights through laws to live with each other that I do not think I need to list any.

On the contrary, I believe those that refuse to be vaccinated (excluding those with medical reasons), or refuse to mask, or refuse to keep a social distance – are robbing Belizean society of its freedom and some people of their life. Belize is a tiny country, with only 400,000 people. Imagine if we could get the majority of the people vaccinated, and reach herd immunity, where people wore masks in public and kept a social distance. Covid-19 would be under control as it is in New Zealand and Iceland. Our local economy would be moving again, and those businesses that rely on tourism, nearly 50% of our economy – which touches nearly everyone in Belize, including the Mennonites who wrote that letter to the Prime Minister mentioned below – could be welcoming foreign guests with the proper controls and tests in place. Not just the big hotels, but the small Belizean businesses that run hotels, guide, cook, sell produce and perform all the thousands of jobs necessary for tourism.

The non-vaxers, and the people they influence through their rhetoric, those that refuse to follow anti-Covid guidelines all in the name of freedom and human rights, are doing just the opposite. They are denying everyone else’s freedom of movement, freedom of earning a living, and freedom to pursue our lives as we see fit – our human rights. They are being selfish to the highest degree, being anti-society and trashing the social contract that all should follow to live together in the paradise that is Belize.

The question of religious belief is an easy one. The Mennonites of Spanish Lookout, Blue Creek and Shipyard recently sent a letter to the Prime Minister listing Revelations 13:17, part of the Christian bible, an ancient religious text that has been modified by 1000’s of people over 1000’s of years and interpreted in 1000’s of different ways, as a reason not to receive the vaccine. They interpret the text as the vaccine is the “mark of the beast”. I refuse to get into a religious argument with Mennonites, but I will say that everyone should be allowed to believe and practice whatever religion they want – as long as it does not infringe on someone else’s rights. But this anti-vaxer belief is impinging on our human rights by contributing to the strength of this pandemic, making it last longer than necessary, and killing more Belizeans than necessary. If the anti-vaxers and those hesitant do not want to get the vaccine, then their movement must be curtailed, just like all of ours are now.

Vaccines are one of the wonders of modern medicine. All of us have received one vaccine at least in our lifetime – think tetanus, polio, smallpox, rabies, tuberculosis, measles, mumps, rubella and on and on. We vaccinate our pets that we love, farmers vaccinate their livestock and then feed us with the meat.

What over 6 BILLION Covid-19 vaccines given worldwide have shown us is that the chance of life-threatening, adverse effects from receiving this vaccine might as well be 0%. This Covid pandemic is more than a war against biology, it is a war against ignorance, selfishness, putting politics above social welfare, against a society that places individual choice over what is best for everyone. It is as if Covid-19 specifically evolved and mutated to take advantage of these human traits.

I recently listened to a very enlightening speech by Governor-General Froya Salam, where she intimated that Belizean society has lost its way, taking from the earth for individual wealth rather than enriching the earth for everyone and future generations. The anti-vaxers, those hesitant to be vaccinated, you are taking from Belizean society, you are contributing to our losing freedoms, you are contributing to the death of people for your ego. I sincerely hope the government will find the courage to do what is right, enforce the social contract on those that want to live here and require vaccination to move around this paradise called Belize. The anti-vaxers right to individual freedom of choice does not trump my and all Belizeans right to life and liberty and freedom to make a living.

–Tony Rath


BTIA members should be congratulated on the industry’s record in having the vast majority of its workers vaccinated. It is the position of BTIA that the Government of Belize should enact employer-based vaccine mandates that call for all businesses to limit employment only to those who are vaccinated. We believe that this is the only way to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control and save hundreds of Belizean lives.

Yours in Sustainable Tourism,

Stewart Krohn,
President, Belize Tourism Industry Association


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White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Click for Ian Anderson's Caves Branch, Welcome to a World of Adventure
Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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