Mennonite children walking down the road
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Mennonite children walking down the road

This is a copy of the Agreement between the Government of Belize and the Mennonite Community, entered upon in December 1957. They arrived in 1958.

The Agreement with British Honduras.

In December 18th 1957, the Government of British Honduras finally extended to each of the three groups, the Altkolonier, the Summerfelder and the Kleine Gemeinde, a uniformly worded Pri-vilegium, that was satisfactory to them in all respects. — That is sued to the Altkolonier read as follows :

And whereas, such settlement will be to the mutual advantage of British Honduras and of the Mennonites :

And whereas, it is desirable that there should be some Instrument setting forth in general terms, the conditions under which the Mennonites will be permitted to settle in British Honduras. :

Now therefore, This Agreement Witnesseth as follows.

1. The government of British Honduras will grant to the Mennonites, --

(a) The right to run their own churches and schools, with their own teachers, in their own German language, ac-cording to their own religion;

(b) Exemption from making the customary immigration deposits;

(c) Protection of life and property in Peace and War;

(d) Entire exemption from any military service ;

(e) The privilege of affirming with the simple "yes" or"no" instead of making oaths in and out of court;

(f) Freedom of Movement , according to law, to enter or leave the country with their money and property;

(g) The right to administer and invest the estates of their people , especially those of widows and orphans, in their "Trust Systen' called the "Waisenamt", according to their own rules and regulations;

(h) the right to 'bring into British Honduras the old, infirm and invalid members of the Mennonite community provided that the individuals do not become a charge on the Government of British Honduras;

(i) exemption from any social security or compulsory system of insurance.

2. The Mennonites will—

(a) pay all costs and expenses incurred in establishing their settlement;

(b) bring into British Honduras capital investment in cash and kind amounting to five hundred thousand dollars more or less British Honduras currency.

(c) produce food not only for themselves but for local consumption and for the export market;

(d) conduct themselves as good citizens, and subject to this agreement, observe and obey the laws of British Honduras;

(e) pay all normal duties, taxes, fees and charges by law established, such as customs duty, land tax, estate duty, property tax and income tax.

3. It is understood and agreed that the privileges granted by the government shall be enjoyed by the Mennonites and their descendants for all time so long as the Mennonites observe and fulfill the conditions imposed upon them by this agreement. In Witness Whereof the parties hereto have signed two identical copies of this Instrument this 18th day of December, 1957. Signed for and on behalf of the Government of British Honduras.

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