“I think the church has to participate in and respect all of the restrictions that the rest of society is being asked to observe”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bishop of the Diocese of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands Reverend Laish Boyd yesterday suggested that further restrictions were perhaps necessary for New Providence amid a surge of new cases and hospitalizations.
“Nobody likes restrictions, but the current worsening state of the landscape is clear,” Boyd told Eyewitness News.
“We see the numbers rising, daily numbers increasing, younger people dying and our healthcare facilities are full, so that’s really a serious state of affairs.
“I personally think that one of the biggest problems is that people need to take personal responsibility and there isn’t enough of that.
“We still have too many people not paying attention to the protocols.
“That’s alarming because we are really faced with a powder keg that could explode at any minute.
“And so, while we don’t like further restrictions, I think all of us need to work on limiting our activity and I think the restrictions need to extend to every area of our lives.
“We probably have to go back to allowing only so many persons inside of businesses at a time, and all those kinds of things as well.
“We can’t just have the church services being restricted. I think every place where people gather, there needs to be restrictions.”
During a press conference last Friday, Minister of Health Renward Wells announced a range of new restrictions to mitigate the latest surge of coronavirus cases, which have exceeded 1,500 this month.
Under the latest emergency orders that came into effect Monday at 5am, religious services on New Providence and Grand Bahama must be limited to one hour and attendance must not exceed 33 percent of the facility’s capacity.
Yesterday, Boyd said everyone has to participate in the fight against COVID, and that means “enduring some restrictions and limitations of our normal activity”.
“I am firm believer that if you call yourself a Christian, then you have to lead the way in modeling the kind of behavior that is going to improve this situation,” he said.
“So, I think the church has to participate in and respect all of the restrictions that the rest of society is being asked to observe.
“We have to lead the way in modeling those things because it is all a matter of good stewardship.”
But other quarters of the religious community have objected to the new restrictions.
In an interview with Eyewitness News on Monday, Bahamas Christian Council President Bishop Delton Fernander said the church will engage in discussions with the government on the restrictions, suggesting that the measures confining the church had no rationale.
Bahamas Faith Ministries International Senior Pastor Dave Burrows held a similar view.
Mount Tabor Senior Pastor Bishop Neil Ellis also said the government ought to be careful about attempting to legislate or regularize service times.
He said he would not be “hard-pressed” to meet the one-hour requirement.
Asked about the extension of the emergency orders set to come to an end on August 13, Boyd said he could not give an opinion on that because he was unsure if “the government can’t still do what it has to do if there are no emergency orders in place”.