Ministry of Health: water bodies have reopened for religious rituals

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has announced that religious organizations and their members will be allowed to light fires to for religious purposes near bodies of water starting this Friday.

This is in accordance with Public Health Regulation 4(3) [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-n CoV)] Regulations, 2022.

The statement read: “The Minister of Health hereby authorizes religious or ecclesiastical organizations and their members to enlighten fires for religious purposes on beaches, rivers, streams, ponds, springs and similar bodies of water.”

These groups are however recalled that beach, rivers, streams, ponds, springs and similar bodies of water are only open between 5 a.m. and 2 p.m.

This is in accordance with Public Health Regulation 4(2) [2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-n CoV)] Regulations, 2022.

Moreover, everything people are asked to scrupulously respect the (other) legal requirements of public health guidelines.

“The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor this development and take measures to protect the health of the population,” the statement concluded.

On January 4, the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) wrote to the minister begging him to reopen the natural waterways citing the religious need for access to the waterways.

Beaches and rivers were closed in April 2021 after the Easter weekend saw COVID-19 infections spike.

On December 20, 2021, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced the restricted opening hours of the beaches from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. Over the weekend, he extended the time by two hours.

Ruth R. Culp