Log In

Reset Password

May 2021: Protests sparked by travel restrictions for unvaccinated

Clashes broke out over Government plans to force unvaccinated travellers to quarantine in approved centres at their own expense as part of the battle against Covid-19.

Mark Pettingill, a lawyer and a former Attorney-General, said the move was “draconian”, amounted to “incarceration” and threatened legal action.

He said he had several clients prepared to mount a constitutional challenge if the Government pushed ahead.

Mr Pettingill accused the Government of punishing people for not getting vaccinated and using the threat of a financial penalty to force them to get the jabs.

Scores of people gathered at two rallies to protest against the quarantine plans.

But David Burt, the Premier, defended the order and said that the Government was “determined to move beyond this pandemic”.

Mr Burt added: “Strong leadership requires decisive action.

“It is important for all Bermudians to remember that supervised quarantine has been very effective in many countries that have eliminated local transmission, and their societies have returned to normal, holding large events without masks.

“This is what we want for Bermuda and it is my hope that we as a country unite to do what is necessary to move Bermuda past the pandemic.”

Mark Diel of law firm MDM, backed the quarantine plan.

He said that safety considerations had to override personal freedom in a crisis.

Mr Diel admitted that there were constitutional matters involved.

But he insisted: “In the case of freedom of movement, those freedoms can be limited where it is reasonably necessary for public health or public safety.”

A legal challenge to the order was mounted by pressure group Constitutional Freedom Bermuda.

Courtenay Griffiths QC, a senior English barrister, said “the rule trampled on Bermudians’ rights”.

Mr Griffiths launched a constitutional motion in the Supreme Court with Mr Pettingill.

Constitutional Freedom Bermuda raised more than $70,000 to fund its legal bid to fight restrictions.

The move came after the Government announced that anyone who arrived on the island without vaccination from June 6 would have to stay in an approved centre for 14 days at their own expense rather than quarantine at home.

The Government introduced the Covid-19 public safety order in June and dropped the policy at the end of September.

Two people died in separate crashes just minutes apart.

Leon Thomas, 82, and Marvin Lambe, 56, were the third and fourth roads deaths of the year.

It emerged that some doctors prescribed anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin to treat Covid-19 - which health officials in Bermuda and overseas had warned against.

The SafeKey system was piloted and later used at the Bermuda Day event held at the Bermuda National Sports Centre in Devonshire and for the half marathon.

The Viking Orion became the first cruise ship to visit Bermuda in more than a year.

It was hailed a landmark moment in the island’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic when it moored in Dockyard.

The first guests were also welcomed to the new St Regis Hotel in St George’s.

Protesters at the Bermuda Freedom Car Rally in May. (File photograph)

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published December 31, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated December 31, 2021 at 9:48 am)

May 2021: Protests sparked by travel restrictions for unvaccinated

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon