The Nicaraguan government is planning to implement stricter policies in allowing foreign missions into the country in a bid to ensure that these missions are not used as a front for illegal activities.
According to Pastor Guillermo Osorno, founder of the Nicaraguan Party of the Christian Path, who also serves as a legislator with the opposition Constitutionalist Liberal Party coalition, these measures are meant to protect "the sovereignty and security of Nicaraguans."
Based on the latest measure, the government will implement a stricter process in the application for foreign missions to ascertain that applicants are really entering the country for the specific purpose of evangelisation and outreach.
"Unfortunately, there are people who claim they're religious leaders but behave the wrong way. Because of just a few of them, all of us will pay the price," Osorno lamented.
Upon the implementation of the new policy, foreign pastors would have to apply and register first and wait for formal authorisation before they can enter Nicaraguan territory to allow for a proper screening prior to approval of their application.
While there are some opposition to the measure, Osorno said it was designed t to deter questionable individuals from possibly engaging in illegal practices in the country like money laundering and other criminal activities.
Besides, he said this will be fairly implemented across all religions and denominations whether it be for Evangelical pastors or representatives from the Catholic Church.
Nicaragua is a predominantly Catholic country with approximately 73 percent of the population belonging to the Roman Catholic church. Roughly 15 percent are affiliated with evangelical churches while the rest are divided among the Moravian Church, the Episcopal Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Amish or Mennonite, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim beliefs, according to data from Nicaragua.com.