The newly re-elected government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is taking action to address the growing limited space in cemeteries around the island due to construction of huge tombstone and graves to bury the dead.
Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele told reporters on Tuesday at the weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministerial Complex that government has put together a committee to initiate new regulations that must be followed by Funeral homes and the bereaved in order to preserve the remainder of land left for burial purposes.
According to the senior government minister, a new plan with regulations that addresses the sizes of tombstones and graves will be rolled out by the committee which is made up of representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Lands, and Funeral Homes.
“We have limited land available for the interment and therefore we must use that land wisely”, Steele said.
“This committee is mandated within the next week to bring forward those new regulations that will dictate how we intern in our cemeteries in coordination with churches, undertakers and Ministry of Health,” he added.
Minister Steele believes that by the end of the month, the process with respect to regulations of size of tombstones and graves will be made available to the public.
However, he said that “what may take a couple weeks more is the surveying of the existing cemeteries and enforcement, if where it does exist, of squatting on cemetery or lands allocated for cemetery.”
He stated that the new regulation will also address the interment of the dead outside of allocated lands for burial.
Minister Steele said as it stands now, government will have to consider the extension of lands in some cemeteries that are noticeably filled to capacity.
“On certain sites, we have to consider extensions. On existing sites, maintenance, not just of the regulations with respect to size of tombstones etc. but properly maintaining our cemeteries,” he remarked.