Jan 18, 2014 News
– Work being conducted to clear flooded cemetery
While work is ongoing to clear the flooded Le Repentir Cemetery, officials of the Mayor and City Council (MCC) have reported that there may a national crisis if the heavy rainfall continues.
“It’s a national disgrace that several burials were postponed this week due to poor drainage at the city’s premier graveyard. I apologise on behalf of the council to those who could not have had a proper and timely burial for their loved ones…”
“But we may be headed for a national crisis should the heavy showers continue, because the funeral parlours around may not have the capacity to accommodate the amount of bodies. We are hoping that the weather holds to ease the difficulty with having the dead buried” Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green said in an invited comment.
Meanwhile, as the burial ground at Le Repentir was completely swamped, several burials are still in limbo.
Family members of the deceased had bemoaned the condition of the city. Yesterday Kaieteur News visited the area; water was still lodged in the graveyard.
A representative of Merriman’s Funeral Home described the situation as “absolutely sickening.”
“It can be detrimental to us; we are hoping and praying that the current crime situation remains at a stable level because we won’t have place to store the dead. We are packed.”
Representatives of other funeral homes also shared similar sentiments. It was emphasised that the thought of an impromptu burial arrangement was quite “inelegant”
Overseas-based relatives of several of the deceased explained how the lack of proper drainage at Le Repentir has inconvenienced them in the worst way.
“Our time in Guyana is limited. We only have one more day; we were waiting to pay our final respects.”
Several burials at Le Repentir Cemetery, the biggest of its kind in the city, had to be postponed on Wednesday following a period of heavy rainfall.
However, the Deputy Mayor explained that efforts are underway to clear the flooded cemetery.
“The Public Works Ministry is currently conducting drainage exercises. They have identified the pump at Liliendaal which is being used to aid the Princes and Sussex Streets canal to have the flooded areas cleared.”
Notwithstanding this, Chase-Green said that the current condition of the Cemetery is largely due to the lack of collaboration and interest on the part of the administration.
“July 2012 was the last time the cemetery was cleared by the Public Works Ministry and it might have cost approximately $50 million. But Le Repentir Cemetery now lies in waste, largely because the council needs the assistance of the government to clear and maintain it to a presentable standard.
It will cost a lot more than that, to clear the cemetery of the overgrown trees and grass, replant the palms, have the appropriate drainage system in place, and maintain the facility,” Chase-Green added.
She suggested that a multi-stakeholder involvement approach is needed to rectify the issue.
“The council used to have workers to maintain the cemetery, but the rates and taxes we collect cannot pay these workers, thus we were unable to upkeep their employment…implementing a maintenance fee for gravesites may aid the council with doing its work…however, I would suggest a multi-stakeholder approach to tackle this issue; the involvement of the government, the council and private citizens.”
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