Oct 26, 2015 News
– refutes claims by Lyken Funeral Home
The Guyana Police Force has not taken kindly to reports that it is engaged in the immoral practice of touting the dead, as contained in an article carried in this newspaper yesterday.
The Force is being accused of channeling the business of the collection of human remains to a particular funeral parlour, whose owners are believed to be favoured by the Force’s administration.
The accusation is coming from the proprietors of the Lyken/Newburg Funeral Home, which has been collecting human remains on behalf of the police for the past 25 years.
In a response to an article published by the Kaieteur News under the caption “Police now selling the dead”, the Guyana Police Force said that the decision to involve the Memorial and Crematorium Gardens Funeral Parlour in the collection of human remains was taken in response to a request by the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana.
But of course this is nothing new, since this very fact was already pointed out in the published article.
The police explained though that it is required by law to investigate all unnatural deaths.
Part of this investigation entails the conduct of the post-mortem by a registered government Pathologist.
According to the police, the practice of the Force has been whenever an unnatural death occurs, at a place other than at Public Hospitals with storage facilities for bodies, the police will have these bodies stored at a funeral parlour until the post-mortem is conducted.
Thereafter, the body will be handed over to the relatives for burial.
Whenever no relatives come forward to claim the body, the police will cause it to be disposed of, at the expense of the State.
The force acknowledged that among the funeral parlours being used is the Lyken Funeral Parlour.
“The standard procedure relating to the removal of human remains is for detectives to inform the Duty Officer in the Police Division whenever processing of the scene is completed. The Duty Officer will then call a parlour to pick up and store the body,” a statement from the Guyana Police Force said.
Over the years, the Lyken Funeral Home has been the preferred choice of the police, especially when it comes to decomposed remains, which other parlours are reluctant to pick up.
According to the police, earlier this year, the Central Islamic Organisation Of Guyana (C.I.O.G) by way of letter informed the Commissioner of Police that they are handling funerals of Muslims in Guyana and paying costs associated with those deaths.
They also informed that they have a contractual agreement with the Memorial and Crematorium Gardens Funeral Parlour to handle bodies and funerals of Muslims.
The police stated that the C.I.O.G requested that the Guyana Police Force facilitate the collection of the bodies by the said Memorial and Crematorium Gardens Funeral Parlour from the scenes.
The Police said that it finds the request to be a reasonable one and as a result the Commissioner of Police forwarded the letter to the Divisional Commanders with instruction to facilitate the request.
“No funeral parlour complains about this arrangement except the Lyken Funeral Parlour which has been insisting that it has a contract with the Guyana Police Force that gives them a monopoly to uplift and store bodies. When asked by the Guyana Police Force and other government authorities to produce a copy of the said contract, Dr. Dawn Stewart has so far failed to do so,” the police said.
The police said that the Lyken Funeral Parlour has been complaining a long time ago with the advent of competition in the industry.
However, in yesterday’s article, Dr, Stewart is on record acknowledging that she has no formal contract with the Guyana Police Force, although she has been insisting that there be one, a request the police have been brushing aside over the years.
She said that she is not afraid of competition and will welcome new tendering for the contract to collect human remains, which she said should be done in a transparent manner.
But some subordinate officers in the Guyana Police Force are unaware of this new arrangement with the Memorial and Crematorium Gardens Funeral Parlour.
“We have no such instructions to that effect,” one such officer told this newspaper.
“And besides how would we know which is Muslim dead or not? We don’t always know the identity of dead persons, so Lyken is always our first option,” the SO added.
However, it has been observed that the Memorial and Crematorium Gardens Funeral Parlour has not only been collecting human remains of Muslims on behalf of the police; they have also been called by the police to collect other remains.
Earlier this year, to the surprise of many, the parlour turned up in Buxton to collect the dismembered remains of a woman.
When questioned, the police claimed that they were instructed to call the parlour.
On the question of payment of the millions owed to the Lyken Funeral Home, the police said the issue has been raised long before the sitting Commissioner took over the Force.
The police said that “Unlike what is reported by Dr. Dawn Stewart, the unpaid monies (not consistent with her version) is still being processed by the government.”
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