A few months ago, Devi Mahadeo Fung returned from Canada to visit relatives, and to place flowers at the gravesite of her murdered son, Trevor Julius Fung.
It is something she has been doing as regularly as possible, ever since Trevor, 18 at the time, was knifed to death by robbers in February, 2004. She had even taken to hiring someone to keep the area free of bushes.
But this last visit ended in disappointment, when the young man who helped to clear the area, located near Princes Street, was unable to find the gravesite among the bushes and vines that had taken over the area.
“I left Guyana feeling depressed, because I did not get to go to the one place I had badly wanted to,” Mrs. Fung said.
She says she now regrets that she had not followed through with initial plans to have her son interred at the Lusignan Cemetery.
Mrs. Fung is one of many people who have for years, endured the anguish of being unable to locate the tombs of their loved ones in Le Repentir Cemetery.
There was a time when Le Repentir was immaculately kept, with white tombs and pathways bordered by palms.
Not any more.
For one thing, the former City Council’s decision to create a dumpsite in the cemetery area resulted in one roadway at the eastern side of the cemetery being blocked by huge piles of refuse.
The main problem, however, was the years of neglect of the once immolate cemetery, which turned the area into a virtual jungle and a haven for criminals. In 2014, the then PPP administration expended millions in an effort to clear the cemetery. Prison inmates were among those recruited to do the job.
But the project was never completed and the ‘jungle’ has begun to creep back.
When Kaieteur News visited the Le Repentir Cemetery yesterday, the western front of the burial ground was partially cleaned. But upon taking a further walk into the heart of the cemetery, the heavy overgrowth of brushes and even small trees could be seen.
Tombs were almost hidden by grass in certain sections and the trench parallel to Sussex Street was filled with weeds.
On the eastern side, the left half was entirely overgrown and is inaccessible to visitors. In other areas of the eastern side the grass is relatively low and persons can visit the final resting place of their loved ones easily as opposed to yet other spots in which tombs are covered by grass.
One woman appealed for the Mayor and City Council to ‘spray’ the grass and clean the cemetery regularly, as she sometimes found it difficult to do her fortnightly cleaning of her late father’s tomb.
Others were seen with paint and cutlasses and said that they kept their family plots clean, regardless of whether the relevant authorities cleaned the burial ground.
All shared the same opinion that there needs to be a system in place to keep the cemetery clean.
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