Regional

Grave concern!

Trelawny cemeteries in deplorable state; running out of space

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, August 24, 2017

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Concerns are mounting that some of the cemeteries in the parish of Trelawny are running out of burial space.

This was brought into sharp focus by a Falmouth native, now residing abroad, who was bewildered by the sight of what is claimed to be skeletal remains that were scattered on the grounds of the Falmouth Cemetery.

The outspoken “Falmouthian” who spoke to the Jamaica Observer West on condition of anonymity, theorised that the bones may have been unearthed from an old grave, which was recently dug up in preparation for a new burial spot.

"I don't know whether or not they are digging and digging up other graves. And if that is so, that is very, very serious," the Falmouthian, now living overseas complained after attending a recent internment at the Falmouth Cemetery.

"The cemetery is in need of urgent, urgent attention. I don't know whether or not the town is outgrowing the cemetery because I noticed the space is getting smaller and smaller."

When contacted, Mayor of Falmouth Councillor Colin Gager, who noted that he was oblivious of bones being strewn on the grounds of the cemetery, conceded that a number of burial sites across the parish have exceeded their limit. He expressed intent to locate lands to facilitate burial facilities in the parish.

"We will also be asking around to see if any lands are available for a burial ground because quite a few of them are filled," Gager stated during an interview with the Observer West.

"I am not aware of bones in there (Falmouth cemetery). But where would those come from and there isn't any open grave there? It is something that I will have to look into."

In fact, the Falmouth mayor disclosed that he is waiting with bated breath for the development of a burial ground in the parish by a private funeral home operator.

"We have heard of some folks having interest in a new burial area somewhere in Clark's Town. I think we need to look in that direction," Gager argued.

"You could have the lavish and very expensive part and also cater to those who can only afford the normal burial. That is what we are mooting for, if that comes through. I spoke with an individual from the funeral home who has shown interest, and I explained the situation to her."

Meanwhile, the Falmouthian who brought to the attention of the Observer West the alleged discovery of human bones in the Falmouth Cemetery, also expressed dissatisfaction over the seeming neglect of maintenance of the cemetery, where his loved one was interned.

"There must be a proper maintenance programme to keep the place clean, to ensure that when you put your loved ones there it is properly maintained. Because if you look over there some people you can't find them. Look at what we are seeing. It is appalling man!" he declared.

However, Gager pointed out that, "work is commissioned to be done there".

He added that the Trelawny Municipal Council is now looking to work out an arrangement with people whose loved ones are buried in cemeteries in the parish to assist in the maintenance of the burial plots.

"The council (corporation) needs to examine the issue and have a sit down talk because they pay one fee and they leave it there and never come back to do anything to help, and all of that now is on the local authority to keep the cemetery clean," Gager argued.

"Only one fee is paid and you leave and never come back to help to clean that spot or anything. So we are examining that."

Just recently at a town hall meeting staged at the Trelawny Municipal Corporation in Falmouth, concerns were also raised about the poor state of the Duncans cemetery in the parish.

A number of other public burial grounds in the parish, including those in Martha Brae and Wakefield are also said to be in a deplorable state.

Meanwhile, the Observer West noticed yesterday a bushing exercise underway at the Falmouth Cemetery.

TURN: Mayor wants relatives of deceased to pay cemetery upkeep

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