PM urged to rethink ban on funeralsMonday, March 01, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Government is being urged to rethink its decision to ban burials effective Monday, March 8 until March 22.
Addressing a media briefing yesterday evening, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the Cabinet has given a directive to the municipal authorities that no burial orders should be issued until the decision is reviewed.
According to Holness, funeral services that were already scheduled for March 1 to 7 will be allowed to proceed, but under the strict guidelines of the existing measures, which only allow for 15 people, inclusive of members of the clergy.
But Managing Director of Jones Funeral Home and Supplies, Michael Jones, says the order from the Cabinet will result in chaos.
“You have persons who already have their burial order for between March 8 and 22, they have the funeral planned, people coming from overseas have already booked their tickets and now them hear they Government say it can't work. That is madness,” Jones told OBSERVER ONLINE.
“If they are going to stop burials you will find that the morgues are going to be overwhelmed with bodies and bodies start piling up. It is going to cause chaos.
“Let us put them under the ground. If bars can remain open, why the cemeteries can't remain open with the restriction of the 10 people? It can happen,” declared Jones.
He argued that the ban on funerals will also lead to increased costs for private funeral directors who have to pay some funeral homes to store their bodies.
“It will also lead to increased cost to persons who pay between $2,000 and $5,000 each day to funeral homes to store the bodies. With the bodies already piling up from murders and accidents we will not have space to keep them. The bodies must go under the earth,” added Jones.
In seeking to justify the ban on funerals, which was among a raft of measures he announced yesterday as part of efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 across the island, Holness pointed to the crowds which have been attending these events.
“We have to take this drastic action because we do not see any willingness on the part of our brothers and sisters — not everyone, because some people do comply — but we are seeing a significant level of non-compliance in this area,” said Holness.
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