Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Hanover faces crisis as burial spaces dwindle, says mayor

Published:Wednesday | April 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer
Mayor of Lucea Sheridan Samuels

Western Bureau:

Lucea's mayor, Councillor Sheridan Samuels, says there is now a looming crisis in Hanover as the parish is steadily running out of space in both the municipal cemeteries and the supporting private family plots and this could create a major challenge in the near future.

"The situation is now reaching crisis proportion," said Samuels, who is also chairman of the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC). "We are very concerned about it, as it requires urgent attention."

At present, the municipal corporation operates 10 cemeteries across the parish. But within recent times, the municipal corporation was forced to close one of the major public cemeteries because it had run out of space.

"The public cemetery in Sandy Bay had to be closed because of the lack of available space," said Samuels, in emphasising the extent of the problem. "Also, it should be noted that there is only limited available space left in the Lucea Cemetery."

 

Used by residents of other parishes

 

The situation has been amplified by the fact that some of the public cemeteries in the parish, especially the Hopewell Cemetery, are quite popular with residents from neighbouring

St James, who regularly bury their deceased relatives there. This situation has left some Hanover residents fuming.

"It is as if they (the municipal corporation) are just interested in collecting the money. No matter where you come from, they will give you a permit for the burial of your dead, as long as you can pay the required fee," said a resident of Hopewell, who wants the practice to end.

In this regard, the Hopewell Citizens' Association recently wrote to David Gardner, the chief executive officer of the HMC, complaining about the wanton issuing of permits for burial in the Hopewell Cemetery.

"The donated land space within the Hopewell Cemetery is not increasing, and is expected to serve the community and its immediate environs for a projected number of years," the letter stated. "The projected time is being shortened, however, with the indiscriminate approvals for the burial of persons not only from within Hopewell and its environs, but from other parishes.

"This situation cannot be allowed to continue, as it will disenfranchise residents from within Hopewell and its environs from getting a final resting place of their choice when the time has come," the letter continued.

Both Samuels and Gardner have agreed to meet with the citizens' association to address the issue.