Despite calls from undertakers, grave diggers and bereaved family members, the Government has held firm on its decision to ban funerals and burials.
A two-week ban on burials and funerals came into effect on Monday, March 8. However, Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, said that the Government is considering allowing burials and cremations in certain circumstances.
According to McKenzie, the State may allow the burial or cremation of bodies that are in an advanced state of decomposition, or have been recommend for immediate burial by the competent health authorities.
The local government minister said that consideration is also being given for the burial or cremation of the bodies of indigent persons who were in the custody of the State when they died.
McKenzie, speaking at media briefing held at Jamaica House on Monday, said the proposal for burial or cremation of bodies in the circumstances that he outlined, came out of a meeting with representatives of the funeral industry. He said that the discussions will continue on Friday at which time the “remainder of the proposals” will be discussed .
The minister said that following Friday’s meeting, he will “give a definite signal to the industry” on whether the state will allow burials or cremations under certain circumstances. At that time, as well, he is expected to say whether the Government will be providing financial assistance to gravediggers and vault makers who have suffered economic fall-out as a result of the ban on funerals.
“The Government is sensitive of the concerns and the realities facing persons in the sector,” McKenzie said on Monday as he disclosed that the State is considering a financial grant for gravediggers and vault makers.