Monday 22 April, 2019

Night burials not getting support from cemetery heads

 Having a funeral after 6:00 pm may be possible but the cost to host a night burial makes that option a no-go in the eyes of persons in the cemetery and burial business.

On Sunday in another section of the media, a call was made by Retired Anglican priest Reverend Errington Massiah to stage night funerals.

Shedding light on the suggestion Acting Superintendent of Cemeteries at the Sanitation Service Authority, Stephen Niles told Loop News that having a night service which people could attend and then a next day burial which only family would attend “can be considered.”

He said, “It would eliminate the other people, who are not close family from taking time off.”


To host a night burial on the other hand, he said there is a lot involved because “you got to think about lights and all sorts of things. I can’t even think of any cemeteries with lights so I don’t think that is feasible. I don’t think so.” And he added that if you go down that line, “you would also have to sit down with the [trade] unions” to negotiate schedules for workers. At present about 75 persons are employed in this department.

Echoing his sentiment that feasibility would be an issue, the Chief Executive Officer at Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens, Peter Griffith said that a bigger problem is the fact that by law cemeteries cannot operate at night.

He said, “The cemetery is mandated to close for five o’clock, by law. That is in the Act. So it would need legislation changed to do that. The second thing is, the staffing of that facility for nights would mean that you have to pay double pay to staff. Honestly, funeral homes got to pay their staff double-time and I can’t see that as being feasible and then when done you putting families through the stress of having a service and then having to go back to have a burial or cremation; it really don’t make sense.”

He said that the move would “certainly increase” cost to the clients as well as stress to the family members.

“I really wouldn’t be too supportive of it.”

Understanding the intention to reduce the numbers attending funerals though, he however agreed that limiting funeral attendance to immediate family would be the best solution.

He said, “I think the problem in Barbados is that there is too much freedom to go to funerals. When you in the bigger countries people only go to the funerals of immediate relatives and so forth. They go and visit the funeral home the night before and sign books and that sort of thing. The funerals are much smaller, less traffic. Here you got 800 and 600 people at funerals and people going to funerals twice a week and all that nonsense. So from an employer’s perspective that is one side, but from another, I think the employers are too liberal with it.”


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