Grenada will have to look for new burial grounds for the dead as the two main cemeteries in the parish of St. George – the one in the capital overlooking the national stadium at River Road and the other in the south at Grand Anse cannot accommodate more people.
According to a source at one of the Funeral Homes on the island, the cemetery at St George is totally full with dead bodies but funeral homes “are still pushing in people between people”.
Grand Anse is full, full, full,” he told THE NEW TODAY.
The funeral home official disclosed that the only how one can now bury a dead in Grand Anse at the moment “is if your family have the spot there”.
“If your mother died and she buried there – and a couple years later if they could re-open the grave that is the only how you are going to get a spot there (Grand Anse) now,” he said.
The official pointed out that the Grand Anse cemetery is really a private burial site that is owned by the Roman Catholic Church but in the last 10-15 years “the priest that was there just let it go to the Grand Anse people”.
He said that most of the bodies at the burial ground are not people from Grand Anse but people who came from St. David’s and settled in Grand Anse Valley along with persons from other parts of the island.
“Grand Anse cemetery is full up with St David’s people – all people who live in the Valley that is where they bury, right there in Grand Anse,” he added.
THE NEW TODAY understands that late Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Nadica McIntyre who is from the Grand Anse area was looking at the possibility of getting the State to donate land close to where Health Minister Nicholas Steele was able to acquire property to build his upscale restaurant.
The source said that McIntyre was trying to get government to acquire a piece of land in the same area where the restaurant is located to help extend the Grand Anse cemetery because it was realized that the existing cemetery was fast running out of space.
He recalled that the former Permanent Secretary became ill and was moved out of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and the plan for acquiring the land for the cemetery was aborted.
He said that piece of the land ended up in the hands of Minister Steele for his restaurant, adding, “I don’t know how he got that.”
The source said that the two main funeral homes on the island engaged government in discussions on a new burial site for the south of the island and a piece of land in Calliste was being looked at to bury the dead but it was not suitable and did not make any sense “as Calliste is all rock and tiff”.
With regards to burials in the capital city, he said that Ogilvie Pasture in the Mt. Rush area was being looked at as it has lands that can be used as a burial ground.
He said he is aware that both Otway Bailey Funeral Home and La Qua Funeral Home made some suggestions to government a few years ago on using part of Ogilvie’s land for a new cemetery and that might have to be relooked again given the shortage of space in the current cemetery.
According to the source, the extended cemetery for St. George should have been where the Chinese houses are now located at Mt Rush but the proposal was turned down as government wanted the lands for housing for low-income persons.
He said that one option that can be looked at is a lot of land between the Chinese housing scheme and Steele’s Auto in River Road in which “we might be able to get 500 to 600 graves there”.
The funeral home official told THE NEW TODAY that the only two burial grounds on the island with room for the dead within the next 10 years are located at Morne Jaloux and Mt. Airy in St. Paul’s.
He said the major cemetery in St. Andrew which is located at Grand Bras “is kind of full” but it has some lands adjacent to it that can be used as a burial ground but the owners are demanding triple the true market value price for the land.
“I understand that they wanted millions for it,” he remarked.
He said that the government can do the acquiring of the land for a public purpose and pay them a price “at the going rate” for the land.
The official predicted that most of the dead in Grenada might have to be cremated rather than be buried in the next 8-10 years due to shortage of land space.
“We foresee that in the next eight to 10 years every other dead will be cremated,” he said.
Grenada currently has one Crematorium but plans are afoot by the other major funeral agency – Otway Bailey to erect its own facilities.