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Debate on cremations vs burial for Covid-19 victims

La Qua Brothers Funeral Home – a household name on the island

One of Grenada’s leading funeral agencies on the island, Bailey’s Funeral Home supports both cremation and regular burial of persons who succumb to the deadly Covid-19 virus.

An employee at the Funeral Home told THE NEW TODAY that thousands of Grenadians prefer to see burial of their loved ones as opposed to cremation.

“We are burying. A lot of Grenadians don’t want to be cremated – so some of them getting buried. We have some to cremate, some to bury,” she said.

However, the senior staffer expressed some concerns with the slow process from the Ministry of Health to give the go-ahead to dispose of persons who died from Covid-19 related issues.

“We are not forcing anybody to be cremated. We thought that the protocols would have been as quick as possible but I don’t know what’s going on. We are going through the normal process but I find the process taking too long,” she said.

“Covid dead should bury the next day at least in my opinion – if you dead today you bury the next day. You shouldn’t have it pile up – they start to pile up on us now,” she added.

According to the employee, the Funeral Home, as part of the protocol for burying Covid-19 victims, is demanding that the graves be no less than 6 feet under the ground.

“…If you want to be buried, your grave digger or our grave digger may have to dig more than 6 ft. – you got to go deep down with the body. We are trying to go down at least 6ft,” she said.

“The grave should be 6ft but in a lot of places you can’t get it – we have to go and dig graves now to make sure we get it,” he added.

The Funeral Home executive also made some passing comments on the topical issue of the 20ft Refrigerated Container for dead bodies that came in the island a few days ago for a rival company, La Qua Funeral Home.

She said that Bailey’s has no shortage of storage space for its dead but La Qua is known to have a problem.

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She pointed out that with the Covid-19 death toll rising, La Qua was forced to bring in a 20-ft refrigerated container to stockpile bodies as its rival was lacking in refrigeration space.

“La Qua only has a fridge that can only hold 3 dead bodies so he had to get a refrigerated container”.

According to the executive, the newly opened Bailey’s funeral home has a massive fridge that can accommodate about 20 bodies.

“We have room for our dead. We can hold about 20 at a time. We have two fridges – one inside and one outside – don’t worry about us when it comes to storage of bodies”.

“Our new facility has a fridge that could hold 20 dead so we don’t need that (refrigerated container).

Over the years, La Qua funeral home would embalm bodies to preserve them for burial and did not have to invest in a refrigerated container as is the case with Covid-19 victims.

“We are not embalming no Covid case,” she told THE NEW TODAY.

She said that she was not surprised at the move made by La Qua since that rival company has a capacity problem with storage of Covid-19 bodies and had to resort to bringing from outside the country a refrigerated container for bodies.

“Instead of the (Covid-19) bodies getting embalmed and put on the side (of the Funeral Home) you have to store them in a fridge. He (La Qua) has a fridge but it is too small – it can only hold 3 or 4 dead. Our fridge could hold 20 and we could hold maybe 10 (bodies) outside,” she added.

THE NEW TODAY understands that at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, the Keith Mitchell-led government had initiated a policy for all Covid-19 dead to be cremated and La Qua is the only funeral home on the island with a Crematorium.

The regime backed off when the Muslim Community vowed that none of their members will be cremated since it was against their religion.

The NNP is known to receive substantial campaign funds from the Muslims in the south of the island during general elections in Grenada.

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