The owners of Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens are crying foul over operations at a nearby quarry that are creating a stench and harbouring swarms of flies that have chased mourners from the Christ Church facility.
Director of Lyndhurst Funeral Home, Peter Griffith, one of the principals, told Barbados TODAY yesterday that the foul smell and swarms of flies were not emanating from the cemetery but were due to unhygienic practices at the quarry upwind of the cemetery.
“Some months ago, we at Coral Ridge started to see small flies and then larger flies hanging around the chapel, and all around the burial site. Then we began to get a foul odour. We were concerned obviously, because we adhere to high standards at Coral Ridge,” he said, noting that the swarm of flies got so thick and the odour so offensive, that people began leaving services and complaining.
“We were sure that no bodies coming to Coral Ridge or no bodies being cremated there . . . . There is no grave that will cause that stench unless it is an extremely shallow grave. Under Barbados’ law we bury at six feet . . . . Taking those standards, further we dig by tractor and very often we dig eight-foot graves. The standards in Barbados are high,” he stated.
Griffith said even residents in neighbouring districts began to complain.
The owners of the Ridge Estate, he said, were among them.
“They complained that they could not open their windows,” he said.
Griffith said that following investigations into the problem by the Ministry of Health, it was discovered that at a nearby quarry chicken droppings, horse manure and grass were being dumped to make compost. Griffith further disclosed that members of the Royal Barbados Police Force also visited the quarry after receiving several complaints and concluded that the site was the source of the stench.
The funeral director said ministry officials attempted to appease the operators of Coral Ridge and the owners of the quarry by asking the latter to ensure the waste was properly covered, with the hope the stench would be stifled.
However, Griffith said, it remains a grave problem.
“We at Coral Ridge have been inconvenienced by the flies and the stench for the past two to three months. We have had numerous meetings with the owners of the quarry who promised to cover the waste, but we do not know if they had fulfilled their promise,” he said.
“When I visited the site today, grass and manure were exposed. This morning the stench was not too bad, but this evening it was ‘hot’. People are walking away believing that the source of the problem is at the facility,” Griffith complained.
The Coral Ridge operators will now have to decide on their next move.