Prime Minister Mia Mottley opened the first privately owned cemetery in the north of the island – to be inaugurated Friday with the burial of Barbados’ fifth Prime Minister – with an appeal for an effort to help beautify public cemeteries.
Mottley made the call during the opening ceremony of the Chapel and offices at Mount Pleasant Memorial Gardens, named for the plantation whose lands it occupies just east of Owen Arthur’s hometown of Benn Hill.
Mottley said the rundown state of public cemeteries was a troubling issue that needed to be addressed through joint action by people and businesses.
She said: “One of the projects that I would wish to have established as a national project is the beautification and upkeep of our public cemeteries.
“It hurts me, it hurts me every time I have to go to a public cemetery and to see we have not reached the level of maturity to recognize that we have a national responsibility to maintain, beautify and upkeep that space that has become home for our family who have gone before us.
“And I use this opportunity to be able to speak to the country and to ask those from the clergy to the private sector to those of us in Government to recognize that we really are judged by how we treat our elders and not just those who are alive, but those whose memories we call upon to guide us in so many things on a daily basis.
“And if that is the case, then I believe that as a society we must determine that there are some things that we must keep behind us and not ahead of us and one of those is the beautification and upgrading of public cemeteries.”
Mount Pleasant, owned by Ember Investments Corporation, led by Lyndhurst Funeral Home director Peter Griffith, which also owns the Coral Ridge cemetery and crematorium in the south of the island, was, the Prime Minister said, a perfect example of how beautiful a cemetery and its surroundings ought to be.
“In a very real sense Ember Investments have shown entirely what is possible both at Coral Ridge as will happen here at Mount Pleasant Memorial Gardens, and I hope therefore, those of us within the public sector will see it as a sign that will give us encouragement that we can do the same thing, but in doing it that we treat to it not as a Government project because it’s fundamentally not just about Government alone, it is a national project because it is rooted first in how we see ourselves, our family, the process of death and transition and what we believe ought to be appropriate going forward,” the Prime Minister said.
Griffith said the “state-of-the-art” facility was for the people in the north of the island, and would help reduce funeral costs as the service and burial could now be held in one location.
Griffith said the facility was “green-ready” with solar panels and water tanks installed as well as technology that would allow services to be streamed live.
Bishop Marcus Hinds of the Bethel Pentecostal Church in Lowlands, St Lucy, said the new facility would also be used by his church to host church services as well as burials. (RB)