Government Considers Memorial Site for Cholera Victims

Photo: R. Fraser Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (left), converses with National Epidemiologist, Dr. Karen Webster-Kerr, during a town hall meeting to discuss concerns surrounding development on the cholera cemetery at the Mayfair Hotel in St. Andrew on December 21.

Story Highlights

  • Approximately 40,000 persons died as a result of the cholera outbreak. The figure represented 10 per cent of the population at that time.
  • The Health Minister was speaking at a town hall meeting held on Tuesday (December 20) at the Mayfair Hotel, St. Andrew.
  • Dr. Tufton pointed out that the land in question is privately owned and Government’s influence and control over the property is only to ensure that it is not used in a way that may be injurious to the general population.

The Government is looking at establishing a memorial site for victims of the 1860 cholera epidemic.

“I am making a commitment here that we are going to take it up and have discussions, find an appropriate place to memorialise that particular issue in the interest of history and public safety going forward,” said Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.

Approximately 40,000 persons died as a result of the cholera outbreak. The figure represented 10 per cent of the population at that time.

Dr. Tufton said the monument would serve as a reminder to Jamaicans “from a public-health perspective, to hopefully never go back there again”.

The Health Minister was speaking at a town hall meeting held on Tuesday (December 20) at the Mayfair Hotel, St. Andrew.

The meeting was to discuss concerns surrounding development of the cholera cemetery located at the corner of Waterloo and West Kings House roads, where victims are buried.

The Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAC) has given approval for the development of the land after receiving formal advice from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Ministry of Health.

Dr. Tufton pointed out that the land in question is privately owned and Government’s influence and control over the property is only to ensure that it is not used in a way that may be injurious to the general population.

“That’s what the approval process does. It goes through a process of assessment and analysis, and once all of those things are clear, there is no basis on which to dictate to the private owner what to do with the land that they own,” Dr. Tufton noted.

Cholera is an infectious disease that causes severe watery diarrhoea, which can lead to dehydration and even death if untreated. It is caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated with a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae.

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