JIS News

Thirty graves, which are at risk of being washed away at Lloyd’s cemetery in Yallahs, St. Thomas, are to be relocated to another site in the community.Funding for the project, costing approximately $2 million, is being provided by the Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport.
Exhumation work, which began on August 8, is being undertaken by Madden’s Funeral Supplies & Crematorium. Work is expected to be completed by Friday (August 12).
Secretary/Manager at the St. Thomas Parish Council, Clinton Gordon told JIS News that the graves, located near the Mandicott River are being moved because they were being damaged by flood waters and soil erosion. Over the years, he said some four metres of the river bank have been washed away, taking with it graves that have been in the cemetery since the 1960s.
“There has been continued damage to graves by the river, despite efforts to do river work. Therefore, the option is for us to relocate, because we continue to lose graves,” he said, adding that the damaged graves also posed a “public health risk”.
Mr. Gordon pointed out that there were some 60 graves at the cemetery to be removed. “Based on the finance, we will remove the others, but we’re moving the first 30, which are by the river’s edge and at risk of being destroyed by the river,” he said.
The Secretary/Manager said that 30 concrete single vaults with covers and headstones have been constructed at the new site. On completion of the reburial, he said the Parish Council would hold a memorial service.
He pointed out that meetings were held with community members and relatives to explain the reason for removing the bodies and to clear up any “misunderstandings”.
“It’s a process of communication with the people so as to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the matter,” he added.
Mr. Gordon said the Parish Council was concerned about the problem of soil erosion along the Mandicott River, noting that sections of the roadway and the river’s edge were eroded during Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis.
“So there is a need for some serious work on the river to prevent further erosion,” he said.