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  • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is imploring operators of funeral homes to raise their standard of service and return the industry to its former state of respectability.
  • “This profession needs to return to its core value... those of you who have invested (in your business) need to take a stand. You cannot allow your trade to be dragged through the mud; to be (the) centre of the worst kind of criticism,” Mr. McKenzie said.
  • The Minister noted that some undertakers are operating in areas not zoned for that type of commercial business, without proper tools and in an unsanitary manner.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is imploring operators of funeral homes to raise their standard of service and return the industry to its former state of respectability.

He noted that persons often complain of the poor service offered by these establishments, some of which are operating illegally.

“This profession needs to return to its core value… those of you who have invested (in your business) need to take a stand. You cannot allow your trade to be dragged through the mud; to be (the) centre of the worst kind of criticism,” Mr. McKenzie said.

The Minister was speaking at the annual appreciation function for funeral directors hosted by Meadowrest Memorial Gardens, at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (April 11).

He noted that the activities of unregulated operators are crippling the industry, and that those involved in the business legally need to take responsibility for the trade. He stressed that legal operators “cannot extricate (themselves) from the devastation of some of those persons who are destroying this noble profession”.

The Minister noted that some undertakers are operating in areas not zoned for that type of commercial business, without proper tools and in an unsanitary manner.

“Those of you who have sacrificed, those of you who have gone through the training, those of you who have stuck to the letters of the law, those of you who pay your General Consumption Tax (GCT), those of you who live up to your obligations to your clients and to the country – (you are) being short-changed,” he pointed out.

The Minister invited members of the profession to meet with him “to let us find a way how we can look at what presently exists, and work to see how we can regularise the business”.

Mr. McKenzie noted, however, that while the Government has a responsibility to regulate the industry, there needs to be “in-house cleaning” as well, and chided some legal operators for supporting illicit activities “because you hold bodies for them; you allow them to use your facilities”.

Raising the issue of the exorbitant prices that are often charged for burials, the Minister noted that persons may turn to “these so-called funeral homes”, because they cannot afford to bury their loved ones.

He implored funeral directors of reputable establishments to offer more reasonable packages for those who may have financial challenges.

Mr. McKenzie commended those funeral home operators who have been doing their jobs well and have maintained a high standard of professionalism and dignity.

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