JIS News

Plans for the restoration of the May Pen cemetery in Kingston is well advanced with Jamaican nationals living abroad playing a critical role in the effort.
Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie who made the announcement said that a number of Jamaican communities in New York, Washington D.C. and Miami in the United States and Canada had already started fundraising efforts to assist the project.
Meanwhile, Radio Jamaica Limited will also be having a live broadcast from the May Pen Cemetery in early March to help with fundraising for the cemetery.
Mayor McKenzie also informed at the monthly press briefing on Tuesday (Feb. 10) that the KSAC had met with undertakers at the cemetery to decide on the best way to carry out the restoration.
“It is the intention of this Council to bring May Pen Cemetery to a certain level so that people can feel comfortable. So if you don’t see us starting any work at the end of February or March, is not that we have abandoned the May Pen Cemetery, but what we are doing is ensuring that when we are commencing the work it will be done in a way that the general public can have some understanding and general pride in what we are doing,” the Mayor said.
The cemetery has been in a state of disrepair for more than 10 years, and improvements have generally been confined to occasional bushing. Last year the Mayor had said steps would be taken to improve the condition of the cemetery in December.
However, after evaluating the extent of the repairs a decision was taken to put in place a comprehensive restoration and maintenance programme for the cemetery, which is considered to be the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.
“We took a conscious decision not to just go in and do the bushing then six months down the road we are back to square one again,” Mayor McKenzie told JIS News in a recent interview.
He said a final proposal outlining the full extent of the work to be done, had been prepared by the KSAC’s City Engineer Department, but he would not go into details concerning the full cost of the repairs.
The Mayor disclosed that the proposal called for complete refurbishing of the public sanitary conveniences around the cemetery, as well as the changing room, the storeroom, the chapel and administrative office. The fence will also be repaired and the gully, which over flows into the cemetery whenever it rains, will also be cleaned.

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