- Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the drafting of regulations to govern the funeral services industry are far advanced and consultations will be held with stakeholders, as soon as they are ready.
- He was addressing the launch of an Associate Degree programme in Funeral Services and Mortuary Science, at the Montego Bay Community College, on July 22.
- He emphasised that operators who earn their certification and operate, based on guidelines, stood to benefit from enjoying greater public confidence.
Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the drafting of regulations to govern the funeral services industry are far advanced and consultations will be held with stakeholders, as soon as they are ready.
“There is a need to regulate and fine-tune existing guidelines governing the funeral service and mortuary science industries,” the Minister said.
He was addressing the launch of an Associate Degree programme in Funeral Services and Mortuary Science, at the Montego Bay Community College, on July 22.
“One of the major concerns expressed even by those who are a part of the industry is the preponderance of untrained, unregistered and unregulated persons carrying out this type of business across the island,” the Minister noted.
He commended the college and its Canadian partner, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning and the Funeral Directors Association of Jamaica for pioneering the historic programme in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
“I do not doubt that there is interest in the industry. I hope that those persons who are already operating and those who wish to join understand the value of getting the right education in the area to be able to advance themselves and the business, so that they can truly stand out in a positive way,” the Minister said.
He emphasised that operators who earn their certification and operate, based on guidelines, stood to benefit from enjoying greater public confidence.
“There will always be a need for funeral and mortuary services. The truth is there is a unique advantage to this business. There will always be customers. This programme will therefore always be relevant. I hope that through this programme, we can move closer toward achieving best practice in the sector,” the Minister said.
Dr. Ferguson pointed out that funeral services and mortuary sciences are service industries that provide indispensable offerings to the public and they must integrate with health, national security, justice, finance, the environment and local government.
Meanwhile, Principal of the college, Dr. Angella Samuels Harris, said the Associate Degree programme is the institution’s response to the needs of funeral and mortuary science service providers, and there is greater need for a regulatory framework governing the sector.
“The Montego Bay Community College is proud to be embarking on its newest and exciting venture, as it continues to fulfil its mandate to provide quality, relevant and affordable programmes in western Jamaica,” she said.
Dr. Samuels Harris cited the need for the services of professionals in the funeral services and mortuary sciences field, in providing the important human and community service.
“Students in this programme will be prepared for a career that offers not only intellectual and emotional challenges, but the satisfaction of helping individuals and families through one of the most difficult periods – the death of a loved one,” she said.
“The programme is a wide and comprehensive one, which covers the science of preparing the dead for burial, grief counselling, and the business of running a funeral service,” Dr. Samuels Harris added.
The programme has also been endorsed by President of the Funeral Directors Association, Melvin Honeyghan; Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, and Dean of the School of Health Sciences at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto, Canada, Dr. Jason Powell.