With the St. John’s cemetery being increasingly overwhelmed, residents are being encouraged to utilize rural cemeteries. Just last month Chief Health Inspector Sharon Martin confirmed that the public cemetery is running out of space for new burials. Martin said that this is the worst year on record for the number of burials at the facility with there being 305 by the end of September. Health minister Sir Molwyn Joseph says that there are an additional 24 burial sites which are underutilized.
“I wish to draw to the attention of the public that over the past several years, probably the last couple decades that interment in Antigua and Barbuda has been almost exclusively in St. Johns. Unfortunately, that accelerated the use of that burial site and many of the burial sites in the rural areas were not utilized. We are now in the process of establishing the inventory, the use and maintenance of burial sites in Antigua and Barbuda.”
“In my hand, I have a report that there are additional 24 burial sites in Antigua and Barbuda that are operated and managed by the communities as well as the churches.”
Joseph says that as a result, a meeting will be conducted with the heads of the various churches of which these cemeteries are attached.
“And it has become convenient for people to even from the most rural parts Antigua and Barbuda, villages as far as Freetown where they have community burial sites and burial sites operated by churches that they would utilize the St. Johns cemetery. We are about to meet with these individuals, these churches and these communities and we’re about to discuss with them the utilization of these burial sites so we do not accelerate the use of St. Johns cemetery.”joseph added.