Dead in disgrace
Following impromptu visits to multiple cemeteries across the country during this week, Minister of Rural Development and Local Government Haji Kazim Hosein is calling on the 14 Municipal Corporations to put their house in order and ensure that a level of care and maintenance is given to cemeteries and public spaces.
Minister Hosein stated “Many of the cemeteries that I have seen today are overgrown and littered with refuse. Whilst some are in need of basic painting and fencing, the majority are very unsightly and shows a lack of proper maintenance with grass up to 10 feet high. It cannot be business as usual. Cemeteries are supposed to be areas of reverence, where people go to remember their loved ones who have passed, and they should not have to see their final resting places be in this untidy, deplorable condition. Also, members of the public sometimes use these said cemeteries as thoroughfares and I have personally seen this. Every Corporation has workers who are employed for the purpose of maintaining the cemeteries. It is unacceptable to have to contract out services when there are workers already being paid to do these jobs.”
Each Municipal Corporation receives an allocation in its recurrent expenditure for both the maintenance of cemeteries as well as the payment of workers assigned to these areas. The Minister is urging each region, borough and city to improve efficiency in the maintenance and management of these spaces saying, “During my assessment this morning, I observed that the cemeteries that are privately managed are well maintained and welcoming to citizens. It is truly disappointing to know that Government funds are being allocated for essential services and the job is not being performed satisfactorily.” He further stated that maintenance of these public spaces should be made a priority, in respect of ensuring the grass is cut, garbage is removed, fencing and walls are in proper repair, and public safety is upheld. He added, “Some people find a home in these places; a cemetery must not be used as a dwelling but rather a place to pay our respects to those who have gone to the beyond”.