Mon | Apr 23, 2018

Jamaicans gradually embracing cremation

Published:Wednesday | April 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Recipients of the Business Quality Awards, (from left) Christoph Allen (Allen Caskets), Michael Archer (Archer’s Funeral Home and Supplies), and Michael Blackwood (Arms of an Angel), at the 2018 Meadowrest Memorial Gardens annual appreciation brunch for funeral directors held at The Knutsford Court Hotel yesterday.

In-ground burial is still the leading and preferred type among Jamaicans. However, Ingrid Chambers, chief executive officer of Meadowrest Memorial Gardens in St Catherine, has disclosed that cremation is becoming more popular.

Chambers spoke with The Gleaner yesterday at Meadow-rest's annual awards brunch, held at The Knutsford Court Hotel in St Andrew, to recognise funeral directors and parlours that did business with the memorial gardens in 2017.

Some 30 awards were issued to funeral homes and individuals.

"We are just going into the cremation business. So now we are doing columbarium, the spot where you place cremated remains. In-ground burial is still the most popular form of burial in Jamaica," said Chambers. "However, the market is changing, so cremation has grown in leaps and bounds. We are preparing for that. We will have a columbarium at Meadowrest soon because we want to enhance the experience of our customers. The increase in cremation per funeral home ranges from about five to 40 per cent," she said.

Chambers cited personal requests and the fact that people move around constantly as possible reasons that families seem to be leaning more towards cremation.

Chambers explained: "There are forces of change within the funeral industry. There is need for personal expression and we believe that cremation is part of that personal expression. There is also a lot of mobility and dispersal of families across the world. There is a shift from home burials into public or private cemeteries and the columbarium has become a part of the choice."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com