Mon | Dec 17, 2018

Gleaner Editors' Forum | Funeral directors want consultation on industry regulations

Published:Friday | July 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter
Calvin Lyn, president, Certified Embalmers Association
Telbert Roberts, public relations officer, Certified Embalmers Association

The Jamaica Association of Certified Embalmers and Funeral Directors wants to play a role in the development of the Public Health Funeral Establishment and Mortuary Operations Regulations that will govern the profession. President Calvin Lyn said the 22-member group welcomed the 2014 draft regulations, but it has requested a meeting with the Ministry of Health to discuss additional suggestions.

"We, as the trained people, have other recommendations to put forward because although they would've taken [into account best practices] from overseas, we have not been told if any of us in Jamaica were asked to be a part of that committee that puts the draft together. So, we are saying we need an input," said Lyn as he addressed a Gleaner Editors' Forum at the company's downtown Kingston head office yesterday.

However, Health Minister Dr Chris Tufton noted that there had been consultation with funeral directors and that the regulations were with the Chief Parlia-mentary Counsel.

"I think the next level of consultation would be when the regulations are tabled for Parliamentary discussions. I don't think that there will be any more consultation as it relates to what is to be agreed on," Tufton explained.

The group of embalmers and funeral directors was formed last year, and one of its proposals is that imported bodies should only be cleared by trained morticians.

Telbert Roberts, the associa-tion's public relations officer, explained, "For example, you cannot ship a body to the [United] States unless you go through the embassy, and you have to go to the embassy with all your credentials to show them and swear and sign... ."

Lyn argued that the regulations were urgently needed to stem the growth of unqualified morticians. He estimated that there were 150 across the island, whose operations pose public-health risks.

Dr Tufton responded, "It is certainly going to establish some very basic standards for health and safety... . Registration has to come only after the requirements are met to establish such a facility. You need to have the right personnel, [who are] qualified."