Sun | Sep 19, 2021

Funeral directors blast Gov’t over decision to ban burials

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2021 | 12:22 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer
Melvin Honeyghan.
Melvin Honeyghan.

The Funeral Directors’ Association of Jamaica has blasted Prime Minister Andrew Holness for his Government’s decision to ban funerals and burials from March 8 to 22.

Melvin Honeyghan, president of the Funeral Directors’ Association of Jamaica, told The Gleaner that he is unhappy with the manner in which the Government has handled the ban on burials and funerals.

“How could you as a leader of a country choose to put a hold on burials? I think the Government should be saying a timeline to bury and not a timeline to stop burial. Now if I were in his chair, maybe if I even put a stop order on funerals, I would not put it on burials.”

“We have reached a point where the prime minister is now saying no issuing of burial orders, and that is total madness, craziness because it’s not only funerals that are placed on stop order, cremation is also being stopped, because you cannot proceed to do a cremation without the burial order, so putting the whole country upside down is totally wrong.”


Honeyghan, who is also the director of Honeyghan’s Funeral Service and Crematorium, said the Government’s decision to limit the number of persons at weddings to 25 is ill-advised.

“Now how could a wedding which is not such an important factor be given 25 people, and a funeral be given 10. A wedding needs two party, husband and wife, the minister and a witness, that’s all the wedding needs.”

“A wedding will go on for hours, that’s much more mix and mingle than that of a funeral, which can last for an hour and everything is over. Now is it that the prime minister is behaving like certain parishes where the grass is dry, but the farmer places a green reflector over the cows eyes to let it appear that the grass is green, in order for that cow to feed,” Honeyghan stated.

Another prominent Funeral Director, Dr Robert Doyley, managing director of Doyle’s Funeral Service in Westmoreland, told The Gleaner that the prime minister should have had some form of dialogue with the funeral directors before a decision was taken.

“In so doing, it would have given the prime minister, the funeral homes, and even other affiliated agencies an opportunity to sort of streamline how this could be more workable, but, it’s like a sudden thing, and the families themselves have become so excited, but not in a good way, and you hear people talking about, you haven’t heard them put stipulations on weddings, for example, but on funerals, why.”

Doyley’s Funeral Service is the largest government contractor across western Jamaica.

“The thing is, some funeral homes would not have a problem with storage, some might, but in our situation, we have adequate storage, so it would not affect us, but what affects us is having to now coordinate funerals because people have already come and arrange funerals, even paid for their packages, and that is going to pose some hardship as families are coming out from abroad with a time frame that already been set, and that’s an issue,” Dr Doyley stated.