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N Touch
Thursday 22 March 2018

Fear the living not the dead

RESIDENTS living near two funeral homes and crematoriums in San Fernando are not fearful of health concerns relating to cremation of bodies in the facilities.

Several residents told Newsday that they are not worried in any way about the cremations. However, when bodies are being burnt, it lets out a distinct odour which some people hate.

“I am living in the area for the past 15 years and it does not worry me. I have never heard a complaint about it with regards to health or the environment,” said Linda Wankin,75, of Medine Street, San Fernando.

“The only thing is, the smoke has a distinct smell and my grandchildren do not like it . They do not get sick or anything but they just don’t like it.”

Wankin lives a stone’s throw away from Belgroves Funeral Home.

Last month, Diego Martin residents expressed anger over a proposed crematorium in the area. R.M De Souza’s Memorial Chapel has already begun construction on the site of its funeral home on the Diego Martin Main Road.

Residents believe that once functional, it would pose threats to their health and to the environment.

Residents created a Facebook page titled No Crematorium on Diego Martin Main Road to complain about the issue. In a post on February 1, they alleged that although the company received approval from the Environmental Management Authority, chapel officials had no public consultations with residents.

However, Wankin sought to assure the Diego martin residents yesterday that there is no need to fear the dead. Instead, she suggested that people fear the living.

“Dead people do not do anything. Have you ever seen a dead man walking around with a gun and shooting? So fear the living, not the dead. Once my door is closed and I am not getting the smell, I call that George,” she said meaning that is the end of the smell.

Another San Fernando resident chuckled on learning of the concerns of the residents of Diego Martin. “If the smell is a bother, close the doors and spray inside. Life is normal here.”

Speaking to Newsday at Henry Street, a 69-year-old woman, who asked to remain unidentified, said she grew up opposite Lawrence Street. In the early 1970s, she migrated to Italy where she lives.

She attended funerals at Belgroves Funeral Home and JE Guide Funeral Home and Crematorium Limited, both on Coffee Street, and never heard residents, relatives or mourners complain about the crematoriums.

“I never heard people complain about it. I cannot say much about it because I am living in Italy. I am a Trinidadian but I am also an outsider.”


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