By anguillian July 10, 2017 14:39




After a series of legislative measures, passed in the Anguilla House of Assembly, cremation services by equipped funeral homes on the island should now be fully regulated. The most recent parliamentary move towards that end was the passage of the Cremation (Amendment) Bill 2017 on Wednesday, June 28.

So far, one of the two funeral operators, Rey’s Funeral Home, is known to have taken steps towards the establishment of a crematorium. The other operator still to take that step is Two Sons’ Funeral Home.
The Bill was introduced by Minister of Health, Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers, who made the point that the crematory process is new to the people in Anguilla, but was something to consider seriously. He was certain that the funeral homes on the island, to be engaged in that particular service, had done a good deal of research as part of their training.

“The Cremation (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend the Cremation Act RSA (c) C138 with the aim of improving the administration of the Act,” the Minister explained. “Mr. Speaker, the Act consists of 9 clauses.

• Clause 1 is the interpretation section of the Bill
• Clause 2 seeks to replace definitions as well as to add new definitions
• Clause 3 provides that a licence is required to establish a crematorium
• Clause 4 outlines the requirements to be met in order to be granted a licence to establish a crematorium
• Clause 5 provides that the Minister may, by order of the Executive Council, revoke a licence to carry on the business of a crematorium under the Trades, Business, Occupations and Professions Licencing Act
• Clause 6 provides that the Minister may, by order of the Executive Council, close a crematorium if the crematorium operator is not complying with the stated requirements under the Act
• Clause 7 provides that the crematorium operator has to keep the crematorium in good condition
• Clause 8 amends section 16 sub-section (1) by repealing and substituting paragraph 8…
• Clause 9 states the citation of the Bill.”

Minister Rogers went on: “Mr. Speaker, these amendments are necessary. A number of them are to tidy up and make the language, so to speak, more user-friendly. I would like to give one example. The Cremation Act of 2014, in the definitions and interpretations, stated that cremation means “the reduction to ashes of human remains by burning.” The amendment we are doing today reads: “Cremated remains means human remains that have been reduced to ashes by cremation substituting the word burning.”

Mr. Rogers noted that a number of Anguillians would not have previously thought about cremation, having been accustomed to using the traditional burial places.
He further said: “Mr. Speaker, I have already made a request that my remains be cremated and that my remains will be sprinkled from the roundabout going into Shoal Bay down to the beach. I am hoping that a number of Anguillians would take the opportunity to do some research in terms of the crematory process. We have two established funeral homes in Anguilla and technology and the safety practices are somethings that are regular. I am sure that the funeral homes will follow quite strictly the regulations that it requires. This is because Environmental Officers, the Minister of Health and so on, will be monitoring the process very closely.”
The Bill was seconded by Minister Curtis Richardson. He told the House in part: “Mr. Speaker, I rise to give support to this motion. I have attended a number of funerals recently and have noticed that a lot of our burial grounds are becoming extremely filled and this will give us an opportunity to have another form of dealing with the remains of our expired loved ones. I believe that this crematory process can serve Anguilla very well.”

Mr. Richardson took the opportunity to comment on the state of some of the tombstones and the need for them to be painted and otherwise kept in better condition. He also observed that a number of graves had been eroded and needed to be addressed in order to preserve their locations.

In supporting the Bill, Chief Minister, Mr. Victor Banks, observed that the Cremation Act had been long in coming – and at least one Funeral Director, with a completed facility, had been anxious to get it done as the demand for cremation was rising. He mentioned that some persons had concerns about the environment, but pointed out that a number of deceased Anguillians had been cremated in other jurisdictions. He was of the view that the cremation process would reduce the cost of burials to persons thus ensuring that the wishes of their loved ones, for cremation, are met.
Leader of the Opposition, Ms. Palmavon Webster, said she had reason to study the cremation process which she was now supporting. She noted that some Anguillians “had questions about whether it is a good thing to do and whether it is in line with our Biblical and Christian teachings.” She recalled that some years ago, when the cremation process first came up, some persons had consulted the Anglican Church, particularly, about it. “We received the assurance that it is line with the Biblical teachings and it is a well-recognised practice,” she reported.

Meanwhile, Minister Evans Rogers, mover of the Bill, joined Minister Curtis Richardson in lamenting the state of tombstones in the various cemeteries. He referred in particular to a number of uncovered vacant tombs which are water catchments and breeding places for mosquitoes having either been left open or lost their flimsy covering as a result of the atmospheric and over elements.

Following the short debate, the Cremation (Amendment) Bill 2017 was passed with the support of all members of the House of Assembly, thus clearing the way for the cremation process to commence in Anguilla.

By anguillian July 10, 2017 14:39


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