A special task force is needed to upgrade Le Repentir cemetery

Dear Editor,

The cartoon which appeared in the business section of the Stabroek News edition of Friday October 19, 2007 inst was appropriate, timely and effective, illustrating the true state in which our major cemetery happens to be. My letter, by coincidence, was in process.

Every Guyanese should be shocked and dismayed over the condition of our major burial-ground. If we were to trace the history of Le Repentir we are told that the land was given by a Frenchman for the purpose which it serves. In the past our municipality took special care to ensure that our cemetery was maintained so one ought to wonder why it has deteriorated so rapidly.

Undoubtedly, a stranger will find difficulty in deciding whether this facility is a jungle or a wilderness. Just to pass the cemetery is a source of embarrassment. To enter the ground to attend a funeral must be heart-rending for the bereaved relatives.

Rumours have it that corpses are left to rot in the cemetery and stray dogs feed on the bodies of these hapless victims. There are other problems created by ghouls who break into tombs to make use of items buried with the dead or to use parts of the dead for ‘obeah’.

Junkies and bandits are often around to rob people going through the cemetery or who have gone to check on the tombs of their loved ones. Therefore, there seems to be a lack of proper management and a marked absence of security by the relevant authorities.

Guyanese are among the most travelled people and it is surprising that we as a nation should allow our cemetery, the final resting place, to be in such a disgraceful condition.

Let us not hesitate to deal with this national problem if we are to be considered to be a truly civilized society. Every nation should aim, to have a well-kept cemetery to show respect for the dead. We need to have a special task force and a permanent organization both to restore Le Repentir to its original condition and to maintain this hallowed resting-place for generations to come.

Yours faithfully,

Malcom Clarke

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