The continuing ‘neglect’ of burial grounds has hit the media again; for example, Freddie Kissoon’s column last Sunday and John Rich’s letter have raised major concerns about the fact that several burial grounds have degenerated into forested dumpsites.
I am personally aware of the condition of several burial grounds, including the ones at Blairmont and Cotton Tree in West Berbice that are not only forested but which also harbour dangerous reptiles and insects, including the deadly ‘African Bees’. (However, I must also acknowledge that there are some very well-kept burial grounds in Guyana; I also recall the fact that when I was working in Bangladesh, I used to go for my morning walks in the beautifully kept cemetery in Dhaka with its manicured lawns and paved walkways).
I believe that well-maintained cremation sites are a better alternative to unkept burial grounds; they are considerably less difficult to maintain, more easily accessible to women, children, the old and infirm, and certainly more dignified than what obtains currently.
It is in this context that I cordially and humbly invite those who are not yet familiar with the Blairmont Crematorium & Memorial Garden to visit the site (located south of the Blairmont Estae sugar factory). This facility includes an all-weather access road, a concrete car park for at least 50 cars, a comfortable pavillion that can seat 200 persons, rooms for meditation and prayers, flush-toilet facilities for men and women, a canteen, two pyres, etc, all within a beautiful garden setting of flowers and many tall trees providing additional shade for those who cannot be accommodated in or do not want to use the pavillion.
The garden setting adds to the serenity and agreeableness of the ambience. Facilities are also available for conducting all relevant religious rites and ceremonies.
In the same way that we make certain good, special and often elaborate provisions to welcome our fellow human beings into this world, let us try to give a similarly good ‘send-off’ to our deceased families and friends.