The New Amsterdam Mayor and Town Council and the police yesterday ordered a Savannah Park funeral parlour to suspend its operations until its managers can provide documentation to show that they are operating legally.
Town council officials and Police Inspector Godfrey Playter visited the funeral parlour shortly after 1 pm as a result of complaints by residents, who are worried that the operations could have an impact on their health.
The residents say waste water produced by the parlour is flowing into a stagnant drain nearby.
Stabroek News was told that upon arriving at the parlour, which is reportedly being operated by the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG), town council officials and the lawman met with an employee, who was unable to produce documents to show that the business was in operation legally.
The employee then called the person in charge of the Berbice operation and it was then related that the documentation is presently being processed but that he supposedly received instructions from the organisation’s head office to commence operations.
According to a source, the parlour officially began operation on November 1st, 2017. So far, it has handled 15 funerals and two bodies were on site when officials visited yesterday.
After the confrontation between the council officials and the manager, the police instructed that the two bodies be taken to a nearby funeral parlour until the necessary documents can be produced to show that the business is operating legally.
According to the source, the building has a cold storage facility which can store three bodies at one time. The source noted that the main drain from a table where the dead are washed leads to the back of the building and drains where residents live.
The source also explained that attempts were made by officials from the council to verify the parlour’s documentation in the past but they were always met with closed doors and gates.
Additionally, this publication was told that the council was not notified when operations commenced at the parlour and that it only became aware when residents raised the issue with officials.
When Stabroek News made contact with the Berbice manager, he refused to comment and asked that this publication make contact with the organisation’s head office in Georgetown. Upon doing so, Stabroek News was told that the general manager of the organisation is presently out of the country and those in the office could not provide any comment.
The building where the parlour is being operated previously housed the Berbice Islamic School and then later the RVC Private School, which relocated to the Corentyne area several years ago.