Best Conditions For Cemetery Workers

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Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe (right) and General Manager of the Sanitation Service Authority, Stanton Alleyne, are pictured in discussion after the dedication service of the Westbury Chapel. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Minister of the Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, is giving full support and praise to the workers and staff of the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) at the island’s cemeteries.

His comments were made while speaking at a Re-dedication Service of the Chapel at Westbury Cemetery last Sunday.

He said: "We deeply value the hard work done by our workers and intend to continue to modernise and advance the most suitable conditions at work here at Westbury Cemetery and across our cemeteries network."

In response to the concerns of employees regarding intense conditions of service, the Minister pointed out that management and staff would be able to address and resolve some issues that were "posing some unneeded stress to workers". He explained that, as a result, selected standards were introduced which "will greatly assist in the management and execution of work at the Westbury Cemetery".

He further added that approval had been granted for the employment of labourers to provide assistance to gravediggers, stating that issues around this matter had "been resolved and all individuals have been given a fair and equitable arrangement for the disposal of their services".

"Our aim is to provide the best possible condition for our workers, no matter what their required tasks may be," Dr. Lowe underscored, adding, "We intend to work hand in hand with our workers, listening always to their views while collaboratively creating the best solutions to any challenges they may experience."

He pointed to the technological advances that the SSA’s Board of Directors and management had implemented since the cemetery’s inception. The Environment Minister stated that previously, workers used basic manual tools to keep the 36-acre cemetery well-manicured, but new modern equipment had been steadily introduced, over time, to allow for better upkeep of the cemeteries. He said: "If the tools with which they (workers) apply their trade are not suitable for good work, then it would be rather unjust to expect good work from them."

In addition to this technology, Dr. Lowe noted that the SSA had also introduced a work order book for the allocation of graves. The Minister revealed: "This book seeks to eliminate the problem of persons being interred in the wrong grave plots." He also said that, the operations of the cemeteries would be computerised, with all burials and locations of grave plots stored in a database.

alicia.griffith@barbados.gov.bb

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