Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley wants to see a national project created to beautify and upgrade public cemeteries.
Ms. Mottley expressed this desire today as she delivered the feature address at the official opening ceremony of the Chapel and Offices at Mount Pleasant Memorial Gardens, Pleasant Hall, St. Peter.
The Prime Minister said: “It is a lack of resources that has led us not being able to do some things … and we see many … things that can be improved, as a Government. But in these difficult times, you have to prioritise. But one of the projects that I would wish to have established as a national project is the beautification and upkeep of our public cemeteries.
“It hurts me. It hurts me every time I have to go to a public cemetery, and to see that we have not reached the level of maturity to recognise that we have a national responsibility to maintain, beautify, and upkeep that space that has become home for our family members who have gone before us.”
Saying she was speaking to the country, including the clergy, private sector and those in Government, Ms. Mottley proffered the view that citizens were judged by how they treated their elders, whether living or dead.
She stated that the management of Coral Ridge and Mount Pleasant Memorial Gardens had shown what was entirely possible with their beautifully manicured grounds.
“And, I hope therefore that those of us within the public sector will see it as a sign that will give us encouragement that we can do the same thing. But in doing it, that we treat to it, not as a Government project, because it’s fundamentally not just about Government alone. It is a national project because it is rooted first in how we see ourselves, our family, the process of death … and what we believe ought to be appropriate going forward,” she added.
The Prime Minister said she was pleased with the $12 million investment, saying Chairman of Ember Investment Corporation, Peter Griffith, had approached her and Minister in the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Investment, Marsha Caddle, in 2018, to deal with obstacles relating to the project.
She told her audience that death was not easy to deal with, and suggested that the country must have discussions about how to manage people’s health and well-being, and the mental wellness of those left behind after the loss of loved ones.
“Day by day, week by week, families encounter grief, in this country, and some overcome it and some never do. And it is to that extent, therefore, that all that we do as a nation, has to be piloted and directed towards how do we make lives easier and better, not just on the financial side, and that is important, as we have just discussed, but also on the mental and emotional side, because those are the things that give us the capacity and the impetus to face each day with confidence,” Ms. Mottley said.
Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, described the facility as world-class and said the chapel represented vision, determination, perseverance and the ability to execute.
Mr. Griffith, who is also Chairman of Lyndhurst Funeral Home, described it as a state-of-the-art facility which would assist the churches in the north.