In a recent follow-up by CVM Live, stakeholders, led by the Jamaica Association of Certified Embalmers and Funeral Directors, are demanding long-overdue regulations within the funeral and mortuary industry. Despite promises from successive governments, the lack of oversight has led to instances of prolonged grief for families, with reports of cremating the wrong body, transporting incorrect remains to funeral processions, and general unsanitary practices. Calvin Lyn, President of the group, highlights the alarming fact that out of approximately 1,000 funeral establishments in the country, only about 100 are certified. This is particularly worrisome considering the Statistical Institute of Jamaica reports an average of 20,000 deaths annually.

The urgency for strict regulations is compounded by the outdated governance of the sector, relying solely on the decades-old Cremation Act and the Burial Act, with guidelines issued in 2014. Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton, who has been at the forefront of this issue, indicates that the matter is now within the jurisdiction of the Local Government Ministry. However, efforts to obtain updates from Minister Desmond McKenzie and Permanent Secretary Marsha Henry-Martin have proven futile, leaving the question unanswered: How much longer will this crucial legislation remain in limbo?

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