Mayor of Chaguanas Faaiq Mohammed is joining the call for the removal of the ban on open air cremations. In a press release issued today, Mayor Mohammed stated that “(WHO) guidelines do not restrict open-air cremations for Covid19 victims.”

He added that “There has been no scientific proof indicating that open air cremations are hazardous to public health.” According to him “many families are severely affected by the high cremation costs along with the added storage fees of the bodies of their loved ones.”

The following is a press release from the Mayor of Chaguanas:

The Mayor of Chaguanas Faaiq Mohammed is joining the call for the removal of the ban on open air cremations.

Today, I join the Opposition Leader and MP for Siparia, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, MP for Chaguanas West Dinesh Rambally and MP for Couva South, Rudranath Indarsingh in calling for the removal of the ban on open air cremations.

At present, the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines do not restrict open-air cremations for Covid19 victims. There has been no scientific proof indicating that open air cremations are hazardous to public health. However, the current government’s policy of closed indoor cremations can in fact increase the risk of infection. The Ministry of Health keeps advising us to follow the science, follow the science however there is no science to support the prohibition of open air cremation.

Many families are severely affected by the high cremation costs along with the added storage fees of the bodies of their loved ones. Especially members of the Hindu community who are unable to put their loved ones to rest according to traditional Hindu practices. According to proper practice of Hindu final rites, the body of a departing soul must be cremated in an open-air pyre.

Families are left mourning for lengthy periods, waiting weeks to claim bodies to proceed with funeral arrangements. This has not only caused a severe financial burden but also a heavy emotional burden on families that are already reeling from the loss of their loved ones.

Many Hindu families are being forced to resort to burials at cemeteries because they cannot afford the cost of the indoor cremation. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone going through this difficult time. The implementation of this ban is discriminatory in nature, senseless, baseless, heartless and cruel to all those families.

I am, today, adding my voice to the several resounding demands for the Government to remove this ban immediately. Have a heart and do the right thing.