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Jan 3, 2013

City Hall says its setting standards for the graveyards

Dion Leslie

The Belize City Council has announced that it will take over from undertakers the construction of graves at public sites such as the Lord Ridge Cemetery and Eternal Gardens. Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie confirms that on December seventeenth, all undertakers and funeral homes were advised that the council would assume many of those responsibilities.


Dion Leslie, Deputy Mayor, Belize City

“A letter was sent out to undertakers and funeral homes basically informing them that starting immediately the City Council will now undertake all the construction of graves both at Lord Ridge Cemetery and at Eternal Gardens at thirteen miles on the George Price Highway. The reason being is that we’ve noticed for the past years that the quality of workmanship on some of the graves that have been done is very poor and we want to ensure that some quality control is there. We’ve seen graves cave in after months, we’ve seen graves collapse after one hard rain and we want to ensure that this doesn’t happen. And the only best way we can do that is that we take it upon ourselves to ensure that these graves are built properly. We are sticking with that word quality control. We’ll have our crew out there; we have a set way how we will build graves that has been approved by the engineer and drafted up. The type of steel we should use, the size of cement blocks, how much cement; various things about the grave that we will abide by to ensure quality control. We are not trying to knock bread out of any undertaker’s mouth.”


Jose Sanchez

“The appearance of the letter is that you are taking jobs from them.”


Dion Leslie

“We are not taking jobs from anyone at all. I don’t want to get into details of what undertakers were doing, but there were a lot of times that they were contracting the same City Council employees to construct some of these graves, which by City Council bylaws is kind of illegal. You can’t contract our employees; they are there for their own reason hired by City Council. So we are looking to stop all of that and we will be the ones building the graves. And we are not charging an excess amount to the undertakers. We’re still leaving that room so that they can still make a profit; they can still charge what they were charging from before. But we will ensure the graves are done properly and built properly and are built to standards.”


Jose Sanchez

“So what can the undertakers do?”


Dion Leslie

“They do the same thing they were doing. Just now that the council will be the only ones ensuring that we will have a set price and the onerous is us to ensure that our employees who are building the graves are building it to the standards that we have set. It is giving us extra work, we are not making any money off of it, but it is just for the mere fact of quality control. There are times when you see graves are built with the wrong size of blocks, steel isn’t used in some graves, the walls for the tombs are not plastered. And you have all these things that contribute to the smell emanating from the graves; collapsing of the graves. These things are disrespectful to our loved ones who we try to put to rest and peace. So we want to bypass that and ensure that the graves are built properly and that they can be there for many years to come.”


Jose Sanchez

“If any of these undertakers should resume to do the task that the City Council is undertaking, will there be penalties?”


Dion Leslie

“We will deal with them as prescribed by the law of course. It is in the city council act. We have notified them and we will stop them immediately. We are not trying to take food out of anyone’s mouth—I don’t want any of the undertakers to feel so—we are just trying to ensure that quality control is there for the graves.”


The change took effect on January first. 

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5 Responses for “City Hall says its setting standards for the graveyards”

  1. Storm says:

    If these statements are true, then it sounds like CitCo has let the undertaking and gravedigging activities get wildly out of control. Who is responsible, and why is it a crisis today?

    I don’t believe government should compete with private businesses in any field, but it can oversee to set standards that must be followed, and inspect the work.

    Does CitCo think EVERYONE must be a public employee?

  2. me says:

    Suddenly City Council cares about my late relatives and friends graves’ appearance?

    Dion Leslie should be ashamed to be the mouth piece of this project and talking about illegal activities of persons who previously buried our dead.
    Dion leslie was a part of the Zenaida Moya administration that, in 8 years, fixed one lone street, Albert st…and still had audacity to demand a raise of pay! Where was he back then to call out about illegal actions? For shame!

  3. Al says:

    The government have so much more important things that benefit the living that needs attention. What they should do is set the standards and inspect the work that the undertakers do and fine them if they fail to follow the standards. Much focus is needed on developing procedures fo the immigration office and all the other government offices in which there were illegal activity, but I guess this is another way to get more money that can be taken.
    I would like to see a three year plan or any plan that this government have established. All I see is a reaction each time there is a problem. The failure of this government to plan is very evident in how the country is on a path of failure in every aspect of government, except in the lining of pockets.

  4. Belizean says:

    I perfectly agree.

  5. Bear says:

    Well said, Al.

  6. unhappy says:

    I agree with you 100 % Al; So TRUE!

  7. dig deep people says:

    who is selling steel and cement, who got the contract for cementing Northern highway, Dion has to answer.

  8. Same O says:

    Sad, now we have to worry who is selling the steel, and cement to the city council so some other crony make his profit. Also if the workers were already doing the same job by other undertaker you would not think it was being built the correct way.
    If he claims they were poorly constructed then what proof it will be done correctly.
    sorry fool di talk but no fool di listen.

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