Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Featured, Miscellaneous, People & Places » The dead will sleep; if undertakers and City hall agree
Jan 4, 2013

The dead will sleep; if undertakers and City hall agree

The City Council’s decision to assume some burial services effective January first is not resting well with undertakers or families who need to bury their loved ones. The new regulation by the City Council was put to a test today when Coye Funeral Services, the biggest undertaker in the City, went to the Lord Ridge Cemetery to prepare the burial site of James Staine and was stopped by City Hall. It got testy for Michelle Swasey who says she will bury her son at City Hall, if it isn’t resolved. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

 

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The grave site of Leslie Staine, who died about sixteen years ago, is the site of a dispute between the city and one of its residents, Michelle Swasey. Swasey wants to bury her son James who lost his life in a murder and suicide incident on December thirtieth in the same plot, but lack of understanding or communication is threatening the deadline for Saturday’s funeral.

 

Michelle Swasey

Michelle Swasey, Mother of James Staine (Deceased)

“The council noh tell me nothing. I went there Wednesday and I paid twenty-five dollars to research the spot that we want to use because the spot that we are using, my husband was buried there sixteen years ago. I went there this morning and they charged me a hundred and fifty dollars. They never tell me I have to give them nothing because dah dehn wah cement or do nothing. I paid my hundred and fifty dollars and that was it. I went to Mr. Coye and I finished paid him this morning to start the job and so that we can have this grave ready for my son for tomorrow’s burial because the service is at two at Queen Street Baptist. And I will not delay it.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“So what is the problem?”

 

Michelle Swasey

“I still noh know. I noh know nothing as yet because City Council no tell me nothing this morning so I noh know.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“So why are you upset?”

 

Michelle Swasey

“I am upset because Mr. Coye secretary called me and tell me that City Council stopped them from continue doing the tomb.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“You are aware that the City Hall has instructed Mr. Coye and all other undertakers that they will be carrying out the work in this cemetery, the public cemetery?”

 

Michelle Swasey

“Well I noh watch TV good while, but if they mi know about it, why they neva tell that this morning when I went to City Council to pay.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Well I think it was Mister Coye who would need to tell you that.”

 

Michelle Swasey

“No, I went to City Council first to pay. So they should have told me that. And if they had told me that then I could have give them the money cause I had the money.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“So wouldn’t you say then it is both parties who didn’t inform you of what was happening/”

 

Michelle Swasey

“I blame City Council. Mister Coye did mention I think concerning it, so that’s why I went to City Council because usually dah Mr. Coye who woulda come and pay for everything. That’s why I went to City Council.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“I called the councilor responsible for graves and he said that your plot will be ready for the service tomorrow. So I am still trying to understand where the issue lies other than both parties didn’t inform you.”

 

Michelle Swasey

“Well you see the officers out there and they stopped the workman from continuing to work. So if it will be ready, why stop them?”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Because the City Hall says that according to their statutes and hey said as of January first, according to the letter I received given to Mr. Coye and other undertakers, they will be doing the work at the cemetery.”

 

Michelle Swasey

“Well then okay, if this wah ready then why stop them.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Because City hall is doing the work on the public cemeteries.”

 

Michelle Swasey

“But then Mr. Coye done get paid to do it already.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“It is a public property; that’s what they would say.”

 

Michelle Swasey

“I noh care.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“But you do understand it is public property, not Mr. Coye’s property?”

 

Michelle Swasey

“It doesn’t matter for the fact remains, I want him to continue do it. I don’t want City Council to do it. I paid Mr. Coye already to do it. I want a good job, I don’t want a sloppy job.”

 

Both Miss Swasey and the council are at odds over a concept they are both fighting for, quality. On January third, Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie indicated that they don’t want sloppy work at public cemeteries.

 

Dion Leslie

Dion Leslie, Deputy Mayor, Belize City [File: January 3rd, 2013]

“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 letter you received on December seventeenth from the City Council, what did it say?”

 

David Coye, Proprietor, Coye Funeral Home

“It said that we no longer do service in the cemetery again: building graves, whatever, whatever.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“It appears that you haven’t quite complied with it. What is the issue today?”

 

David Coye

David Coye

“I complied because I tell Miss Swasey, City Council noh allow we fi build tomb again. So she fi go dah City Council and pay dehn. Dehn handcuff ahn and forced her to use City Council. She gone this morning fi gone pay them. Ih pay fi the cost to use the grave again which normally is one hundred dollars. dehn end up the charge ahn one hundred and fifty dollars—the extra fifty; I don’t know for what. And then the lady at the office seems to tell her that she can’t take her money because upstairs never tell her if it gone through or not or if she should accept the money. So they turned down her payment. “

 

Jose Sanchez

“How long does it normally take to make a payment for grave because this funeral is tomorrow? Is it normally that you go the day before?”

 

David Coye

“Well in the past sometimes the office woulda bend with we because something this urgent, I would explain to them that we can’t get a certificate because wah autopsy is done and after we wah bring it in. And they would give we permission to go ahead. My business dah wah legit, so you don’t have to worry about certificate or so. But anyways, she get the certificate yesterday. It was too late yesterday to pay so she gone this morning, but she was turned down at the office. So she come to me two hours ago and this thing dah tomorrow.”

 

This particular case has unearthed a problem that undertakers and funeral homes have not yet settled with City Hall. But people will die, and the dead must rest, no matter who buries them.

 

Michelle Swasey

“I just want make sure that this ready fi tomorrow because if eh no ready, then I mussi gwine goh bury ah da either City hall or dah the mayor place.”

 

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

 

Coye says that he now refers customers to City Hall before he provides his service. We note that late this evening Coye was allowed to proceed with the job.

Be Sociable, Share!


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

5 Responses for “The dead will sleep; if undertakers and City hall agree”

  1. Lucas says:

    Me think City hall greedy fa monie. If quality is the issue, which I think is a good idea, then why not establish certain guide lines to which the undertaker must adhere. For example, the undertaker submit a tomb building plan which then city hall approves for a fee and so, the undertaker and city hall make money. But no, city hall wants all. It reminds me of a long ago story I read in my school reading book. There was a dog with a bone in his mouth crossing the river. Suddenly the dog sees another dog with a bone. Now; the dog wants the other bone and without hessitation, not realizing it was his own shadow, launches an attack. In the process the bone fell off his mouth into the river plus, he got an unwanted bath. City Hall business is managing the City not to provide funeral service. Tell me the story of the Dog and the Bone.

  2. not again says:

    What a stoburn woman!!!! Now I see where the son got it from. The law is the law. The city cant even get rid of there own garbage will they have dead people all over? Thats going to be very interesting to see. Lets see how far they go.

  3. Marie says:

    Will Leslie now grab this business and sell City Council blocks because his block business is doing bad?

  4. Storm says:

    “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.” That paraphrases someone I don’t recall at the moment, but it fits Mayor Bradley and CitCo.

    They seem to make new policies and big decisions with NO PUBLIC HEARINGS at all. Whether they are good decisions or bad is not even the point, the process is tyrannical. And more than half the time they look foolish at best. This is one of those times.

  5. Al says:

    Me smell a rat. If Leslie have a block I bet that his company will benefit from this new deal. I would say looks like there is a conflict of interest going on here.

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*