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May 22, 2013

Grave concerns between David Coye and City Hall

In January, the Belize City Council made the very unpopular decision to take over the provision of all cemetery services, including the construction of graves, vaults and tombstones. That’s traditionally a job done by private undertakers, but the Council argued its case by claiming that they were forced to step in after complaints about the quality of the work done by undertakers. Incensed at what added up to a serious loss of revenue, undertaker David Coye took the Council to Court and won, with the court issuing an order proclaiming that undertakers were now free to, “provide funeral services at the Lord Ridge and Eternal Garden Cemeteries,” It was a messy, unpleasant issue, but after the order Mayor Darrell Bradley admitted that it was wrong to take over services the way the Council did. So all’s well that ends well, right? Apparently not! Mike Rudon has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

At the end of April a court order restored the rights of private undertakers to provide cemetery services, and being an order of the court, the ruling was effective immediately. Mayor Darrell Bradley confirmed today that as per the order of the Court, undertakers are now back in action.


Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Mayor, Belize City

“My understanding is that the undertakers have already been allowed access. What we have done through consultations and sudo consultations because I still have to get a report as it relates to where we are with that. But essentially what we’ve done is that we’ve just sent out a list of guidelines in terms of ensuring that the proper standards are in place for the construction of tombs. And many of the undertakers who are involved in the building of tombs had express their interests in cooperating with the development of their plans and guidelines for the benefit of the customers and the benefit of the city. My understand is that at this present moment, undertakers are being allowed to go back because we do have that court order that was issued as a settlement.”


And just as he was after the court order, Bradley was contrite, admitting that the Council was wrong to box out the undertakers.


Darrell Bradley

“The first course that we did was to block them out and that was not the best course. We should have dialogued with them to come up with some sort of way forward that involves them continuing their business because it is not our intention to stop people from making a living. We are talking about the open for business city campaign. We are taking about zoning the city for commercial purposes. One of the things with CARILED is building the capacity of the municipality to encourage local economic development. So it is not our policy to stop business, but we want to simply be facilitative and to ensure that there are proper standards. We have put these things in place; it is a two page document which sets out guidelines that we would look for.”


David Coye

So that’s the end of that, right? Well not exactly. Today undertaker David Coye told us that he has gotten no such notification from the Council and he is still not allowed to provide services at the Lord Ridge Cemetery.


David Coye, Coye’s Funeral Home

“I thought I was going to wrote a letter stating that we could go back and work in the cemetery. I was told they were going to draft up some business code, but I haven’t gotten anything. I haven’t hold I’m doing this business for over thirty years and I have no problem with billing of grades or two. So I don’t see what the new building code will do.”


In fact, as recent as just a few days ago, Coye was contracted for a job, and was told by the Council that he could not do it.


David Coye

“We had Oneida Pallotti for last week Friday. Miss Salvidvar told us but we still can’t do work in the symmetry. We were forces again to let the city council do the service. The pallottines were made because they weren’t satisfied with what they got.”


Mike Rudon

“I don’t understand because I mean the court ruled that you and the other undertaker should be able to work immediately.”


David Coye

“I thought it was going to be better like I see. But it is contempt of court by the mayor.  It all falls onth e mayor because people below him should either keep him formed or he should keep them informed. But it is the same old way for work where we are boxed out. My next move is to open up a different lawsuit. If things don’t go my way by Friday. I will open another one and speak to my attorney to see if it can be against the City Council or against the Mayor.”


And Coye’s hesitation to sue the Council, he told us, is because even if he wins, it will be taxpayers’ money used to compensate him.


Coye also told us today that in all his years in business he knows of no circumstance where the City Council has ever had to repair work done by a private undertaker. There are about nine of them operating in Belize.

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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.

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3 Responses for “Grave concerns between David Coye and City Hall”

  1. belizean says:


  2. Carlos says:

    Mr. Coye has and continues to do a marvelous job, kudos to him and his company.

  3. Bear says:

    Bradley is a lying megalomaniac. He thinks he’s King of the City. He’s lucky I’m not the judge he is disobeying, or he would definitely be in jail to teach him some humility and proper respect for the law.

    Let private business operate, it is always better than having government workers who are never accountable do anything.

    If they want basic standards, that’s fine, if they are figured out by a professional — but Citco doesn’t even have a licensed engineer on hand for streets and bridges, let alone graves.

    THERE WAS NO PROBLEM BEFORE CITCO GOT INVOLVED. To me the solution to the problem is obvious — get Citco UNINVOLVED.

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