CRIMINALS yesterday carried out a shameless act of depravity when they attempted to steal the caskets from two tombs at May Pen Cemetery in Kingston.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Linval Phoenix, who is assigned to the Denham Town Police Station that is a stone’s throw from the cemetery, said that about 7:00 am criminals went to the facility, broke open two tombs and were in the process of removing the caskets but were stopped in their tracks by alert residents.
“The men, we learnt, had reached as far as taking out one of the caskets and had opened it when residents saw what was happening and raised an alarm,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
The senior lawman said that he was not sure why the caskets were being removed, but said that he would not dismiss suggestions from residents that they were meant for the underground multimillion-dollar used caskets trade.
Residents, meanwhile, have expressed disgust at the incident.
“All now mi still in shock. Ah walk mi ah walk on the road early in the morning and when mi look over the cemetery mi see ah man a break away the graves and all draw out one of the caskets from the structure,” one resident related.
The residents said that what was particularly disturbing was that the act was being carried out in broad daylight.
Meanwhile, a distraught Gregory Goldson, whose grandmother is buried in one of the affected tombs, said that the incident has left him both shocked and angry.
“I am really angry about what has happened. How can you have a cemetery, which is one of the largest in the Caribbean, being run in such a way without any form of security?” Goldson asked.
Superintendent at the cemetery John Crawford agreed with the sentiments raised by the concerned family members.
“At the cemetery, there are only seven persons here, — myself and six other individuals who are gravediggers. There is no form of security at the facility and we at the cemetery have neither the manpower nor the resources to address this situation,” Crawford told the Observer.
He said that he has made several complaints to the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation about the state of the cemetery and the need for adequate resources to improve working conditions there, but his calls have fallen on deaf ears.