Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, right, and Tunapuna Piarco Regional Corporation Chairman Kwasi Robinson speak to family members outside the Caroni Cremation Site yesterday.

Shastri Boodan

Mourners were locked out of the Caroni Cremation site yesterday by the Municipal Police of the Tunapuna Piarco Regional Corporation.

Chairman of the corporation, Kwesi Robinson claimed funeral homes have been allowing more people that is stipulated under the present COVID-19 regulations to be present at the site during cremations.

Robinson said only one funeral was paid for yesterday.

However seven bodies ended up at the site for cremation.

Relatives were eventually allowed to cremate their dead.

Robinson, along with Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein, and other Local Government officials showed up around noon.

Robinson said funeral homes have been carrying out cremations and would notify the corporation a day later.

He said, “The cost for a cremation is $300. On weekend and public holidays the fee is $400. The home has an arrangement with an individual at the TPRC who would collect the monies and pay it. This has to stop. The TPRC would be putting police in place at the Caroni Cremation site to ensure the correct number of persons would be on the site for the funeral. There are supposed to be four cremations per day with five people for each funeral excluding the funeral agency staff. We are an understanding corporation. But we do not want these events to be seen as a super spreader event. What I saw there today I was appalled.”

Robinson said the corporation held discussions with the funeral homes and informed them of the objectives they hope to achieve to curb the spread of the virus. Robinson said he is accessible and in case of an emergency burgesses can reach out to their Local Government representative.

Hosein, who met with relatives of the deceased at the site, gave the assurance to the Hindu community that this would not happen again.

He said the funeral homes must work with the TPRC to ensure that too much people are not present at any sites to risk exposure and the regulations are followed.

Mourners who were ate the site said there were shocked.

One woman said, “This is an emotional time for all of us. How can you tell us not to see our loved ones for the last time.”