Funeral di­rec­tors want con­sul­ta­tion on in­dus­try reg­u­la­tions

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Brian Walker/Staff Re­porter

THE JA­MAICA As­so­ci­a­tion of Cer­ti­fied Em­balmers and Funeral Di­rec­tors wants to play a role in the de­vel­op­ment of the Pub­lic Health Funeral Es­tab­lish­ment and Mor­tu­ary Op­er­a­tions Reg­u­la­tions that will gov­ern the pro­fes­sion. Pres­i­dent Calvin Lyn said the 22-mem­ber group wel­comed the 2014 draft reg­u­la­tions, but it has re­quested a meet­ing with the Min­istry of Health to dis­cuss ad­di­tional sug­ges­tions.

“We, as the trained peo­ple, have other rec­om­men­da­tions to put for­ward be­cause al­though they would’ve taken [into ac­count best prac­tices] from over­seas, we have not been told if any of us in Ja­maica were asked to be a part of that com­mit­tee that puts the draft to­gether. So, we are say­ing we need an in­put,” said Lyn as he ad­dressed a Gleaner Ed­i­tors’ Fo­rum at the com­pany’s down­town Kingston head of­fice yesterday.

How­ever, Health Min­is­ter Dr Chris Tufton noted that there had been con­sul­ta­tion with funeral di­rec­tors and that the reg­u­la­tions were with the Chief Par­lia-men­tary Coun­sel.

“I think the next level of con­sul­ta­tion would be when the reg­u­la­tions are tabled for Par­lia­men­tary dis­cus­sions. I don’t think that there will be any more con­sul­ta­tion as it re­lates to what is to be agreed on,” Tufton ex­plained.

The group of em­balmers and funeral di­rec­tors was formed last year, and one of its pro­pos­als is that im­ported bod­ies should only be cleared by trained mor­ti­cians.

Tel­bert Roberts, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer, ex­plained, “For ex­am­ple, you can­not ship a body to the [United] States un­less you go through the em­bassy, and you have to go to the em­bassy with all your cre­den­tials to show them and swear and sign ... . ”

Lyn ar­gued that the reg­u­la­tions were ur­gently needed to stem the growth of un­qual­i­fied mor­ti­cians. He es­ti­mated that there were 150 across the is­land, whose op­er­a­tions pose pub­lichealth risks.

Dr Tufton re­sponded, “It is cer­tainly go­ing to es­tab­lish some very ba­sic stan­dards for health and safety ... . Regis­tra­tion has to come only af­ter the re­quire­ments are met to es­tab­lish such a fa­cil­ity. You need to have the right per­son­nel, [who are] qual­i­fied.”

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