Work starts on new Cemetery for San Pedro

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

With the present cemetery in use for decades beginning from the days when San Pedro was just a fishing village, the quickly expanding population has lead to a very congested cemetery with limited to no space for new burials. With this in mind San Pedro authorities have now allocated an area to be designated for a new cemetery. This past week, work commenced on a five acre plot of solid land located some two and a half miles south of San Pedro town, the area where the new San Pedro cemetery will be located.

At the site on Friday May 25th were: Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. Minister of Tourism and Culture; Daniel Guerrero, Mayor of San Pedro, and Councilor Severo Guerrero Jr., councilor responsible for cemeteries. According to Heredia, this is a major accomplishment for both the San Pedro Town Council as well as himself, as the Minister of Tourism, “From the past town council, the idea of finding a new cemetery was born. For many years we have been hearing of the need for a new cemetery. Well, now it is here.”

According t to the Minister, the land was allocated by past councilors Severo Guerrero Sr. and Nano Guerrero. Once the land was allocated, the Minister took the request to Cabinet, which was immediately endorsed and gazetted a few months ago. Last week, permission was granted to have the property surveyed and the Council jumped on this task and made it one of major priority.

The new cemetery is expected to be opened within the next few months, or according to Severo, “before the end of the year”. A portion of the property is being bulldozed and Mayor Danny hopes to have the area fenced as well as properly landscaped.

Councilor Guerrero is presently in the process of creating a master plan on running the Cemetery, “I have to find out and study the different areas of how we can manage this cemetery. What I can say and what I have planned for this cemetery is that we are planning to have underground burials as well as aboveground burial. There will be a section where people can deposit their ashes, as it is done in other areas around the world. We are planning to go modern, however still maintaining some of the traditional ways of burial on the island.

Severo expects to meet some hesitation from the locals but is confident that in time, all will come around as, “It’s something that has to come, the local cemetery is full, maybe we can accommodate a few more people, but with the amount of people living on San Pedro, they cannot be buried in that cemetery. This has been long awaited, this has been overdue, and I will work as fast as I can so that we can have this going as soon as possible.”

As to the cost of acquiring private property for the cemetery, Heredia stated, “The cost will be the government’s responsibility. Once it is acquired then this means that there have already been negotiations with Mr. Bob Witty from Holiday Lands. It hasn’t been a very friendly one but the need is here, and the government has been bold enough to say yes San Pedro needs it and we will make sure that it will happen.  The compensation will be dealt with by GOB and the owners.

The process of opening the new cemetery is scheduled in phases, with the initial phase being creating a plan for the proper burial of individuals and guidelines to follow when burying individuals. This of course will include the landscaping of the area as well as plans for proper maintenance and up-keep of the grounds.   The new cemetery promises not only to have ample space for future generations but will be designed with aesthetics in mind.

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