the decision to have loved ones cremated, as compared to buried, has increased drastically over the years. However, since not many crematoriums of standard are available, residents all over Guyana have opted to use “make-shift” cremation sites, often an inconvenience to persons.
This was the case with the residents of Berbice, and the militating reason behind the genesis of Blairmont Crematorium and Memorial Gardens, located at the Blairmont Estate on West Bank Berbice.
This crematorium was operationalized in June of 2013 and has since become the crown jewel for the residents of Berbice to conduct dignified funerals. The site has become very successful and is popularly described as a place which is “available to people of all races and religions without discrimination, as it reflects on a Guyanese Culture.”
Registered as an official association under the laws of Guyana, this publicly funded development project has been under the management of the Blairmont Crematorium & Memorial Garden Society, currently headed by Nowrang Persaud. Persaud is a retired official of the United Nations, former director of Guyana Sugar Corporation and the Demerara Distillers Limited respectively.
Built on one acre of land cleared, filled, fenced and raised to prevent flooding, the crematorium facilitates a beautiful and flourishing garden atmosphere as it serves as a constant reminder to everyone of the connection between life and death. With the intention to provide shade, 40 trees were planted, which have now grown to serve the purpose.
Within the gorgeous scenery sits two funeral pyres situated in front of a pavilion with capacity to seat 200 under shaded accommodation. Attached to this structure are male and female washrooms, a centre that provides refreshments, a prayer room as well as a memorial hall.
The Memorial Hall within this crematorium brings about not only a sense of modernization but a touch of uniqueness since its features allow persons the freedom to display photographs, or other memorabilia of their deceased loved ones, leaving permanent tokens which can be revisited by family and friends at any time, especially on the anniversaries of the departed and even on special occasions.
The Blairmont Crematorium and Memorial Garden was created with financial contributions from the generosity of Guyanese locally and from the diaspora.
Additional plans consist of the development of a spacious parking area, which would allow the Access Road to the Blairmont Estate to be cleared, as it is usually blocked in the event of large funerals. With this would come the need to fence the parking area, to keep out roaming animals, along with a better access bridge and gate.
Possible installations of concrete benches/flooring under the trees are in the works, as well as an extended roofing of the pavilion.
With the generous material and financial support received so far management of the Memorial Garden has succeeded in providing care and comfort for grieving families and friends, including overseas patrons.
The estimated cost to complete the future plans adds up to approximately $1 million.
The publicly funded organisation will accept financial aid from anyone interested in providing a donation towards the completion of this integral project.
After this final round of works are completed the Memorial Garden would be able to operate self-sufficiently from fees collected for use of the facility.
Anyone wishing to visit the site, use the facilities, offer any form of donation can contact the caretaker on site (Amir Baksh at 652-4500) or the Manager (Pamela Harriparshad at 621-5000) or Nowrang Persaud at 615-9802 or via e-mail at [email protected]