Council to clear Le Repentir bushes
-overgrown cemetery is haven for thieves By Nigel Williams
Stabroek News
November 6, 2003

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The Mayor and City Council (M&CC) says it will take steps to clear the western half of the Le Repentir cemetery which is filled with tall trees and weeds that cover many graves.

Residents in the area told this newspaper on Tuesday that despite it being a cemetery, vagrants and petty thieves usually preyed on citizens who used a passageway in the cemetery to reach their homes.

Speaking to this newspaper, an official at the M&CC said the condition of the cemetery had been drawn to the council’s attention for some time now. The official noted that the council would soon take steps to clear the bushes. However, according to the official, it was part of the responsibility of citizens to help maintain the cemetery, which he said was a community facility and not just the responsibility of the City Council.

“We have to learn to do little things for ourselves which would make our lives easier,” the official remarked.

Citizens are usually re-quired to pay a fee to use the cemetery.

With respect to the vagrants and thieves attacking citizens, the official told this newspaper that thieves were almost everywhere in Guyana, adding that wherever the condition was conducive tc their activity they would stay.

The official said many persons had reported being robbed while walking in the area. “But those who continue to use that passageway would have to take more precautions.”

“I would advise citizens to avoid using that passageway, especially women and children. The place is very dangerous in the nights.”

Asked whether the Council did regular cleaning of the cemetery, the official said it was part of the City Council’s routine work to maintain the cemetery. However, over the past years no work was done on that area while the eastern side was better maintained.

Stabroek News visited the area and saw several tombs covered with thick weeds. There is also no proper drainage in the area.

There were a few men who solicit work from citizens to build tombs and conduct mud burials. One told this newspaper that he had been working at the cemetery for a number of years and while there he had never seen the council doing any work on that part of the ground.

The man maintained that citizens who used that part of the cemetery had taken it upon themselves several times in the past to clear some of the bush.

“But look how this place get crowded with bush, we cannot do it alone, the council gat to help.”

Stabroek News understands that apart from the council’s input families using the eastern half of the cemetery would usually maintain sections reserved for their relatives.

This, according to the official, was what the council was trying to encourage. He added that from all indications those residents living on the western end had not been doing this and as such the bulk of the work was left for the council.

Meanwhile, the man told this newspaper that along with another mason he had once caught a thief who had robbed a woman. The man said they were always on the alert for such persons.

He noted the lack of street lights along the passageway provided good cover for thieves.