Belgrove: Expect update next week on mass storage site for covid19 bodies

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Keith Belgrove

By late next week, the country can expect an update on the planned mass storage site for covid19 bodies.

President of the Association of Funeral Professionals of TT (AFPTT) Keith Belgrove made this statement, but did not give more details.

“We are working on it very feverishly and as soon as we are completed, we are going to call a press conference, and you (media) will be invited to it,” Belgrove told Newsday by phone on Friday.

“We will give a full story when we call it, and that should be around late next week.”

AFPTT has been searching for a new site after plans for a site at Beaucarro Road, Freeport, were scrapped over a week ago.

Opposing Freeport residents joined with Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh to protest the initial site in the area.

The Health Ministry had partnered with funeral homes over the storage facility in Freeport to deal with the build-up of the bodies of covid19 victims in morgues.

Belgrove reiterated that funeral homes were not overwhelmed, saying they have the capacity to cremate bodies.

But he said a build-up was triggered because many covid19 victims’ relatives are in quarantine and homes have to wait to hold the funerala, so the bodies must be stored until then.

On December 18, at a media conference, chief medical officer Dr Roshan Parasram first announced plans set up a mass storage site for covid19 bodies.

He added, “It is a necessary step, as the Prime Minister has said, and a step that we have been putting off from the Ministry of Health as long as we could.”

Earlier this week, Newsday asked Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh for an update on the site, but he referred all questions to Belgrove.

“Mr Keith Belgrove spoke to that issue. That is a private-sector issue. If I remember his interview on one of the TV stations last week, he said he is looking for an alternative site. I will continue to liaise with him, ” Deyalsingh said. “The position at our morgues at this time is not critical, in this case. But we are always engaging in contingency planning with the private sector via Mr Belgrove.”