Cayman cemeteries face grave problem

Cayman cemeteries face grave problem

Two Cayman Islands districts face looming problems with cemetery space, with the problem in West Bay district being the most severe and East End looking to close one of its cemeteries next year. 

The issue was brought to light in a report completed earlier this year by the Department of Environmental Health and obtained by the Cayman Compass via a freedom of information request. The review looked at available cemetery space at locations in all Grand Cayman districts at the time the survey was conducted. It did not consider a new cemetery site in Bodden Town district. 

According to the report, the main West Bay district cemetery has effectively been out of space, reaching what is referred to as its “closure year” back in 2012. 

Meanwhile, the North West Point cemetery, also in West Bay district, is not due to close until 2026, but the department noted that only 16 new cemetery vaults are planned to be constructed during that time. A third cemetery, the smaller Boatswain Bay, has space for 167 vaults and will not close until 2052, the report noted. 

Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush has urged the Progressives-led government via a private members’ motion filed in the Legislative Assembly earlier this year to agree to set aside more land in West Bay district for cemetery vaults. 

Mr. Bush said in the motion that an earlier agreement with Dart Realty Cayman Ltd. allowed for the transfer of 20 acres from Dart to government in his district. 

The motion asked that “some of [the property] be used for the development of a new cemetery for the district of West Bay as was the intention when the agreement was signed” once government has taken possession of the property. 

That private members’ motion was amended and passed, according to House records. East End district’s shortage is less pressing, but the 2015 environmental health report did note that one site, Gun Bay cemetery, was expected to close next year. 

The other East End cemetery site still has space for more than 200 vaults and is not expected to close until 2042. 

Other districts 

The problem with limited cemetery space in other Grand Cayman districts is less pressing, according to the environmental health evaluation. 

The lesser populated district of North Side has two available cemeteries, one in Old Man Bay due to close in 2058, and the main cemetery that is not expected to reach its closure year until 2145. 

George Town district has a huge cemetery in Prospect with space for more than 2,800 vaults. It is not expected to close until 2091. 

Bodden Town district, which also had some pending issues with cemetery space, opened a new site near the district police station in September 2014. The site is expected to have between 900 and 1,000 vaults available at the end of its construction. 

West Bay Cemetery has already reached its capacity. - Photo: Taneos Ramsay

West Bay Cemetery has already reached its capacity. – Photo: Taneos Ramsay


  1. I think that the politicians /government needs to take a serious look at the issue that the tradition of cemeteries has been around longtime before they were born, and people should have the right to say what they wish to have done with their own body after death. Government should give me the opportunity, not say what have to be done with my body after death.

  2. Apart from the lack of a crematorium can anyone tell me what the issue with cremation is?

    All my friends and family in the UK have opted for it, cremation is also my choice so why are people so hung up about it?

  3. Mr Williams, I also opted to be cremated, but I think that people should have that option . I don’t think that people are against cremation, but I think that the option should be their own. I also think that the family of the one’s in the cemetery don’t want their loved ones disturbed or moved from their grave.

  4. @ Ron Clair Ebanks

    With due respect that is not the impression I get. In fact there seems to be a clear attitude prevailing that cremation is somehow wrong but at the same time there is (with the obvious exception of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, which forbid it) no apparent logic behind this belief. I can remember the debates on this a few years ago ending up with a clear message that certain people did not want a human crematorium built in the Cayman Islands. Has that situation moved on now?

  5. I for one do not like the idea of spending eternity buried in a hole in the ground rotting away. However that is my personal opinion and I as everyone should respect everyone else’s opinion and I believe everyone has the right to chose what their final arrangements will be.

    It seems a lot of people for religious or scientific reasons believe that the Sole, Life force or Paa, whatever you want to call it leaves the body after death, so why the big deal if there’s nothing left of the person but an empty shell.

    If there’s a market for a crematorium in Cayman then there should be one in Cayman, it has nothing to do with anyone’s religious beliefs, it’s about everyone’s right to chose what happens to their body once this life is over.

    Curious, I never thought of this but are the Cemeteries in Cayman only for Caymanians ?

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