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.
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.