Cremation an option for the first time in Cayman Islands

Offering a solution to the long-standing problem of diminishing graveyard space, the first crematorium will open this month in Grand Cayman.

Once considered taboo to some in the Cayman community, cremation can now take place. The Public Health Law was altered in 2008 to pave the way for cremations to take place legally.

Bodden Funeral Services is opening a custom-built crematory at its headquarters on Walkers Road.

Scott Ruby, general manager and senior director at the funeral home, said it currently arranges between 30 and 40 cremations overseas each year for Cayman Islands residents.

He said the firm had made a considerable investment to bring the custom-built facility to Cayman, making cremation an option on the island for the first time.

Sammy Smyth, the British football hero who died in Cayman last month at age 91, could be the first person to be cremated in the territory. His daughter Sheena Conolly said she hoped to have a service in Cayman and then bring his ashes back to his native Northern Ireland for a ceremony in his hometown.

Mr. Ruby said it was difficult to assess the likely demand for cremations in Cayman because the service had not been available until now.

There are approximately 200 deaths on the island each year, with the vast majority buried.

He said cremation offered a more affordable, environmentally friendly option for some, while others prefer cremation for religious reasons.

“A lot of people like the biblical aspect of it; ashes to ashes,” he said.

Cremation is becoming more common in the U.S. and is now more common than burial in the U.K. Mr. Ruby said old traditions are changing, and it is important to give Caymanians the same options as are available elsewhere. He added that some people prefer to be able to take their relatives’ ashes to their home country or to scatter them in a favorite place.

Some people prefer it because it is more environmental, he said.

“We are also running out of graveyard space. West Bay cemetery is full, Bodden Town Cemetery* is full,” Mr. Ruby added.

“It is not something we are pushing; we are just making it available as an option,” he said.

The crematorium will open later this month once the funeral home’s technicians are certified and the facility gets a final certificate of occupancy.

* A new cemetery opened in Bodden Town in 2014 which still has space available.

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