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Le Repentir Cemetery…councillors call for improved drainage over protection for deadEmotions ran abound as the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown (M&CC) debated the necessity of repairing the fence enclosing the Le Repentir Cemetery in order to prevent the upsurge of criminal activities, dumping of garbage, and vandalism of tombs.Mayor Patricia Chase-Green, at Monday’s Statutory Meeting, informed Councillors of the expected works at the cemetery. However, it was a pill too bitter to swallow for some of the councillors.An overhead view of the Le Repentir CemeteryThe Mayor brought to the attention of the Councillors that checks at the cemetery revealed a number of illegal activities being carried out there. She explained that there were pigs being reared, horses grazing, and a number of old, unused vehicles parked on the premises.“I passed there at ten to twelve last night and saw a car parked in there; I don’t know what they were doing in there.” Chase-Green used this to allude to the need for the M&CC to have proper fencing and gates at the country’s largest cemetery.The City’s administration had proposed to have the fence repaired and the gates fixed so that the cemetery could be closed at 18:00hrs and reopened at 06:00hrs every day, thus eliminating the possibility of harbouring criminals and facilitating vandalism of the tombs.After objections from a number of Councillors, Town Clerk Royston King sought to clarify the nature of the project, reiterating that the works are being done to prevent illegal activities from being carried out at the cemetery. He said it was the administrative responsibility of the M&CC to have the works done.“You can tell a lot about a nation based on the way they treat their dead and infants,” King noted.A passionate Carlyle Goring stood to oppose the matter, as he explained that a fence to the western side of the cemetery was erected some three years ago, and although it was funded by another entity, the Council still had to contribute financially for work to be done on the fence.Not only did the Councillor question the reason for the fence being re-done, but he posed what in his opinion is a more important project. “Drainage in this city is a priority!” he exclaimed.He went on to explain that the rainy season will soon be here and the drainage in the City leaves much to be desired.Councillor Goring’s sentiment was echoed by fellow Councillor Andrea Marks, who explained that the canal in her constituency (Cummings Lodge) is in dire need of a clean -up. Councillor Marks has for months been highlighting the plight of her constituency in relation to the drainage situation.In efforts to placate the demands of the other Councillors, Chase-Green noted that the drainage issue would be looked into, and that works would be done as soon as the Council has the necessary approval.Late last year, the M&CC commenced a $150 million rehabilitation exercise on the Le Repentir Cemetery to improve the overall outlook of the cemetery.The restoration work included the removal of overgrown bushes using an “environmentally friendly chemical” to help with the overgrowth and hanging trees. A contractor is also responsible for clearing and weeding all canals and waterways in the cemetery.It is the first time that the Council has hired a contractor to assist with the upkeep of the cemetery. King, earlier this month, noted that persons hired by the Council would simply weed, leaving the Council with the added responsibility of finding more money to have the cemetery cleaned again.According to King, the new arrangement with the contractor will not only help to secure the integrity of the cemetery, but will also help the Council to save money. The contractor will work along with the Council’s technical team to ensure a robust maintenance programme would be ongoing over a three-month period.The Town Clerk disclosed that the Council last year spent in excess of $80 million, while $60 million was expended the previous year on the cemetery.