There was unease last week at the Dominica Infirmary when a rubbish truck from the Roseau City Council, filled with trash, came to collect the coffin of a man, labeled as a pauper, to transport to the public cemetery for burial.
A source close to the incident said this is not the first time that this is happening.
“Well Tuesday was the third time that it happened and it’s painful and hurtful …” the source, who preferred to remain anonymous since she is not allowed to talk to the media, told DNO.
According to the source, when the truck came staff of the infirmary, out of compassion, told the truck driver that the coffin should not be leaving the premises in such a fashion.
She said when the truck driver was questioned on the matter he said that he was not going to dump the rubbish and return for the coffin.
“So I said ‘in other words, you are going to dump two sets of rubbish? Remember is a human being you have in that coffin,'” she said she told the truck driver.
The source said staff members became adamant that the body was not leaving the premises of the infirmary in the dirty garbage truck. “They told the truck driver, ‘So misery before death, misery after death? The body is not leaving there,’” she stated.
She said they were informed by the truck driver that it was not his responsibility to transport dead bodies.
She said the truck driver subsequently left and staff members began a desperate search to get proper transportation for the body, but to no avail. They had to dismiss the Lay Minister, who had come to conduct the burial rites because of the long wait.
The source said the gravediggers, who were waiting for the body, eventually turned up at the infirmary to ask what the problem was since they had been waiting in the cemetery for such a long time.
“So two staff had no choice but to help the grave diggers to put the coffin on a trolley and to drive it to the cemetery,” the source stated.
The trolley is used by the infirmary to transport folded laundry.
The incident has left the source and staff members in shock. “So all you come for the man, clean the truck!” She remarked. “Before they used to come in a nice van, but they sold the van. They say they have two buses, so why can’t they take out the seats and come and take the coffin to the cemetery?”
“It’s painful … we are very disturbed about it …to see the coffin going on the rubbish truck?” she remarked.
According to the source the Roseau City Council has always taken dead bodies from the infirmary to the public cemetery for burial.
DNO tried to contact the Mayor for a comment but was told that he was out of state and his deputy refused to comment on the matter.