Thursday, April 18, 2024

Barbadians urged to avoid ‘breaking the bank’


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The living are more troubled than the dead – in the funeral business.

Fellow funeral director of the St George’s Home For Funerals, Sydney Jones, agrees. He said problems occurred when people wanted more than they could afford.

“Basically people use funerals to establish status quo. If they see something special at one funeral, they tend to go overboard and want to do it too or even better. Others want the most reasonable prices, but still want everything, which is impossible. Also, I find people are drawn to tradition – if someone from St George dies, the family would want to bury them at St Jude’s, whether they can afford it or not,” he said.

Weekend Nation queries have revealed it is often more expensive to have a funeral at an Anglican church than other venues; a funeral at some Anglican churches could run into the thousands, while cheaper venues such as the public cemeteries, could be half as much.

In addition, costs for private funeral grounds such as Coral Ridge are substantially higher than public cemeteries, although you do get what you pay for; and Coral Ridge is a nicer looking venue which still features virgin soil – areas where no grave has ever been dug.

Jones said he would advise anyone seeking to book a funeral to shop around and exhaust all possibilities in order not to break the bank; avenues such as the National Insurance Scheme funeral grant – although he said this could take some time to access. He also said he did not support cremation over burials.

“People tend to think cremation is cheaper, but where they run into trouble is when they want a funeral with all the trimmings followed by a cremation. But all that does is replace a grave for about $460 with a cremation which can run to $2 700,” he said.

Bryan said cremation was a preference and was gaining popularity, despite the cost. However, he added the rates for cremations had gone up.  His co-managing director Gail Pierce advised the public not to stretch themselves too thin.

“People have to realise they get what they pay for, but you don’t need a $15 000 funeral for it to be nice, which is why packages do not work,” she said.

Jones also said he did not support package deals when it came to funerals, as they tended to make people pay for more than they needed.

Co-managing director of Bryan’s Funeral Home, Neil Bryan, said an average funeral could cost between $8 000 and $12 000, and while it could go lower, it would be no-frills. Even so, he said he was more than willing to work with anyone to keep costs reasonable.

“We work with anyone who may need help. I believe every life has value and everyone should be buried with some form of dignity and we will help where we can. I give my word on that,” he said. (CA)

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