Space is running out for burials in Sint Maarten because the public cemetery on the Dutch side is filled to capacity.
Egbert Doran, Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment, and Infrastructure said during a media conference not too long ago that the cemetery no longer has space.
“There is no burial space in the ground and most persons who have family members buried in the ground are encouraged to go on top of that grave if needed,” he said.
“There are just over 420 vaults in the Cul-de-Sac public cemetery that are currently in use with the exception of a few that were created for kids. The government is currently in the process of building a few more but as land is limited and the hillside is extremely steep, the State is limited to the number of vaults it can build,” he said
Doran told the media that in 2022 there were 258 deaths on the island, 241 in 2021, 233 in 2020 and 194 in 2019, saying that the numbers went up in the last few years as the average between 2010 and 2018 was 174.
He is worried that if a solution is not found at least by the end of the year, it could become very troubling.
“An immediate solution is being undertaken where the world around the use of urn vaults for loved ones is. This means persons will be cremated and placed inside a vault, a fraction of the size used by a coffin,” he added
A long-term solution is currently being sought according to Doran who also indicated that his government is also seeking land to accommodate the need for more burial space in Sint Maarten.