The head of a leading funeral home on Wednesday called for the introduction of a university degree in funeral service and the correction of import duty rates on hearses.
Chief executive officer of Belgroves Group of Companies Keith Belgroves raised these issues during the unveiling ceremony of a street renamed in his honour - Belgroves Lane - next to Belgroves Funeral Home and Crematorium at Coffee Street, San Fernando.
After giving a brief history of the funeral home, their contributions and accomplishments, Belgroves spoke about matters of concern facing the funeral industry.
He said, “I will be failing my profession if I did not take this opportunity to call on the Attorney General and the Minister of Local Government to push the bill to enact regulations for the funeral industry. I dream of the day in my lifetime when funeral directors can grow from being an industry, to truly being a profession.”
He said in order to become professional they need to raise the educational standard of their funeral directors and vital staff. I think it is past time that the University of the West Indies installs a funeral service associate degree programme.”
Belgroves also called on the Comptroller of Customs and Excise to honour her commitment to consider their applications for the correction of the rate of import duty on funeral hearses.
“It is now three months and we have not had any productive response. How can we successfully grow our business under such punitive duty rates of 65.5 per cent? That has led to a high cost to the consumer. Hearses are considered as special purposes goods vehicle. They are not luxury vehicles. We urge you Madam Comptroller, to convene the Classifications Review Committee to consider the many requests for a correction of the import tariff on hearses.”
He was confident that the committee would recommend in their favour. San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello delivered remarks and unveiled the new street name. This is part of the corporation’s ongoing project to rename streets after worthy citizens who have contributed to the development and upliftment of the second city.
- by Sascha Wilson