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‘There were three funerals that were going on’

A large gathering at a police funeral last Thursday was actually three funerals happening at the same time, Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle said yesterday.

Dozens of people were present at that funeral, which was carried on the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s Facebook page.

During the ceremony, the moderator observed that “we are beyond the numbers that are normally required”.

However, yesterday, Rolle said, “…There were three funerals that were going on side by side and obviously they, people see the police, they love the police and they came over. Naturally, a lot of persons were there.

“And so, again, it is what it is and we just now have to make sure, as far as the police part of it, that we don’t allow it to happen [any]more because we do have a few more of our colleagues who have passed and there are funerals.

“We keep saying to the families what is permitted and it’s up to persons to abide but when you arrive to the cemetery and you meet a large crowd, you’re in the ceremony, do you stop and run the people out?

“That is the difficulty for us. We simply have to ask people to abide.”

The latest emergency orders notes that residents on Chub Cay, Harbour Island, Long Cay, Long Island, Ragged Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Spanish Wells are permitted to hold funeral services in churches or other religious facilities provided that the number of attendees is limited in accordance with physical distancing protocols and other protocols issued by the Bahamas Christian Council and approved by the Ministry of Health.

It also states that residents on those islands are allowed to hold graveside burials with no more than 30 people, including officiants and funeral service workers.

Repasts are limited to 20 people at private homes and facilities on those islands.

However, they are banned on the remaining islands, including on New Providence.

Last week, the Office of the Prime Minister told The Nassau Guardian that the competent authority had not given special approval for the police funeral outside the guidelines of the emergency order, which stipulate that no more than 10 people, excluding the officiant and mortuary workers, should attend a graveyard service on New Providence.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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