On April 19, 2017, the San Pedro Town Council met with the U.S. Embassy, Public Health Inspector and the San Pedro Police Department to discuss a temporary, and eventually permanent construction of a morgue for the island of Ambergris Caye.
The Officer in Charge (OC) of San Pedro, Henry Jemmott, stated that the permanent morgue is scheduled to hold the least eight bodies. The site for the island morgue is already available but certain modifications need to be made before construction begins.
However, since construction is expected to take place within several months, the U.S. Embassy has proposed to donate a 3 x 8 feet long Mortuary Refrigerator to be used at the San Pedro Poly Clinic in the time being. This refrigerator is scheduled to be installed within the next three months.
Representatives of the U.S. Embassy, Georgia Belezaire and Robert Gibson, along with those present at the meeting, visited the Poly Clinic, the cemetery in southern Ambergris Caye (where the morgue is scheduled to be constructed) and the San Pedro Police Department where the bodies are stored at the moment.
Click here to read the rest of the article in the Ambergris Today
Plans to build morgue on Ambergris Caye commence
According to Georgia Belezaire from the U.S Embassy, the first phase of the morgue will include a temporary unit where bodies can be kept before transporting them off the island. “We are looking at a three-body refrigerated room, which will benefit the preservation of evidence,” she said. Belezaire declared that the Embassy is in full support of the project.
Mayor Guerrero indicated that land has been allocated for the morgue to be built near the cemetery south of town. “We’ve been criticised a few times from the diplomatic corps whenever a foreign national passes away on the island, because we do not have the proper installations to preserve the body,” said Guerrero. “At the moment, we assist the police with canvas body bags in which the bodies are then transported to the Belize City.”
Officer in Charge of the Coastal Executive Unit, Henry Jemmott indicated their challenges when it comes to dealing with a body, including taking up to 25 minutes before a body can be transported off the island. “However, when something happens late in the evening, or if the weather is too bad to transport the body, we need to find other alternatives to preserve the body until we can move it,” said Jemmott. In some cases, the body of the victim is chilled with ice bags in order to slow down decomposition and avoid loss of important evidence. With an average of up to four persons dying on the island in a given week, it was agreed that when the morgue is expanded, it should at least have room for eight bodies.
A follow up meeting was scheduled for Friday, May 19th at 9:30AM at the SPTC conference room, to continue discussing the plans for the construction of the morgue.
Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun