Little Jim the gravedigger

August 29, 2017
Roy Clarke

At age 15, Roy Gerald Clarke, also called 'Little Jim', began his apprenticeship stint to learn the trade of masonry. According to him, at the time, he was introduced to grave digging and, since then, has made a lucrative career from it.

"I have been digging graves from when it was normal to just dig the graves six feet deep and cover up the body with dirt," Little Jim said.

By his count he has reached 1,343 graves throughout all parishes in western Jamaica. According to him, he started out digging graves for people who were kept at hospital morgues. He now has grave-digging contracts with the three funeral homes which are in Trelawny.

 

Features of grave-digging

 

Little Jim does not only dig the holes, he makes the graves as well.

"I give the vaults and sepulchres styles based on the requests of relatives. I have built all kinds, even for the 'burn body ones'," he said.

One of the main features of grave-digging is the consumption of rum. He was introduced early and has never looked back.

"Sometimes I go to the funeral services to get a touch of the holy Spirit, but I always have my spirit inside of me," he said after a coarse laugh.

Little Jim said the most outstanding vaults he has constructed are they are hard to find because the cemetery where they are located has been allowed to be overgrown by vegetations.

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