Living off the dead - Funeral vendors upset mourners

October 06, 2017

Many hustlers and higglers see funerals and other events surrounding death as an opportunity to earn some cash, however, some persons want vendors to desist from gathering at their homes and the church gate.

Danieka Thompson, who buried her grandmother in August, said vendors who turn up at funerals have no respect for the families of the deceased.

"Dem come a di grave digging, the nine-night and the funeral ... and a no one or two a dem. Dem no have no conscience, Dem just want mek money offa di dead," she said.

"Yu shoulda see the amount a dem weh turn up. It come like a dance a keep ... Dem a sell all sought of sup'm. All pon di nine-night, a bare things dem gwaan wid. Them line off the gate wid all music ... while the bands a play inna di yard, dem a play music," she added.

While her family members were upset, Thompson said they opted not to ask the vendors to stop selling and playing music in order to avoid a confrontation.

"A did one likkle sound still ... we neva ask dem fi turn it off 'cause we couldn't tek di excitement 'cause a mourn wi did a mourn, but me mada di vex. She couldn't stop talk bout it," she said.

Renowned minister of religion, Reverend Herro Blair Jr says that he has noticed the trend of some vendors gathering on church premises or the outskirts while there is a funeral.

"I see it happening, but you really can't just be going on to property and start to sell. Although it is a public funeral, the church is private property," he reasoned. "People come in and they sell cigarette and they sell beer and they do all kinds of things on the church property, and I don't think that is a good thing."

Another pastor, Renardo White, the vice-president of the Jamaica Evangelistic Association, said that from time to time, persons will sell on his church premises, but he doesn't have a problem with it.

"If a person comes and sets up there, all we want to know is that they pick up their stuff and don't leave the place dirty," he said.

"People just know say a funeral and is an opportunity fi mek a money ... . It's their opportunity to capitalise on a crowd, and to be honest, maybe I should develop a protocol to guide it, but I've never found it necessary."

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