Archbishop Robert Rivas OP has described as ‘depressing’ and ‘abominable’ the situation at Faux A Chaud, Castries, where homes have been built among tombs. He said he is in favour of the relocation of people who live there.
Such a move, he believes, will instil confidence that where loved ones or they may be buried in the future will not be desecrated in the way that Faux A Chaud has been.
The Archbishop recalled the conversation about the issue had started some years ago. “It got lost somewhere in our, I suppose, priorities and discussions,” he said, according to a Friday, March 29 St Lucia Times article.
Archbishop Rivas remembered that local historian, Robert Devaux, had expressed the wish to be cremated when he died. “He said he did not want anyone coming to build a house over his tomb and I think that was his comment about Faux A Chaud and what is happening there,” Archbishop Rivas said.
He continued, “As a historian he could see where politics goes—the road that politics can travel and sometimes the road along which our people can go if they are not properly educated in the understanding of what is national heritage; what is historical; how to preserve the things we have for our future.”
Archbishop Rivas described the Faux A Chaud cemetery as sacred and historical and a place that needs to be cared for. He lamented that the situation had gotten ‘completely out of hand’.
“People are even renting premises I am told, in that area. How can we deal with our deceased loved ones in that way? It certainly is abominable and needs to change. We need a change—a change of mentality to seek a way forward to deal with that,” he asserted.
The Archbishop said the situation can be dealt with in one of two ways— exhume all the graves and relocate the remains; or remove all the people and put them in new housing somewhere else. But he expressed the view that the awareness of antiquity and historicity would be lost if the remains are exhumed.
“That would take away from all that the cemetery in Faux A Chaud stands for,” he said.