Long delays for funerals and for psychiatric evaluations are causing further grief to shattered families

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Grieving family members and friends are complaining they cannot get closure after the deaths of their loved ones because of the inordinate delays they are facing in having them buried.

Relatives tell REAL News they have been watching weeks stretch into months as they wait for the Pathology Department to conduct autopsies.

Without the post-mortem examination, they cannot obtain the certificate that lists the official cause of the person’s death and paves the way for a funeral to take place.

An agitated woman tells our Newsroom the delay is “ridiculous” and “unfeeling,” and asks, angrily, “What is the family to do? All these weeks, and we can’t plan the funeral, and nobody can give us a date for the autopsy!”

She explains the anguish that families are experiencing, knowing their loved ones are “lying in some freezer for so long,” with no apparent care or concern by the authorities for their “human feelings.”

“I could understand the backlog when we were in the middle of COVID; but what is the long hold-up with the autopsies now?” another frustrated man asks.

He notes that his relative had been ill for some time and under a doctor’s care before passing; therefore, he asks why a post mortem exam is even necessary now.

Given the state of his own health and his rising blood pressure, he says, he can only try hard not to dwell on the delay and his family’s grief.

The woman sums up the families’ feelings by saying, “Nobody cares. Black people’s lives don’t matter in this place. We’re living in a real banana republic!”

Meanwhile, another resident says she is similarly frustrated by the inordinate delays in obtaining psychiatric evaluations that are requested by the courts.

As evidence, she refers to Tuesday’s adjournment of the matter related to the killing of Jane Finch, who was found dead in her Piccadilly home.

A 21-year-old female was discovered in Finch’s house, after the victim had made distress calls to the Police and on FaceBook, reportedly saying that a deranged woman was trying to break into her home.

Since the October 2021 tragedy, the Police and the All Saints Magistrates Court have been awaiting an evaluation from the Government’s psychiatrist to determine whether the suspect is mentally fit to be charged and stand trial in that matter.

After a six-month extension of the time by which the evaluation should have been submitted, the Court was told, on June 21, that it still is not ready.

The complaining resident is asking why the Government has to rely on a single mental-health practitioner to undertake these evaluations.

She notes that at least one other doctor accepts referrals from the hospital, and she is recommending that the Court also avail itself of this doctor’s services in order to resolve legal issues more quickly.

She, too, notes that the delays are unfair to families of the victims, and amount to “justice delayed being justice denied.” REAL NEWS

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