Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he won’t mind being buried in a wicker basket or breadfruit wood coffin in protest against the increasing price of funerals in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. 

“Because funerals here in this country are getting too expensive. You give me an opportunity to talk about this.  I don’t mind what the funeral people want to say about this and they say, ‘Ralph, your time will come just now’,” he told a press conference last Tuesday, while responding to a question about the differences between state and official funerals. 

“I have given a task to someone to find out how much these wicker baskets … would cost. You know the sturdy wicker baskets or even stronger thing and you put a good base, to see the cost of it and if I can buy one and I put it aside to bury in,” the prime minister said. 

“I want, even in death, to rebel against this ridiculous — 

“… I don’t like to see money waste. And there are a lot of these funerals, people waste too much money. And the funeral parlours are just adding additional things for more and more money. 

“… so you bury somebody, yo’ end in debt; serious debt.”

The prime minister said that the monies disbursed by the National Insurance Services and Bunpan (a friendly society) should be properly able to bury someone with ease.

“And if the wicker basket thing ain’t wukking properly, I have — unfortunately you don’t have as much breadfruit board as we used to have long ago. Because I wouldn’t mind get buried in a breadfruit board box. I wouldn’t want them to cut down a breadfruit tree just to get the lumber to bury me because people want breadfruit to eat. … and you drape it with a flag. 

“That’s how we used to bury people in breadfruit board and cedar. And you die in the morning, by the afternoon you getting buried because they get the carpenter or carpenters in the villages, they come and make the box, you have a bottle ah strong rum and you have some boileen or you have some pelau and they make the box.”

“And yo cool, yo put that down in the hole,” he said, noting that according to Christian theology, by then the spirit has gone and only the body remains. 

“You think they putting you in a nice box going down there, somehow it helps you with Saint Peter? Absolutely not!”

Gonsalves also spoke out against the practice, which has developed over the last 25 years, of having a feast after funeral, which he said has been adopted from the Untied States. 

“Where this thing come from?” he said, adding that what he knows of is Nine- or Forty-night observation, where villagers would get together, sing hymns and have cocoa tea and some drinks, and eat some food and talk about the life of the deceased. 

“Of course, there is a lot of hypocrisy at the 40 nights because you don’t speak anything bad in the village about the dead … But at least, it is part of the tradition, but, this American thing now, I don’t know where it come from,” he said.

It was suggested that this is all part of globalisation.

The prime minister said, “Yes, there is globalisation, our localisation must resist unwanted globalisation.”

The prime minister said his government does not put a cap on how much it spends on a state funeral. 

17 replies on “PM won’t mind wicker basket or breadfruit wood coffin”

  1. I agree with the Comrade wholeheartedly. Don’t cut down ah breadfruit tree to bury me please. I ask that they save the plywood that made the shipping crate from Florida. I had asked if they would ship a crate made like a coffin and they said no to that but they would ship it if I made it rectangular like a casket. My other option is burial at sea off Baliceaux. Boat ride with unlimited “SUNSET”

  2. Its good he is thinking about death, has he got any idea when he will leave us. It will nice to know the answer to that.

    1. Jolly Green you want him to die quickly. That is not a joke, and it is not nice. Would you like someone to hasten your death? Your comment is ad hominen. Address the message and not the messenger!

    2. Rawlston Pompey says:

      PREPARING TO SING ‘JG?’

      What would you like to sing?

      No ‘dead hymn’ though.

      Perhaps, ‘…Now The Day Is Over?

      Then you may have to sing for yourself ‘…Night is drawing nigh.’

      Another song may be, ‘…He was a ‘Jolly’ good fellow.’

  3. Jolly you always talk crap, a person does have a clue most of the time when he or she will be departing. Let me turn around the question, can you tell as when you will be departing to the other side? If you have no answer, how do you expect the comrade to know. You always use your bottom for to think.

  4. The material that is used to make coffins and caskets in SVG is Mdf. Very cheap material. It the funeral homes that inflate the price.when MDF is properly finish it looks expensive.

  5. I agree with the comrade on this one, Highway robbery it is. And indeed get rid of this after party and if I may add, this street procession that prohibits hard working folks from making it home at the end of the day, that is so primitive.

  6. Ricardo Francis says:

    These comments are a diversion of other pressing issues known, unknown, directly and indirectly that are currently affecting the People of St. Vincent and the Grenadines(SVG). Ralph, the Pharaoh leader is famous for these comments.

    For the record, I am not by any means suggesting that there are not known issues concerning the funeral home business in SVG.

    […]

    Ralph, when the good and great Lord and the great and good people of St, Vincent and the Grenadines give me their confidence, to govern SVG, I shall forensically audit all your years in government, from top to bottom and bottom to top.

    I am certain, that you shall have a great deal of explaining to do.

    I shall not and shall never waiver and or surrender my views and believes.

    I am very fearless and courage.

    Ralph, remember every long rope has an end.

    My grandmother must be rolling in her grave.

    I am very fearless and courage.

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the making

  7. But he is a billionaire, he is just being mean to the undertakers.

    If he was to die now can you imagine the problem any undertaker would have handling such a huge barrel shaped lump. They would have to cut lumps off and use a packing case to stuff the bits into. Perhaps they should fillet him. Or cut him down the middle and use two caskets.

    Annis Creese, while you might think it not nice, many would celebrate when you consider the treatment some have endured. Why should anyone be nice in death when he was less than nice to them during life.

  8. “Hell is empty and all the devils are here”. To quote William Shakespeare! However Robert Mugabe right now is finding out that it aren’t so! And that was wishful thinking on William Shakespeare’s part.

    Therefore, as this one once dictator is laid in his place, sober heads is contemplating the way of all flesh. That all men eventually dies! Yet the pride of life, arrogance and the “will for power” over other individuals, is always never ending.

    “Robert Mugabe’s widow Grace walks behind his coffin in a black veil as the former Zimbabwe president is buried in a private ceremony at his rural home after long-running dispute between his family and the government over his final resting place.” Resting Place? In Hell there will be no rest for the wicked!
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7514931/Robert-Mugabe-buried-today-private-ceremony-rural-home.html

    “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones”. So says
    William Shakespeare.

  9. This is a typical Gonsalves look the other way statement to take our minds off of something more important that is happening.

  10. Pompey, even one of these two will suffice

    The Best Day Ever – SpongeBob SquarePants

    Highway to Hell – AC/DC

  11. How about the casket his mother was buried in, I took photos of it with Gonsalves running his hands over it.

    I will be writing a story shortly with the photo’s entitled Good Bye Mummy.

    I have never taken photo’s of the grieving before, but must admit I somewhat enjoyed it.

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