THE OFFICE of the Prime Minister said it did not give organisers special permission to host a large funeral procession for a well-known mortician last Saturday.
Over the weekend, videos of the homegoing celebration for the late funeral director, Ted Sweeting, made their rounds on social media after users observed that the people attending the event outnumbered the 20-person limit outlined in the latest amendment of the Emergency Powers Order.
When The Tribune reached out to the Office of the Prime Minister for comment yesterday, a representative said: “OPM did not give special permission for the funeral service. As a reminder, funeral services in New Providence may take place at the graveside only with a maximum of 20 people, not including officiant and mortuary workers, as outlined in the most recent Emergency Powers Order.”
However, a video of Sweeting’s lodge procession and escort, posted by St Agnes Anglican Church on social media, assured viewers that the competent authority had granted them permission to carry out the event.
All attempts to contact the organisation were unsuccessful up to press time.
In one livestream capturing the event, several people could be seen making their way down a street in a mini-Junkanoo rushout, led by lodge members carrying Sweeting’s casket.
As the procession made its way to the grave site, the large group of people assembled together as they played their instruments and danced along to the music. Bystanders could also be seen flocking to the sides of the road to watch and record.
At one point, one man could be heard stating: “This ain’t Minnis country, this our country. We ain’t going to let him tell us how to bury our people, this our country.”
The sizable group continued to play their instruments as they entered the graveyard. When the cemetery ceremony began, the overflow from the crowd could also be observed lingering in the road, where they gathered together to converse.
Those inside the graveyard, however, were advised that the service was being held under the authority of the competent authority—Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis—and were reminded to socially distance themselves and keep their masks on.
It is unclear whether the matter will be investigated or not.
Last week, the Office of the Prime announced relaxed restrictions related to funeral services, weddings and outdoor dining activities.
The statement noted: “Effective immediately, for the islands of New Providence, Abaco, mainland Eleuthera and mainland Exuma funeral services may now have a maximum of 20 people at the graveside only, not including the officiant and mortuary workers.
“...Funeral repasts and wedding receptions remain prohibited on the islands of New Providence, Abaco, mainland Eleuthera and mainland Exuma.”