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Can You Bury Someone In A Dirt Grave In Jamaica?

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historic_falmouth_jamaica_william_knibb_graveCan You Bury someone in a dirt grave in Jamaica?

by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer

My grandmother shares quite a bit about when she was a child in the earlier times and how when someone died, for her community at least, everything stopped.

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The main focus was on burying that person. Funeral homes were not nearly as common then as they are now and if they were, they were not very affordable for the average person, so there was no place equipped to keep the body.

This means that the funeral had to be kept in short order. The casket had to be made and the grave dug all in a matter of a day or so. Back then too dirt graves were quite common - a far cry from the elaborate graves that are now made in Jamaica.

The grave would be dug to the required 6 ft, and the soil retained and secured by a makeshift barrier of wood slabs. On the day of the funeral, the casket would be put into the grave and the barrier removed to allow the dirt to cover the casket. After that, stones would be used to form a mound and flowers planted as a reminder that a loved one is buried there.

Can you bury someone in a dirt grave in Jamaica?

Yes, you can. In Jamaica today, dirt graves are not a common sight. However, it is still done in some cases. Some religions, namely Islam, prohibit the erection of large monuments on graves or for the grave to be decorated elaborately.

How much is a burial spot in Jamaica?

The current cost of a burial spot in Jamaica varies with each municipal council but urban burial spots are usually more rural ones. It is even cheaper if you are buried in a family plot.

Should you be burying on a family plot, the process is a lot simpler if the title is in the name of the person purchasing the Municipal Council. If not, then a letter should be written by a Justice of the Peace or the person who owns the land.

How do I reserve a spot at the cemetery?

To reserve a spot at the cemetery in Jamaica, you will have to write a letter requesting permission to do so. A meeting will be had to discuss this by the relevant persons and then you will be notified as to whether or not it was approved.

If it was, you will be asked to pay the burial fee and the spot will be reserved. The balance will have to be paid if you pass and the fee was raised.

Can you bury someone in your backyard in Jamaica?

It is quite common for persons to be buried in the backyard in Jamaica. To do so though, you will first need to request permission from the Municipal Corporation. You will need:

  • Burial Order
  • Payment Certificate from Tax Office (Not Tax Receipt)
  • Proof of Ownership - Title or a letter from a Justice of the Peace certifying ownership or, a letter from the owner or person responsible granting permission for burial to take place on the property, signed by the owner or person responsible and certified by a Justice of the Peace along with a copy of the title.

Once you have these and they are accurate and up to date, you will receive an approval document for you to take to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health will then do a site visit to see if the location chosen is ok. This is to protect against the contamination of underground water sources.

Once they are satisfied with the area and it is approved, you can proceed with the funeral preparation as you wish. However, these days they are reluctant to approve if there is no established burial site on the property and a public cemetery is close by and accessible.

Do you need a death certificate to bury someone in Jamaica?

Yes, you will need it to complete every process of funeral planning. You will need the death certificate from the hospital to have the death registered and get a burial order.

How do I get a burial order in Jamaica?

The burial order is given after the death is registered at the Registrar General Department. A point to note, deaths from natural causes should be registered within 5 days of the person’s passing. The request for a burial order can now be made at the hospital, the RGD offices or using their online platform.

The funeral parlour and pastor will need a copy of the “pink slip” as well. On the day of burial, the pink slip is signed by the pastor and then it should be brought to the RGD for an official death certificate. The so-called 'pink slip' is a prerequisite for obtaining an official death certificate.

Where do you bury people?

In Jamaica, persons are buried in cemeteries or family plots. This is usually a sepulchre as cremation is not widely accepted in Jamaican culture.

A loved one passing is never easy but sometimes having the right information to plan their farewell is quite helpful.

Should you need any other information or clarification, the best places to reach out to are the Municipal corporation and RGD. These offices are usually in the major towns in each parish. For the Municipal Corporation (Parish Council), you will need to go to the one in the parish the person will be buried in. But you can visit any RGD location.

Contact Information

  • Registrar General Department: Phone: (876) 619-1260
  • Municipal Corporation- 1 (876) 952-5500-2

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References & Sources For Can You Bury someone in a dirt grave in Jamaica?

  1. 10 steps to Bury your loved ones in Jamaica (no date) My. Available at: (Accessed: January 27, 2023).
  2. Burial and cemetery fee (no date) Burial and Cemetery Fee | St. James Municipal Corporation. Available at: (Accessed: January 27, 2023).
  3. Luton, D. (2016) Raw Dirt for prince buster's grave, Entertainment | Jamaica Star. Available at: (Accessed: January 27, 2023).

Can You Bury someone in a dirt grave in Jamaica? | Written: January 27, 2023

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