Berbice funeral home mixes up bodies; family buries wrong dead

Relatives of the two dead men at the Funeral Parlour today

The body of a man, who was buried on Tuesday, was today exhumed after it was discovered that the funeral parlour mixed up two bodies.

The discovery was made this morning when relatives of Mohabir Ragasammy, 79, of Reliance, East Canje, went to Persaud Funeral Parlour to prepare his body for cremation.

Initially, they were shown the body of another man at the parlour but recognised that it was not Ragasammy. Further checks revealed that the man’s body was not at the funeral home.

Family members started a frantic search, checking other funeral parlours and even the New Amsterdam Hospital Mortuary.

The man’s daughter, Neeta Mohabir, 52, said that following the passing of her father on Sunday at the New Amsterdam Hospital, the body was taken to the Persaud Funeral Parlour also situated in New Amsterdam.

“They told us that we don’t have to worry, Persaud Funeral Home deal with all COVID cases and they do everything so we would not have to do anything,” she related to this publication.

Dead: Paul Albert Samaroo and Mohabir Ragasammy

She said that they had verified that his body was taken to the funeral home and made all of the necessary arrangements.

“Today [Saturday] is the cremation. Now, when we come to bathe our father and dress him, we cannot find our father. They put somebody else on the table and tell us that it is our father. I tell them that this is not my Dad because this is a strapping person. We get to understand that they give away my father Tuesday,” the woman told this publication in tears.

On Tuesday, another family conducted a funeral service, burning whom they thought was 71-year-old Paul Albert Samaroo of Fort Ordinance Housing Scheme.

Samaroo’s relatives went to the Parlour this morning after the discovery was made and identified that the man’s body was still there.

His 24-year-old son related that his father passed away at a hospital in the city and arrangements were made with Persaud’s Funeral Home. He said he was there when they uplifted the body and on Tuesday when he went to the funeral home for the burial, he was shown a body and objected, saying that his father had a smaller feet and was not so dark in complexion.

According to the young man, he was told that because of the time spent in the cold storage it was customary for bodies to get darker in complexion.

“He convince me telling me that it is my father,” the son stated.

At the funeral, he said a few persons had objections saying that it did not look like Samaroo.

Meanwhile, an official from the funeral home told this publication that the onus in on relatives to identify the body and that was done on Tuesday.

Both families say the bodies were labelled at the time of being given to the funeral home.

Nevertheless, Ragasammy’s family members are concerned that he was buried according to Christian customs when he was a Hindu.

They say it is a violation of his rights.

Following the intervention of the police, permission was given to have the body exhumed, which was done today. Ragasammy was subsequently cremated, while Samaroo is still to be buried.