Express Editorial : Daily

The spontaneous eruption of protests across the country signals that, for the population, the murder of Andrea Bharatt has crossed a line too far.

In Andrea, none of the rationales used for blaming women for their own murders apply. She wasn’t killed because of a poor choice of partner, she wasn’t killed because she wore a revealing Carnival costume, she wasn’t killed because she took a PH car, she wasn’t killed because she was out at night, she wasn’t killed because she was in bad company. No, Andrea did everything right and still ended up dead. We are out of excuses. Having arrived at this point we must now look the real enemy in the eye and settle for nothing less than real solutions and meaningful change.

The downside in calling for more and tougher laws is that it allows our failing institutions to pass the buck and escape responsibility for their repeated failures. In any case, we know from experience that tougher laws come with no assurance of change. Over the past three decades the Parliament has passed a succession of anti-crime laws, each tougher than the last. And yet, here we are. If the denial of bail alone was a sufficient deterrent there would be no murders since murder is a non-bailable offence. And yet, murders continue on an almost daily basis largely because criminals are confident that they can commit murder and get away with it.

They know they can rely on the protection of a system riddled with enough inadequacies, incompetence and corruption to undermine policing and paralyse the courts. For every suspected criminal who will be locked away without bail there will be many more that will walk away without ever being detected.

Yesterday’s report of another set of bones found in the Aripo Valley near to where Andrea’s body was found, which if confirmed to be human, underscores the weakness of crime detection in this country. If a passing motorist reportedly scavenging for scrap iron had not come upon Andrea’s body there is every chance that she, like so many other victims of murder may never have been found. As it turns out, the discovery of her body has led the police to the remains of two others. Hopefully they will be identified to give closure to their families.

The TTPS’ release of the 70-charge rap sheet of a suspect in Andrea’s kidnap/murder has rightly triggered public fury about a court system that leaves it vulnerable to criminals. However, if as has been reported, many of those charges were dropped due to the failure of the police to attend court, then we must question the functionality of the system that leaves glaring loopholes for criminals to escape. This is not a new problem but it persists because it has not been addressed despite its impact in the society.

The hard fact is that none of the problems made glaring by the Andrea Bharatt case is new. Indeed, Government ministries are packed with multiple reports and ignored recommendations for fixing an antiquated system of law and order. This challenge requires more than the illusory quick-fix of legal plastering.

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Due to a glitch, the wrong Raffique Shah column appeared in yesterday’s Sunday Express. The correct column appears below.

The error is regretted.

IF a brush with death is said to prompt man to reflect more deeply on life, then the Covid-19 pandemic that swooped down on mankind last year, cutting a path of death and destruction such as we had never seen in our lifetime, has also triggered deep thinking on the social contracts that exist among governments and the governed, on how societies are structured to sustain inequality, and on altering such arrangements, replacing them with more equitable alternatives.

EVEN as Trinidad and Tobago joins the world in observing International Women’s Day today it is evident that many women are too busy trying to survive and to stay alive to see the relevance of this day to their lives.

Women’s non-governmental organisations (NGOs) raised the consciousness of women to challenge prevailing myths that spousal abuse, rape and sexual abuse were the fault of women. Feminist NGOs forced public political discourses and attitudinal changes in society’s views on domestic violence and violence against women.

For International Women’s Day, ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) Caribbean calls on individuals to #choosetochallenge gender inequality and gender-based violence

ECLAC Caribbean is championing the call to elevate the voices who #choosetochallenge gender-based violence (GBV) and gender inequality, as well as limiting beliefs and attitudes about women’s roles in the home, workplace, and society.

Nearly a year ago, on March 12, 2020, Trinidad and Tobago recorded its first Covid-19 case, marking the arrival of the pandemic to the sister-island nation. The ensuing lockdown and other restrictions protected the lives of the nation. However, while these measures safeguarded the people from the virus, it also took, and indeed, is still taking a heavy toll on the livelihoods of the people who have had to adjust to the new realities.

All over the world, women lead. They lead peace processes, run businesses, establish hospitals and schools. They are presidents of countries and corporate boards. They head international and grassroots organisations, faith-based groups and sports teams, labour and environmental movements, often while caring for their families and communities.