The entire nation, from Prime Minister to pavement dweller, has been plunged into deep anguish and sorrow over the awful tragedy that befell Andrea Bharatt, 23, on January 29. Just two months earlier on November 29, Ashanti Riley, 18, suffered a similar fate.

Other victims come readily to mind: pupil Rachael Ramkissoon, 16; bank employee Shannon Banfield, 20; pannist Asami Nagakiya, 30.

I remember the death of a schoolgirl on her way home from lessons in the remote rural community of Flanagin Town, and the disappear­ance of three attractive young ladies in Central. These tragedies occurred within the last decade or so. I distinctly recall their faces, but not their names. And the Sunday Express (February 14) reminded us of Rhada Pixie Lakan, 16, who went missing in 2005 on her way home from school, only to be found decomposed one month later.

I am cursed with a morbid memory, and the name of yet another schoolgirl comes to mind: Savitri Ramgolam, whose corpse was discovered in the canefields of Caroni several decades ago, in the 70s, I believe.

I am also in deep anguish and I have pondered on the cruel fate that befell Andrea, as well as all the victims of rape and cold-blooded murder.

Nature’s first law is survival. Women must fight back by any means necessary.

I recommend that they consider the water gun option. Water guns that fit into the palm of the hand were selling a dime a dozen last Christmas. Instead of water, fill it with bleach. It is a potent weapon and extremely cheap.

A back-up is necessary. A miniature steel cross sharpened at one end can be worn either as a brooch hidden in the hair, or attached to a necklace. My advice to women is simple. As the assailant unzips, seize the cross and aim for the jugular.

Ishmael Angelo

Kernahan Village, Mayaro

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Dear Police Commissioner Griffith,

1. Pathologist Prof Hubert Daisley, in his autopsy report, concluded:

“Injuries to the skull which Andrew S Morris sustained are also fatal. He would have promptly gone into unconsciousness, aspirated and died. He could not have survived for more than 20 minutes with these multiple injuries.”

A double-edged sword.

That is the effect of the Leader of the Opposition calling for Covid-19 vaccines from India, via their Serum Institute of India.

There are benefits to this call, as T&T is on the path to austerity. With revenues barely being able to cover expenditure, including servicing debt, we are genuinely now running on fumes. Import cover at around six months with our US foreign reserves and imminent drawdowns of the HSF—why would we deny ourselves free vaccines?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is an ethnically-biased academic institution of teaching and learning.

For three days every year in the multi-ethnic society, the Faculty of Humanities and Education at The UWI in Trinidad has been organising a symposium on Carnival, but not even a half-day annual seminar on the Amerindian Santa Rosa Festival, Hosay, Phagwa, Divali or Ramleela, although Ramleela was proclaimed by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity in 2005.

The world of “high finance”, especially as practised by ministers of finance, continues to baffle me.

How come borrowing money to service your debts a good thing? Aren’t you going to sink deeper into the quicksand? Doesn’t that increase your debt-servicing requirements? Apparently, that’s what smart ministers of finance do.

On the issue of Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s letter to the Indian prime minister for Covid vaccines, I don’t know what the big fuss is about. The two ministers are making a mountain out of a mole hill.