A Plea On Behalf Of Women
  Nerissa Hosein
February 2021

I thought long and hard before writing this article. It is not easy to put words onto paper to portray the pain, the shame and the sadness that I, as a woman and a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago feel today.

On the 29th January 2021 when Andrea Bharatt jumped into a taxi to head home on a normal Friday afternoon, I am sure that there was no thought in her mind that she would never get home. She may have been thinking about what her father and her were going to do that weekend or what they were going to have for dinner. She may have been making a note in her mind to call back that friend who messaged her the day before, and, like the rest of us, she may have been thinking, “TGIF!” But Andrea never got to live out any of those thoughts. Her life was snatched away from her and her body would later be found like a piece of garbage thrown away by monsters that walk among us.

Sadly, Andrea is not the first and, unless drastic action is taken, she may not be the last. Last month Ashanti Riley met the same fate when she took a taxi and headed out to her relatives. She was found five days later, dead and discarded.

Why write this now? Maybe because Andrea’s death has brought about a tipping point in our country that I have never seen before. In the past few days since Andrea was found, thousands have come out to have candlelight vigils, motorcades and peaceful protests to plead with the authorities to protect the women of this country. 

Quite frankly, women are fed up. We are fed up of feeling afraid every time we step out of our home, we are fed up of being told to dress ‘decent’ so nobody will look at us and we are fed up of being told to keep our heads down when we walk. We are doing all of this and still we are being victimized in our own country.


Men are fed up too. They are fed up of worrying every time their mother, wife or child leaves their eyesight, they are fed up of looking at the clock and panicking if their loved one is late and they are angry that women like Andrea and Ashanti were disregarded by their fellow men, with no remorse. 

According to neighbours, friends and relatives, Andrea was a decent, quiet childlike girl. At the young age of twenty-three, she lived with her father and was not a ‘liming’ person or a drinker. She was hardly ever outside but when she did go to the shop in her area, she was always polite and dressed decently. She went from work to home. She was her family’s baby. She did everything right. She travelled with a friend and she chose a car that had an ‘H’ number plate (which we would later learn was fake) and she left work to go to her home. What else could she have done? Absolutely nothing! There was nothing more that Andrea could have done to protect herself. She did her best, but it was not enough. How does a family come to terms with that? How do you come to terms with the fact that your child did everything you told her to do, but monsters still stole her away?

Sadly, she is not the first woman to be brutally murdered or have disappeared in recent times. Shannon Banfield, Ria Sookdeo and Carolyn Katwaroo come to mind. 

This is not a new trend. Women have been victimized and killed for many years, but somehow Andrea caused us to raise our heads and feel outraged a little more than we usually feel. Maybe it is her childlike face, or the innocent videos of her laughing with her father on Facebook. But a nation is in mourning. 

I personally have not felt the same since Andrea was found. From the moment I heard about her, I was praying that they would find her alive. When I heard they had found her body, I felt the raw pain because I was still holding on to hope that she was alive. As a woman you think of what this child had to endure in her last moment, and it haunts you. But did these monsters care? Definitely not! You cannot be a human being and watch a young girl like that and just snuff out her life. That is not human. We have monsters walking among us!

I think about her father and what he must be going through. I am a mother and I would simply go mad if anything happened to my children. It is a pain I would not wish upon anyone. I have often thought about Ria Sookdeo, as she had two young children when she was taken. The pain they must feel every day to know that they may never see their mother again. You cannot help but think of all the families of these victims and mourn with them.

The victims have gone on to a better place and they are at peace, but the families that they leave behind will never be the same. Ashanti’s mother and Andrea’s father will be in pain for the rest of their lives thinking about what their children went through. 

I feel angry and I feel helpless as a woman In Trinidad and Tobago today, but not without hope. The outpouring of the public has given me hope that we are strong and that we as a country can demand that the authorities make changes to the laws that make sure these monsters never walk the streets. It is finally dawning on Trinidad and Tobago that yesterday it was Ashanti, today it is Andrea and tomorrow it could be you or your loved one. We cannot let criminal elements take hold of our women and make them feel so helpless, hurt them, rape them and kill them. Enough is enough! United we stand. In order to get change we have to be willing to raise our heads out of the sand and demand better laws to protect us.

It will not bring back any of these beautiful women whose lives were taken in such gruesome manners, but it will protect the ones to come. My plea is that Andrea, Ashanti and all the others should not have died in vain. 


Images sourced from Bigstock.


By: Nerissa Hosein | FEATURES | February 2021