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Participants console each other during the candlelight vigil for kidnap and murder victim Andera Bharatt on the Aripo Road, Arima on Thursday. 2/19/21

Jannelle Bernard

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Members of Andrea Bharatt’s maternal family and some Aripo residents walked the streets adjacent to the forested area where her body was found Thursday night with candles which they hope will somehow not only permeate the community’s darkness but also the darkness of man.

The group said it was in honour of Andrea’s life and the lives of others who lost in similar circumstances.

One relative told Guardian Media, “It is not only for Bharatt…it is for all the missing souls that (have) gone without getting their body back.”

Bharrat went missing on January 29 after she left her workplace – the Arima Magistrates’ Court and boarded what she thought was a taxi. Her body was found down a precipice in the Heights of Aripo on February 4.

One man has been charged with her murder and a woman has been charged with receiving stolen items that belonged to Andrea.

Two other suspects died in police custody.

The residents encouraging citizens to not give up on a better Trinidad and Tobago. They said even though things may look bleak, all is not lost and insisted citizens must keep pressing for change.

Reverend Wazir Kadoo, who is also Andrea’s cousin, told Guardian Media “We keep marching and praying because we need justice in our land. Too many times things happen and they go under the carpet. Your aunty, mother, sister, brother, everybody going, where they going? What going on?”

The Aripo residents said their community has been used as a dumping ground for many years, but they never imagined that the victim would be someone considered as one of their own.

“It was shocking to us although we know this not going on now…this going on for years. But, we never thought this would shock Aripo like this. It took a toll on everyone living in the village,” said resident Rafina Watson Martinez.

The residents said they were now scared despite living in the village for all of their lives.

They are welcoming the heightened police presence currently in the area, but they said they will sleep better at nights with a permanent police post.

Andrea’s death led to over 100 vigils across the country, which called for an end to gender-based violence in T&T.