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UWI economist, Dr Roger Hosein, was among the Gasparillo residents who attended the anti-gender-based violence vigil on Tuesday.

Taking a stand as a father, economist and university lecturer, Dr Roger Hosein says the population is fed up and once their psyche is affected it could have multiple ripple effects in the country.

Lighting a candle in Gasparillo during another vigil sparked by the murder of Andrea Bharatt, Hosein said with a gross domestic product of US$25 billion, the level of atrocities in the country was far too high.

“What does it benefit this country to have such a high level per capita GDP and our daughters and our mothers and our sisters cannot go to work and come home free. I speak not as a university lecturer only and as an economist only, but I also speak as a father and this nonsense has to come to an end.”

He said all the oil and gas produced in the country amounted to nothing without a right to life and free movement.

Noting that the high rate of violent crimes had a serious impact on society, he said, “It has affected the psyche of the people and when the psyche of the people becomes affected it will affect their productivity so this has multiple ripple effects on the economy of T&T. We are already a battered economy. Since 2015 economic activity has fallen about 18 per cent, the unemployment rate is on the increase, the debt level is almost 130 billion so we now need to consolidate where we are. We cannot allow crime and brutal crime and crime of this nature to just infiltrate our society.”

Lamenting that enough is enough, he said people have to stand firm not for any political party but each other.

Resident Stacyann Kowlessar said she was now afraid to leave her home without her husband at her side.

“Extending her appreciation to men who respected and protected women, she said, “I would like to take this time to say thank you to all the men who stand with the women and protect us when they can and appeal to those who don’t to be the change that we need in our little island.”

Another resident, Ava Commissiong, appealed to mothers to correct their children when they do wrong.

“Mothers need to make a change, we need to stop being enablers of the wrong thing not because they are our children. The right thing is the right thing and the wrong thing will always be the wrong thing.”

Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes said the demonstrations and vigils for change were also a sign of hope.

She said the country was saying that it is time for law-abiding citizens to be the majority in T&T.