Skinner Park Morning Walkers release balloons in honour of Andrea Bharatt hours before her funeral started on Friday. (Image: IVAN TOOLSIE)
RADHICA DE SILVA
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It poured for hours on Friday—the rain synonymous with the tears that fell for murdered clerk Andrea Bharatt.

In South Trinidad, scores of businesses remained closed.  At Skinner Park, the early morning joggers donned pink and white as they marched around the Park holding balloons, placards and banners. After a brief prayer session, they released dozens of balloons into the air as a show of solidarity for the Bharatt family.

Andrea lived for 23 years but touched the hearts of the entire nation.

Spokesperson, Mushtaque Mohammed, called on citizens to become agents of change. He said Bharatt’s horrific murder at the hands of monsters must never go in vain.

“Many parents are hurting.  Many parents are in anguish. We cannot bring back Andrea to them. But we are here to bring a message of hope, peace and love. We are asking everyone to make that change and be part of the force of change by being a better citizen. If you are in the police, the judiciary, a teacher, a WASA worker—whoever you may be, just do your job and be a better person and a better citizen. We all have to make this change,” he said.

Mohammed said scores of businesspeople shut their doors to march at the Park in honour of Bharatt.

Meanwhile, along the SS Erin Road, the usual Friday bustle was non-existent. Even though there was traffic in the early morning period, businesses remained closed.

Med Smart Pharmacy remains closed in honour of Andrea Bharatt. (Image: IVAN TOOLSIE)

Among these were MedSmart Pharmacy at Duncan Village, Health Plus Pharmacy and Agro Concepts at Wellington Road, Debe.

“We closed because we have to create awareness to stop all this violence, hate and crime. It’s not just for Andrea but for all those who were violated,” said a MedSmart Pharmacy MedSmart owner Ronnie Girdharrie.

He added: “Closing is our way of coming together to try to heal the grief that many are facing. Today is a horrible day.  The weather is bad and everything in our country seems to be going downhill. We hope to create some kind of impact so the government can understand the seriousness of this—whether it is to change legislation, revising the criminal justice system, equipping the Police Service. Something has to be done.”

Meanwhile, the owner of Agro Concepts, Cintra Sookraj said citizens must rally together to bring about social change.

“That change must come from families and communities. Parents must take charge of their children and accept their responsibilities to provide not only materially, but also emotionally, spiritually and recreationally,” Sookraj said.

She added, “We must go back to the time when we protected each other rather than abuse each other. There must be social intervention programs to help our men deal with stress. We are already facing economic strain because of COVID 19 and high levels of unemployment. Social programs must be made available to our citizens.”

Owner of Health Plus Pharmacy, Dr Kfishna Rampersadsingh, said he too closed his business as a mark of respect for Bharatt, whose innocence and tragic demise will never be forgotten.