It’s been a tough week in Trinidad and Tobago, as citizens have been inundated with news of sexual attacks against its young and within the past two days, the gruesome killings of mother Krystal Primus-Espinoza and teenager Ashanti Riley.
These two murders, in particular, have highlighted the perils girls and women face in this country. It is not a situation that is unique to us though, since globally women have been targets of such heinous acts
Naturally, the murders of Krystal and Ashanti, which come as this country observes 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, have prompted national outrage. Many citizens naturally took to social media to vocalise their disgust with the spate of crimes against children, girls and women this year.
Many have also questioned the depravity of the society’s men, who are the main perpetrators of such acts, asking what may have led them to think about and even committing these types of crimes.
Citizens have also asked what is being done by those who hold the reins of power to stop perpetrators in their tracks.
Earlier this week while speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley described sexual attacks against children as “horrendous.” But the Prime Minister said the crimes were brought to the attention of law enforcement because of the systems in place, which he said were working.
But even if the law enforcement systems are working, this must be done in tandem with the laws of the land and the judiciary also undergoing certain innovations to ensure that when perpetrators are caught, they do not end up right back on the streets to do wreak more havoc.
The recent failure of Anti-Gang Act extension in the House of Representatives; the constant calls by the Commissioner of Police for more drastic laws to treat with gun offenders and the ease with which protection orders against abused women have been defied, all show the blatant disregard for the rule of law in this country by criminals emboldened enough to think they can carry out their nefarious activity with little consequences.
If crimes against children and the attacks against the nation’s women this year do not serve as a loud cry that our laws must be strengthened and crafted to deal with the nature of these transgressions – one wonders what else is left to be said.
This newspaper has highlighted crimes against children this week and save the PM’s comment on CNC3, it provoked not one press release, not one news conference and not even a whimper from Government or Opposition officials, who often respond to the most inconsequential of matters.
Again, we highlight the need to protect our children, girls and women.
It is one thing if a nation fails to protect its young and women.
But it is another if does not even try. So while it’s a phrase that’s often been used, we ask again, how many more must die.