Moruga women say they are terrified since the kidnapping and murder of Andrea Bharatt and they are demanding better public transportation and protection.
Hundreds of residents from various community and religious groups including the Independent Movement of St Marys/Hindustan, St Mary’s Community Council, St Mary’s Government Primary students and staff, Cowen Hamilton students and staff as well as Moruga Community Council participated in the vigil and march.
Among those in attendance was Moruga MP Michelle Benjamin who expressed solidarity with the women’s call.
Benjamin said the rural area had many women who were forced to work late at nights and who depend on PH taxis to take them home.
“We are very disturbed by what is happening in our country. Some of my constituents have no choice but to travel. They have to use P cars to get home. They have to stay out late at nights. This is why we found it necessary to stand together to call for legislation to be placed for the legalization of pepper spray and to call for the regularisation of PH cars. It is the time because enough is enough,” Benjamin said.
She said she was heartened by the outpouring of solidarity shown by citizens across the country.
“This is showing that the entire country is standing together. If you look, since Andrea’s body was found, throughout the country in all areas, people are coming on board to let their voices be heard,” Benjamin said.
Meanwhile, secretary of the St Mary’s Community Council Ariel Saunders said the fear and anxiety gripping the Moruga women were reflective of what women were experiencing nationally.
“I would like to call for the regularisation of non-lethal weapons so that women can defend and protect themselves,” he said.
“I also want us to have a fully functional public transport service. We want a better collaboration between the Opposition and the Government and the passage of legislation that will be in the interest of the people,” Saunders said.
He also said while the nightly vigils were important and should not stop, people needed to follow the COVID-19 protocols.
“It is not enough to just say that all COVID-19 protocols will be followed. People who are organizing these vigils should set up a Task Force to monitor the vigils which can be very emotional and ensure that people follow the guidelines,” Saunders said.
Just last week, several women in Moruga expressed concerns about the spate of crime. Resident Hesper Ali- Darsoo said outsiders were coming in and executing a series of burglaries and home invasions in the quiet community.
She said her mother was tied up and had to drive with her hands bound to the St Mary’s Police post to get help.
Businessman Rohan Kungebeharrysingh said robbers broke into his home and he called E999 but was never given any assistance.
The residents called for the regularisation of pepper spray and increased police patrols.