Shelia Sawh-Gowkaran, in this undated photo.

Trinidadians living and seeking refuge in Lauderhill, Florida, have joined in the national call for justice following the murder of Andrea Bharatt.

Shelia Sawh Gowkaran, 66, who founded Joy’s Roti Delight along with her late husband Vishwanath “Joy” Sawh Ramsaroop some 29 years ago, said the slaying of Bharatt has affected many of the Trinidadians residing in Lauderhill, along with a large number of Trinis stranded in that community. 

Speaking with Guardian Media on Thursday, Shelia said the vigil was organized around 3 pm on Wednesday, because people wanted to share in the hurt and outrage that was taking place in Trinidad.

“When I heard the news, I began crying for this child who lost her life in such a horrific way,” Shelia said.  “I was just watching a video about it when you called, and it’s sad; people are saddened over this death.  Our hearts go out to the family. We had to do something for her in Lauderhill, to make our voices heard.” 

Shelia said her business has now become a place for over 40 Trinis who are stranded in Lauderhill.  She supplies them with food, and some even get a place to stay until they can get an exemption to return to T&T.

Happy times – Shelia Sawh-Gowkaran with her late husband, Vishwanath Joy Sawh Ramsaroop, in this undated photo.

Joy’s Roti Delight has become a popular place for Trinis living in Lauderhill since Shelia and Joy opened on Valentine’s Day some 28 years ago.

“We are hearing horror stories about crime.  T&T was one of the best countries in the Caribbean and now it’s the worst,” Sheila said.

Her husband Vishwanath, whose nickname was Joy, died in 2014.  The town of Lauderhill named a street after him in 2015.