As Trinidad and Tobago joins the international community in commemorating International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we acknowledge the progress made, but note that our women and girls continue to face threats to their personal safety.
This year’s theme, “UNITE! Activism to End Violence against Women & Girls!” highlights the need for all sectors of society – Government, civil society, NGOs, CBOs and ordinary citizens – to join in taking action to end violence once and for all.
While we each have an important role, it is the responsibility of the Government to craft policy and develop plans and initiatives to tackle this problem. More must be done to ensure our citizens, especially our women and girls, are protected.
It is most unfortunate that under the current administration, violence is pervasive, and little is being done to address this. Crime is out of control, and our citizens continue to live in fear, and cannot get simple tools to protect themselves such as pepper spray. The Pepper Spray legislation was passed over a year ago, yet people are still unable to procure this item, as there are still outstanding issues with the processing of applications for permits.
All citizens deserve to live in an environment of peace and safety. We must step up our efforts to tackle the root causes of violence so that we can bring an end to the scourge.
On International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, let us stand in solidarity with activists advocating for equal rights and in calling for a world free from violence against women and girls.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition