Senator the Honourable Donna Cox: At the heart of the matter is the heart of man
On behalf of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, I would like to extend condolences to the family, relatives and friends of Andrea Bharatt and give the assurance that the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, will make available all resources that are at its disposal to ameliorate the circumstances of this tragedy. No parent, no relative, no one should have to endure such a tragedy with respect to their loved ones. We must continue to pray for the family, loved ones and for all others, who fall victim to criminal elements.
There are no sufficient words to express the horror, the pain and the hurt that I feel too, as a woman, a daughter, and a citizen of this great Republic. From all indications, Andrea was not provocatively dressed, she was not alone in a strange area, and she did not utilize an illegal taxi service. In short, none of the usually inane and wholly inappropriate victim blaming justifications can be utilised for her tragedy. The harsh truth is that Andrea was murdered by a person or persons with a sick mind and twisted perceptions about power and female dominance.
A life lost so young and innocently, leaves so many questions and thoughts of what could have been done to save Andrea from such an ordeal. The time has come, indeed, it has long gone, for us as a society to own up to the fact that there are huge deficiencies in the socialization of our males. It takes guts for us to hold up the mirror to them for an acknowledgement that they have not been the best partner, father, son, brother or friend that they could have been. It will take a lot for us and from us, to redefine ourselves and discard the idea of manhood that requires them to have to always compete, win, dominate and control, in order to feel like a “real man.” There is no short cut to this solution, but the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services stands ready to do its part, and calls on all citizens to accept their responsibility for so doing as well.
There are legislative interventions, which would assist the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service tremendously in the fight against crime and as such, I would like to encourage my colleagues on the Opposition bench to put aside any narrow parochial interests at this time and put country first.
There can be no divide, when the lives of our daughters continue to be snuffed out by those with no respect for human life. As the collective grief of this country still weighs heavily in the atmosphere, I urge all of us - legislators and private citizens, the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Judiciary, as well as, the wider citizenry to join hands and hearts in this battle.
The Ministry will provide support to all affected, to assist in coping with this unfortunate circumstance. In these challenging times, let us remember to be each other’s keeper and to be aware of our environment and any strange happenings, which we may observe, and alert the authorities accordingly.
The Book of Jeremiah tells us that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked and questions, who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:19 KJV). We must be reminded, however, that it is only God who can change our hearts because I firmly believe that at the heart of the matter is the heart of man.
The National Family Services Division continues to host free sensitization workshops to address issues such as proper parenting, coping with stress, and issues related to domestic violence and as such, I urge the public, if you or anyone you know, may be in need of its services, to contact the Ministry at 623-2608; Exts. 6701 – 7.
Senator the Honourable Donna Cox,
Minister of Social Development and Family Services
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