Deputy Political Leader United National Congress and MP for Pointe a Pierre, David Lee, is calling on the National Security Minister, Edmund Dillon, to start an investigation into each case of domestic violence-related homicides that has occurred this year. He said the investigation should find out how the system failed and to hold those who had a duty to act and did not, accountable.
In a letter to the editor, he said in 1999, under a UNC administration, laws were enacted to provide protection and safety to victims of domestic violence. “Through those laws victims of domestic violence were given special protection and a duty was placed on police officers to treat with reports of domestic violence in a special manner.”
He pointed out that Section 21 of the Domestic Violence Act read:
“(1) A police officer shall respond to every complaint or report alleging domestic violence whether or not the person making the complaint or the report is the victim.
(2) It shall be the duty of a police officer responding to a domestic violence complaint to complete a domestic violence report which shall form part of a National Domestic Violence Register to be maintained by the Commissioner of Police.”
Lee asked, “How could we have a law that places this type of duty on police officers and we continue to hear in the case of each victim from their families of reports being made and nothing being done?” He said Dillon should also be questioned on the status of the National Domestic Violence Registrar.
A TT Central Registry on Domestic Violence was launched on April 15, 2016 with the purpose of collecting and integrating information relating to any person who is a victim or perpetrator of a Domestic Violence offence.
Lee said, with the eight women and one man who died in domestic disputes this year, there was an urgent need for the Government and the Police Service to take immediate legislative and administrative steps to ensure the protection of our women and girls who are victims of domestic violence.
“As a country we owe it to the memory of Sumatee Persad, Arisa David, Abigall Jones Chapman, Olivia Chapman, Kayla-Marie Solomon-Cain, Margaret Guevarra, Michaela Mason, Anita Bahadur, and Dexter Hospedales to not allow another life to be lost to domestic violence. But while we remember those who have lost their lives to perpetrators of domestic violence we must also spear a thought for those victims of domestic violence who each and every day are sleeping with the enemy! As a nation owe it to them to protect them from further harm.”