The THA Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development stands ready to assist any woman who is a victim of violence.
The division issued a press release on Friday, the day after the discovery of the body of 23-year-old court clerk Andrea Bharatt was found.
Bharatt disappeared on January 29 after getting into a car in Arima which was later found to be carrying false “H” licence plates. Her body was found in the Heights of Aripo on February 4.
The release said the loss of her precious life was beyond devastating for her family and loved ones.
“We can only imagine the grief of those who were closest to her. Our hearts and thoughts are with her family and loved ones. The entire country had one prayer since she went missing. While we did not get the answer we so desperately wanted, let her death not be in vain. We must stand up to protect our women,” it read.
Secretary of the division Tracy Davidson-Celestine urged the public: if you see something, say something.
“While we can’t know of every instance or moment, if you hear something, know something, see something, reach out to the police, call 211, speak to a friend or a family member. Violence against women has to stop,” she said.
Business cannot go on as usual, she said.
"We must all act to bring an end to violence against women. Men and women, talk to your men and women about violence, seek help for yourself or on behalf of someone you know. That includes help for a perpetrator, if at all possible. We can’t behave as if nothing has happened and this is yesterday’s news. Otherwise, we wait on the next headline of heinous violence on yet another woman.”
She added, "We all have a role to play in protecting our women and it starts in the cradle with bringing up a baby. We are responsible for the foundation on which personal development, growth and mental well-being are built.”
The People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council said it was saddened by the death, as “Andrea had...a full life ahead of her, a future full of potential and opportunity.”
It added that sadly, this storyline has become far too familiar to society.
“Women continue to be at risk simply for living their daily lives, whether at home, on social media, even in public spaces. This has to change; every woman deserves to live in safety without fear or threat of violence or bullying.,” it said.
It added: “Just as we waited this week with collective prayers and hopes for news of Andrea's whereabouts, so we must as a nation endeavour to support meaningful change. Women face uncomfortable environments far too often. Cat calls, whistles, harassment and other forms of unsolicited attention are commonplace. The onus is on us now more than ever, as a people, to transcend the denouncement of violence against women and girls; every man and woman must choose to speak out when we witness violence and abuse or other situations that threaten our most vulnerable people.”
The Tobago Council offered its condolences to the family and loved ones of Bharatt noting that it hopes that the authorities take every necessary step to ensure those responsible are brought swiftly, and effectively, to justice.