FEMINIST social justice organisation Caiso: Sex and Gender Justice, is calling on Government to declare a national emergency on gender-based violence and immediately act on demands put forward by civil society organisations. Chief among these demands is the transformation of the public transportation system.
One of organisation’s directors Angelique Nixon in e-mailed responses, said it stands in solidarity with all community action and protests across the country as all of TT mourns and grapples with yet another femicide.
Nixon repeated demands made by a collection of civil society groups and delivered to the Prime Minister on February 28, with 1,730 signatures.
The demands were updated in the wake of the murders of Ashanti Riley and Andrea Bharatt. The group is asking for immediate change to the public transportation system; increased effectiveness, accountability and transparency of the State; ensuring sufficient financial and organisational support and resources; the establishment of a social fund; the creation of a multi-stakeholder co-ordination mechanism that includes civil society, academics and ministries, working together to end gender-based violence and investing in social reformation programmes to facilitate cultural change.
She said while the organisation acknowledges the work completed on the Domestic Violence Act amendments and appreciates “that this is a vital step in addressing the national crisis of gender-based violence” the crisis remained with ever present urgency, with Riley and Bharatt being killed after taking public taxis in the past two months.
“We call upon the government to act now - on the first demand: to transform the public transportation system and create an ‘urgent response and system of safety’ for women and girls,” Nixon said.
She added that TT needed an entire transformation of its systems - from education to public transportation to the courts and police - that will “root out harmful sexist behaviours that give rise to gender-based violence.” Leadership and resources were needed to create these changes, she said.