“I hope everyone stay out and stay up and fight for women in this country.”
These were the words of Randolph Bharatt, father of kidnap and murder victim Andrea Bharatt, as he addressed a crowd of hundreds gathered at Eddie Hart Grounds, Tacarigua on the evening of funeral.
Bharatt thanked those who came out and said he was overwhelmed by the numbers of people.
“I’m thankful to see all these people, I never expected to see all this, it is overwhelming. This is history in Trinidad and Tobago. And this is for Trinidad, and the world, this is the beginning.”
He said the government was taking too long to make legislative changes which could protect women and bring perpetrators of crime to justice. He had harsh words for those who kill women.
“All the men who are killing women, they have no children, no mothers who made them?”
Surrounded by his family, an emotional Bharatt walked through the crowd, pausing to talk to people and exchange greetings, many of whom wore pink, his daughter's favourite colour. People hugged him and gave him small gifts and tokens. Others gave him their condolences and called him a hero. Parents brought their children to say hello and take photos with him.
People turned up singly, in groups, as families, adults, children of every creed and race. The mood was sombre, with many holding candles and pink balloons. As more and more people streamed in, they spread over the savannah.
Eventually, they released shades of pink, blue, and white lanterns, with each member of the Bharatt family in tribute to Andrea.
The wind was not strong, and some of the lanterns drifted into the pavilion and the crowd, prompting screams and in some cases a rapid movement away from the danger, while others stamped out the flames or got them floating again.
Although small numbers of police were present, the large crowd, most of whom were wearing masks, were not asked to disperse or hindered in any way.
The lantern lighting ceremony was one of many events which marked Bharatt’s funeral on Friday, including services in Aripo and gatherings at Woodford Square, Port of Spain. Many of the people present at Eddie Hart Grounds joined a motorcade which went to Woodford Square.