There is need to address the attitudes of local youth and the flawed education and criminal justice systems before any long-term change could be seen, said the Rev Dr Benjamin Agard as he implored the public and authorities to keep the memory of Andrea Bharatt alive.
Agard spoke with Newsday before a demonstration in memory of Bharatt outside the Church on the Rock, Lady Young Road, Morvant, on Sunday afternoon. He said he was moved by the unity displayed over the last three weeks in response to Bharatt's kidnapping and murder.
He also encouraged the public not to lose the sense of community gained during the recent tragedy and urged people to lobby for improved education and criminal justice systems.
"I don't want another march or protest, I want more than that. I want to see the school system fixed, I want to see a programme to help school dropouts, I want to see a system in place where we can empower young boys.
"How could you have people in Remand Yard rotting in jail because the system is so slow?
"That bothers me, and all you hear is talk and there is no solution. The justice system has to speed up, because if it continues to be delayed, then people will do more evil."
Agard said while policies and programmes were vital in changing the culture of crime in TT, there was also a need for citizens to individually change their attitudes towards women and family life.
He said women should be more mindful of their surroundings and take the necessary precautions to protect themselves, and there was need for families to teach young men to respect women.
"The problem is not with the women, it's with the men and boys. Our boys are the ones doing the crime. So we have to teach our boys to respect women. I see some boys respecting women, but there's not a lot of it, and that shows how broken our systems of family are."
The church hosted two demonstrations. In one, outside the church, participants from areas including Vegas, Caledonia and Marie Road gathered along the pavement dressed in white, as a sign of solidarity with the Bharatt family.
At the second demonstration, at the Queen's Park Savannah, the names of crime victims were displayed to honour their memories.