TT expats protest for gender justice in NYC

TT expats protest for gender justice outside TT's consulate in New York on Saturday. - Photo courtesy Jeetendra Bachan
TT expats protest for gender justice outside TT's consulate in New York on Saturday. - Photo courtesy Jeetendra Bachan

Approximately 60 people gathered outside the TT consulate in New York City on Saturday to protest violence against women and children here in TT.

Jeetendra Bachan, 48, from Queen's New York and Carla Choice, 48, from New Jersey were planning separate events when they discovered each other. They realised they had the same intentions and hosted a joint protest action with other TT expats and diasporic citizens. Even expats from Guyana and Jamaican joined in the protest.

Bachan told Newsday in a WhatsApp interview on Sunday that he was not surprised to hear the news about Andrea Bharatt's death. Bharatt's body was found in Aripo after a week-long search.

Her death, along with Ashanti Riley's in December, sparked protest action around the country and in the US by TT and Caribbean expats in Florida and Texas.

"It was not shocking, unfortunately. We are starting to get numb against these heinous crimes. A couple of weeks ago we had Ashanti gone. Continuously it is just more and more of the same thing. Andrea was the last straw to break the camel's back. Her case in particular, I got more involved in because of her innocence. She was just a kid. It is just heartbreaking."

Bachan, an IT consultant has been living in the US for 26 years. He was originally from Orange Valley, Couva, and lived on the same street as six-year-old Sean Luke whose body was found in a sugar cane field near his home. For the protest, he carried a poster of Luke.

Choice said the focus of the protest was to get the attention of the change makers in TT to do something.

"It was more or less: enough is enough. I jumped in late. When I saw the footage of them retrieving her (Bharatt's) body, I started to absolutely pay attention. A lot of the people were marching around the savannah. It was a 'ah ha' moment for me."

She wished she could have been in the country to join in the protests, but realised she did not have to be home to make a difference.

"We as citizens need to stand up and continuously fight for the change that we deserve... There is strength in numbers. All of us have a united voice. It is not about black, white or Indian.

"The one thing is for us to find absolute unity to find one voice to accomplish the goal of getting the government to help with this serious issue we are having. It is an absolute quality of life in Trinidad and will not get though until we have some serious measures, laws, rules and serious training."


"TT expats protest for gender justice in NYC"

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