Funeral of ‘Comrade Sharsa’ in Barataria on Thursday

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

– BIGWU

The funeral of Chaguanas murder victim Sharsa Alfonso-David takes place on Thursday at 10.30 am at St Theresa’s RC Church, Upper Sixth Avenue in Barataria.

Alfonso-David, 47, was a deputy general secretary of the Banking, Insurance and General Workers’ Union (BIGWU) in Barataria.

She was shot dead on April 16 by her common-law husband, Kester “Congo” Williams, 47, a Coast Guards officer, at their home on Hibiscus Drive Extension in Edinburgh 500. He then died by suicide in the house.

On April 18, BIGWU released a statement describing her as an amazing person who played a unique and special role “in all our lives.” It added she was an excellent administrator who handled her duties with professionalism and dedication.

BIGWU’s general secretary Trevor Johnson offered his condolences to the family once more.

He added that “comrade Sharsa” had been a part of the BIGWU’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Policy for the past two years as a member of the union’s central executive and women’s committee.

“Comrade Sharsa was also a member of the Joint Trade Union Movement (JTUM Women’s Arm), which also promoted ILO Convention C190 and Recommendation R206, which focused on eradicating violence in both the workplace and at a domestic level as well,” Johnson said.

“It is ironic that she fell victim to…murder-suicide when she was part of a campaign against it.”

The policy statement says the union is alarmed by the increase in domestic violence fatalities and it has become necessary for BIGWU to speak out against domestic violence and create a sense of awareness.

The union will provide avenues whereby victims can reach out and seek help. Through its various arms (youth, women and general council members), the union will conduct seminars, provide educational materials, and send out electronic advisories to help curb the rate of these cruel acts.

The union’s goal is prevention.

He further referred to the policy, which says domestic violence is not physical violence alone. Part of the policy saysdomestic violence is any behaviour “which is to gain power and control over a spouse, partner, girl/boyfriend, or intimate family member.

“Domestic abuse is a pattern of coercive, controlling behaviour that is a pervasive, life-threatening crime affecting people in all communities regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, social standing and immigration status.”

Anyone who wants to report domestic violence can call the National Domestic Violence hotline at 800-SAVE (7283), the nearest police station or the NGO Coalition Against Domestic Violence at 624-0402.