MSJ: prioritise efforts against gender based violence

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Radhaka Gualbance. Photo by Narissa Fraser

DEPUTY political leader of the Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) Radhaka Gualbance is urging the Government to do more to stem gender-based violence.

As Trinidad and Tobago prepares to celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday, Gualbance said gender-based violence continues to run rampant and affect the lives of women and girls.

She voiced her concerns at the MSJ’s press conference on Sunday.

Gualbance said, “It was another horrifying year of violence against women in Trinidad and Tobago.

“Thirty-three women were murdered in 2021 and already for 2022, we heard of the brutal murder of our sisters (Keithisha) Cudjoe who was abducted and brutally murdered.

“Four women (were murdered) in the first month of 2022, with the first being an elderly woman.”

But Gualbance has been equally disappointed with the response of National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds who, she said, has “made it clear that it is not his responsibility.”

Gualbance then referred to comments which Hinds made during a TV interview on February 7. Hinds suggested during the interview that his duty was not to ensure people feel safe and secure but merely to provide encouragement, general support, guidance and resources to TT’s security agencies.

“That’s our Minister of National Security…Well in my eyes, he’s a total failure. He certainly did not learn from the street bath that he got, it did nothing for him.

“That is a very damming, ignorant and arrogant statement made by a senior minister of Government. In another country, that minister would have been removed immediately.”

Gualbance said recent increases in the cost of living has been another issue affecting the quality of livelihoods for TT’s women’s and girls.

She explained, “Single mothers are facing great hardships with increasing food prices.

“This was worsened during the two year lockdown when many small businesses and self-employed women went on the breadline still with families to feed.”