Candles, tears and selected outrage

By Aileen Alexis
February 11, 2021

lettersThe kidnapping and murder of a young court clerk, Andrea Bharratt has evoked strong emotions from a wide cross-section of the Trinibagonian population. Protests, vigils and calls for legislation regarding the use of non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray and tasers, and the resumption of hangings have all become some of the manifestations of these emotions.

There is no doubt that what happened to Andrea is a tragedy for this country. This has caused the “Protect Our Women” call to re-emerge with a specific focus on dealing with gender-based violence. However, this call to protect our women can be quite skewed because this does not apply to all women irrespective of race, colour and class. This is the stark reality that we have to grapple with as this concern can be quite selective. This is seen in the case of Ornella Greaves, a Beetham Garden’s resident, who was presumably shot dead by the Trinidad and Tobago Police force in June of last year, while protesting police brutality. It is evident that this society places a higher value on the lives of some women while others are disposable.

Andrea has been called beautiful, meek, gentle along with other numerous character traits from people who have never met her. One has to wonder on what basis are individuals giving their assessment. The answer is not hard to formulate. Andrea fits the look of what this society deems as a respectable young lady; and to top it off, she is a graduate of the University of the West Indies. Ornella Greaves, a mother of five, did not receive the same feeling of outrage from the population because, after all, she did not meet its skewed notion of a desirable woman. The investigation into her murder has gone cold with the TTPS denying any involvement. There has yet to be any protest, vigils, or calls for holding Ornella’s murderer accountable. There are prejudices that are inherent within the “Protect Our Women” and to tackle them, people need to be honest enough to acknowledge and actively work on the biases that blind them from seeing the value of Black lives in this society.

Trinidad and Tobago was born out of violence. Rape, murder and genocide are some of the core pillars that have shaped Trinbagonian society with the coming of Westernization. Therefore, when shock and outrage ensue after an egregious crime is committed, more so against someone who is seen as socially desirable, one has to wonder about the historical awareness of the citizenry of this country.

Gender based violence is often separated from the larger problem of violence that has pervaded this society. The violence is symptomatic of a country built and driven by bloodshed which is then propped up by widespread corruption. Society is often two-tongued in its sentiments surrounding violence. They condone violence when it is someone they view as a pest, undesirable or a burden to “greater good” of the country. Thus, they often commend the actions of the TTPS who, many times, take on the role of judge, jury and executioner while carrying out their duties. With the murders of two main suspects in Andrea’s case, many citizens agree with the possible unlawful executions carried out by the police. It is extremely palatable to accept the murder of some individuals more so, men and women from areas in Port of Spain and other communities that are deemed as ghettos or hotspots. This is symptomatic of the ever-present racism, classism and colorism that this society quite often seeks to ignore or downplay as irrelevant issues. If it is acceptable for the police to unlawfully assume the role of executioner by their arbitrary rules, then what is the shock and outrage about when other citizens apply that same modus operandi? To tackle gender-based violence, there needs to be a broader analysis of all the institutions, values and prejudices that we so easily subscribe to without challenging how we ourselves contribute to all the violence with which we are so aggrieved.

To tackle the crime problem that has so long plagued this country, there first needs to be greater dialogue that extends far beyond the academic and professional spheres. Voices from marginalized individuals and communities need to be strongly considered as they have been silenced and overlooked far too often. Their insights, experiences and perceptions cannot be ignored when they are the ones who are most severely disadvantaged by the implications of crime. The murder of Andrea Bharratt is a product of a plethora of unaddressed issues that have been constantly overlooked or pushed to the backburner of thought and action, not just by politicians, but by the general population of this country.

33 thoughts on “Candles, tears and selected outrage”

  1. Strong emotions are always evoked when the victim fits the desired standards of “beauty” and persona, in all societies all over the world, not only in T&T.
    The circumstances surrounding the deaths of Ornella Greaves and Andrea Bharratt are very different. It is alleged that Ornella Greaves died “accidentally” at the quick hands of Police. Andrea Bharratt suffered a heinous, violent, traumatic death after an abduction. Different emotions were aroused in each case. Regardless of the motivations, one should not criticize any attempt to protest violence against women , especially in a society plagued by an overabundance of violent criminals , sexual abusers and rapists who call themselves men.
    The marginalized individuals and communities are not severely “disadvantaged by the implications of crime” but are guilty of being the main perpetrators of crime in T&T. However, this community might be disadvantaged by the inadequate education system and the failure to accept social services and interventions from which they can benefit.

    1. Ahhhh,
      Pseudo intellectualist racism and Tman’s “itch”. Translation:
      Tman is saying that africans are the “main” perpertrators of “crime” in trinidad, and do not deserve sympathy…only indians and non-africans. Also, Tman loathes any reference to indian and other anti-black, anti-african racist injustice as alluded to in the article. In other words… SHUT UP and take the injustice they perpetuate. Andrea bharatt is merely an excuse for indian trinidadian anti-black anti-african racism to be vocalized under thinly veiled references to african people. The sore political defeat of kamla barely 6 months ago and the animousity of having a dark skinned african face leading the society is being chanelled through this issue. The outrage over andrea is obviously, blatantly selective and illustrative of indian, “mixed” and non-africans’ social and political hierarchical privilege over african people.The gaslighting and intellectual dishonesty displayed by in dismissing this article is a perfect example of the artice’s points.

      Mythological unity in an anti-Black world

  2. “This is symptomatic of the ever-present racism, classism and colorism that this society quite often seeks to ignore or downplay as irrelevant issues. If it is acceptable for the police to unlawfully assume the role of executioner by their arbitrary rules, then what is the shock and outrage about when other citizens apply that same modus operandi?”

    Reading this article, one would think that AfroTrinis are a minority and the ruling PNM government is not African Trinbagonian based.

    Read a statement from the ESC (Emancipation Support Committee) on this issue.. and, not a word on the two suspects ‘allegedly’ beaten to death by the TTPS.. Not a word…

    Pretty frightening… Not a word..

    1. The TTPS is NOT an ethnically homogenous organization. It would be interesting to know the ethnicity of the officers “allegedly” involved in the beatings of those suspects and whether or not they “allegedly” did the same “justice” to “alleged” perpertrators of similar crimes against young women, and african young women in particular. Also, when the investigation into whether or not she was murdered because of her uncovering of fraud within the court system is concluded and determined to be INDIAN criminals who ordered her death….are THEY going to be given the same “justice” as well? Are their photos going to be paraded around with calls for hangings to resume?

      Food for thought…

    2. Newsflash RamK…. AfroTrinis are a minority in T&T, and the government is not African Trinboganian based but the government of the people of T&T.

      1. Realityflash Tman…If AfroTrinis were a minority in T&T, Kmla the “brahmin” queen would have never lost the election-S.

        1. This is a claim that African voters keep the PNM in power. Very true, but for a number of long standing issues and reasons which include gerrymandering ridings, house padding and unequal riding populations. It must be traumatic and psychologically irritating and frustrating to view every issue through foggy racial lenses.

          1. Lol!…every single trap!

            Tman doesn’t “see” race….
            AND is an emotionless, aryan nazi robot with superior intellect.

            Former prime minister and president ANR Robinson, the man responsible for giving trinidad it’s first indian prime minister in 1995, exposed in his autobiography, that he uncovered a mass migration of indian guyanese into trinidad at a rate of 70 persons per day, that started in 1986…UNC was within NAR between 1986-1991…
            How many guyanese flooded into trinidad along with indian nationals during 1995-2001? The UNC again slithered into office 2010-2015, because another african man, jack warner singlehandedly gave trinidad it’s first female, indian prime minister. How many indian guyanese, and indian nationals flooded trinidad from then to now? 70 indian guyanese per day 1986-1991….imagine the rate between 1995-2001 and 2010-2015…
            Fact is in 1845, 300 indians migrated to a society with 10,000 non-indians, and NOW, with contrived convenience, some want to compare population sizes as a leap for legitimacy.
            Good Luck…

        2. As we converse the PNM is contemplating the increase of seats in Tobago to 15, in PNM stronghold areas. Why 15? why not 13? The PNM wants to guarantee a victory in Tobago . How democratic is that? This sort of “election fixin” is how the PNM seals victory since the inception of the party.

  3. Andrea Bharatt funeral will be the largest in the history of Trinbago. A young bright forward thinking Indian girl brutally slain by boys in the hood. She was the delight of the father who recently suffered the passing wife. Being a father of a daughter I understand in a small way the incredible pain and anguish this man is enduring.

    I hope this would be a moment for all to pause and examine their hearts and look introspectively. It is certainly a time and season ripe for change…in the words of the pastor, this nation needs love.

    1. ” I hope this would be a moment for all to pause and examine their hearts and look introspectively.” – Mamoo

      “…indian girl brutally slain by boys in the hood.” Also Mamoo

      What would someone who mockingly refers to african people as “boys in the hood” find when they pause and examine their hearts and look introspectively?? Hmm???

      1. Inconvenient, You are so emotional and sensitive about your race. I bet you believe that God only loves you. Boys in the hood nothing wrong with that, it is identify a segment of society that needs help. It is not a blanket statement, it is definitive. Not like you saying all Indians are racist.

        Inconvenient I am sensitive about my nouns, pronouns, adverb, allegorys etc. Communication is a treasured gift. And if you can master it people will listen to you…..

        1. It has been said, and is acknowledged as truth, by quite a number of persons that Indo-Indians, in the main, are: paedophiles, rumbubbers, incest-perpetrators, scammers, bribers, wife-beaters, weaklings, cheaters, etc, etc. Am I to believe it all? Or should I employ a miniscule amount of common sense, Mr T?

          1. Firstly “Bernadette”, i couldn’t give a DAMN about ” he say she say blah blah blah”…a question of substance would be have I ever said or given credence to those accusations??? and even MORE importantly, do you “Bernadette”, believe i would allow my self to be gaslighted into retracting my illumination of indian anti-black, anti-african racism because someone tried to conflate “he say, she say” with what I’ve said??? Hmmmm???
            Take your petty child psychology antics TFOH!

        2. I shouldn’t respond to this dishonesty, BUT… when have i said or implied ALL indians are racist??? However, if i did say it, and it would be incorrect to say,why is it that most non-indians and some conscientious indians would be INCLINED to agree with that assessment? Hmmm????

          The Truth About Racism In Trinidad | Racism struggles | Trinidad & Tobago

  4. Starlite CEO Gerald Aboud speaks to the media following his arrest and subsequent release, during protests against gender-based violence outside the Parliament today.

    “Instead of the charade, Gerald Aboud could do much more to help make women safer by simply paying his mostly female staff better wages. He recently cut salaries, (certainly not his profits) as the first course of action against the economic fallout resulting from COVID-19 restrictions. Is this how you make your female employees feel safe Gerald Aboud?” — Ayinde

    1. My dear friend, if you know anything about business, salaries are not cut as a punitive measure. It is sometimes necessary to reduce wages to maintain minimal profits, stay open and avoid layoffs. It is disingenuous to link Aboud’s call for action on gender-based violence with the cutting of wages in his establishment. The government is presently proposing a wage freeze. It would be giant leap to link this freeze with gender-based violence.

  5. Come on Aileen – ‘Selected outrage?’ You are writing for the TNT media and you chose those words? What is selective about a national tragedy? Which side are you from? Somehow race comes into play?
    Are you saying we could have supported the killers? Did we select to be outraged at a murder?
    The killers had a point. Not sure what it is. Could have been the vague Bail thing.
    Are you saying an Afro Trini woman is somehow less of a tragedy?
    Andrea touched the nation – just as Ashanti did.
    You are seeing the reaction and somehow it is wrong because it was not the same before?
    And you have similar minded persons backing you up in this thread.
    I will not say it openly but pirates only see loot. Examine yourself – are you a pirate?

    1. Come on pradeep,
      Your religion’s scriptures’ views deny you the moral authority to feign objectivity on issues of race, particularly regarding africans people . Are you a hypocrite projecting hypocrisy on others?

      Racism in Hinduism

      Dear Indo-Caribbean People, Let’s Not Be Like Our Macoing Aunties – Mochi Magazine

      “Indian racism towards Black people is almost worse than white peoples’ racism” An Interview with Arundhati Roy · Dalit Camera

  6. Brutal beating by cops
    The video footage, taken at a frontal angle, seen by the Sunday Express on February 10, shows SORT officers ceaselessly beating Morris while he lay on the ground, re­­­peatedly asking about the whereabouts of “the girl”.

    1. He only had 2 marijuana charges. The Sort team should refrain from “interrogation”. Instead there should be trained interrogators doing the interrogation. We know time is of the consequence but a dead dog tells no tales.
      One of the keys aspects of an interrogation is to get the suspect to talk. Sometimes a few heavy drinks is all you need to loosen his tongue. Keeping the suspect awake in a 24 hour exercise of repetition…. why was her bag in your possession? Etc.

  7. While you continuously brag about your system if education, schools are failing.
    Deosaran says it best :But the challenges do not only vegetate at the top. AG Faris Al-Rawi’s “monsters” and the commissioner’s “cockroaches” get cultivated at the bottom of society and its institutions. And as you remove some, much more will appear.

    I will repeat part of a troubling example given in last week’s column: “In one government secondary school in rural Trinidad, a teacher complained that in one of her online English classes, only one student appeared. Worse yet, she further revealed that of the 92 students entering Form One, all scored below 50 per cent in the SEA, a performance quite common in previous years. Additionally, 60 per cent of the Form One intake scored below 30 per cent! Of the 450 students usually expected at Form Five from Form One annually, less than 300 appear.”

    Where exactly do these “150 dropouts” go and do each year? Here hundreds of “monsters and cockroaches” are likely hatched. Is this secondary school and its feeder schools known to the ministry and MPs? Compare with the loaded “prestige” schools. Social injustice?

    1. Archbishop Gordon articulated it best..

      Gordon: Society making suspects ‘untouchables’

      ROMAN Catholic Archbishop Jason Gordon yesterday called into focus the deaths of two suspects in the Andrea Bharatt murder case while in police custody, as he warned against society creating “untouchables” who can then be killed and no one asks a question.

      Seems to spell out the dangers of slipping into a state of ‘Old Bharat’ .. where Caste determined your fate, under Manu’s Law.

      1. Ahhhhh RamK… you are speaking fine wine!
        One thing though…The correct term is VARNA! “Caste” is a western word that misleads westernerns into thinking that the issue is about something other than race, when that is EXACTLY what it is RACE-ISM! In brahman-ism scriptures there is an official color spectrum representing what that religion deems “races”

        *Brahmans = WHITE, upper varna (saintly, gods’ descendents)
        *Ksatrias & Vaishas = RED, upper varna (middle, buffer race)
        *Shudras= BLACK, lowest varna (decreed slaves to the above)
        * “Un-touch-ables” = BLACK, no varna..(“Evil”, sub-human)

        Racist ideology within Brahman-ism (“Hindu-ism”)

      2. Also RamK… Old Bharat, New Bharat,Same Bharat…the most racist, anti-african,anti-black society on the planet!

        We live in a castesist Hindu Nationalist state: Arundhati Roy on racism and casteism

        Arundhati Roy: India’s Hindu Right Are Willing to Bury Democracy

        1. The question is, can we survive the in-bedded hIndo media, as they effectively launched their media-blitz over the past few weeks… Whipping their subjects into mindless robots.
          Imagine this brother rushed to defend of all people, Gerald Aboud, of BLM fame..

          1. ???
            RamK…The brahman-ist “Hindu”, indian “media bliitz” officially started in 1995, and really kicked out after they left office in 2001 with all the stolen money and misused state influence giving them a landslide in media with their own tv stations (UNC3), their hidden hand, african voices-indian puppeteer/manager radio stations and effectively “cleansing” proud, conscientous african voices on social and political issues from the media landscape.

  8. Lol! Yes, Incon…T, you have misunderstood my subtly message that was meant for Tman. I was actually actually in agreement with your stance on the matters. Anyway, let’s be kind to each other, okay😉… But some truths are undeniable…agreeing with you, AGAIN! Tman did make an obvious point – persons in all races are wired to do evil, if they so wish… leave it Tman!🤫Ps: Our friend Covid chose not to discriminate, otherwise…

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