(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – Former chairman of the Congress of the People (COP), Nicole Dyer-Griffith has made an impassioned plea for the legalisation of pepper spray following the murder of 27-year-old Anita Bahadur in San Juan on Wednesday.
Speaking at a youth forum at the University of the West Indies (UWI) on Thursday, Dyer-Griffith said women must be given the tools to protect themselves.
Bahadur was knifed to death by an ex-lover at the busy Croisee in San Juan on Wednesday, becoming the 14th woman to be killed for the year.
Dyer-Griffith said it is time for politicians to take measures to address domestic violence, including allowing women to arm themselves with pepper spray. She said this could give women a fighting chance of survival in the event of an attack.
“My pet peeve is the number of women being killed in Trinidad and Tobago and we continue to act as though everything is normal. It is not normal,” said Dyer-Griffith.
“It could never be normal when as at yesterday, 14 women were murdered. It is not normal and we need to begin to implore our politicians to look past the party politics and do something about it. Do something about the scourge of domestic violence. Do something rather than talking and not acting.”
Dyer-Griffith said if the State could not assure the safety and security of its citizens, citizens must be afforded the opportunity to ensure their own safety.
She said using pepper spray as a defense tool would be able to buy women at least ten seconds to get away from their attacker. She said this extra ten seconds could mean the difference between life and death.
“We just need the opportunity for that ten seconds. Give us the option for that ten seconds,” she pleaded.
Her plea was met with loud applause from the audience consisting mostly of women.
The forum was held to discuss the role of women in the political system and featured Dyer-Griffith, former Arouca/Maloney MP Alicia Hospedales and attorney Mickela Panday as panellists.
Adding to the discourse, Panday criticised what she said was silence on the issue from those in authority.