Businesswoman Donna Mark says the death of Ashanti Riley inspired her to do the billboard project. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)
SHASTRI BOODAN

One businesswoman from Central Trinidad has embarked upon an ambitious project to put the photos of missing persons on billboards across Trinidad and Tobago. 

Donna Mark said social media is just one of many platforms that can be utilized to assist in the search for persons who have mysteriously disappeared. 

The 46-year-old businesswoman told Guardian Media she became saddened when she learned of the death of Ashanti Riley and felt that it was time that she got involved since she, too, has a 21-year-old daughter.

“We must send a message that all daughters matter,” she said.  “We all have children and as a mother, I felt hurt when I learnt of Ashanti’s murder.  I believe mothers in the country are also hurt.”

She added: “I am speaking out today because I want this to stop.  I want to see something good happen in our country.  Society has gone beyond; our culture has become numb to murder. Our young generation has a say and I feel the need to come out and say, ‘enough is enough!’”

Donna Mark, who runs her own photo studio, said she plans to raise funds in the new year to have billboards installed across T&T to post images of missing persons.  She noted that she plans to call the project the Ashanti Alert.

“As the United Kingdom has it—’see it, say it and sort it’—we need to be our brother’s keeper.”

Donna Mark said she is hoping to get the support of the business community to make this plan a reality. 

She also believes mental health issues in this country must be taken seriously, observing that many times, the abuser also was a victim of abuse.

“Mental issues are a serious problem in T&T,” she said.  “Going to a psychologist does not mean you are mad; it means you are seeking answers. There are underlying conditions that can lead to someone to do the horrific things that they do.”

Donna Mark can be contacted via Instagram by searching for Donna Mark, or emailing her at [email protected]