Chester Sambrano

The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT) is joining the calls for significant changes to the criminal justice system as it relates to offences which qualify for bail.

In a media release SATT said it urges “Sensible outcomes to prevail when it comes to both sexual offences and kidnapping; these charges should be made non-bailable in our estimation to provide steeper deterrents with the punishment befitting the severity of the crime.”

The SATT said it also adopts the view that a public sex offender registry will greatly increase public confidence in the identification of such perpetrators with several benefits outlined in the post mortem of these tragedies had they existed in the first place.

It said for these same high-level heinous crimes, court hearings should be expedited to the point where virtual hearings can be arranged and steep fines put in place to discourage absenteeism of any party frustrating the due process of the court.

The SATT felt compelled to share in the “collective grief of the tragic murders of Ashanti Riley and, as of last week, Andrea Bharatt.”

It said this continues a disturbing trend of continued violence against women that should not be condoned or tolerated in any form or fashion. “We feel strongly about the safety of all women in our industry. It is our remit to provide the women in our sector with a sense of security as well as to acknowledge that the criminal elements of society have made them easy targets to prey upon,” the statement said.

The SATT also noted that in these tragic occurrences, public transport was being used and therefore there needs to be more regulation and oversight to avoid what can only be described as a deeply worrying situation for our employees and customers alike.

“A safer transport network needs to exist than the one presently in place,” it added.

It explained that many times, its employees having to travel home after working hours are vulnerable to criminal elements.

The Association said the safety of the commuting public also has to be looked after by the powers that be, be that legislatively as well as CCTV and those resources required by the Police Service to discharge their duties effectively.

“The present administration has to appreciate that with the surge in these violent crimes,this deeply affects consumer confidence leading to an economic downturn which cannot be good for the nation as a whole,” The SATT said.

The SATT wanted its customers to know it stands with women and openly condemns these crimes of a despicable and violent nature.

“They have no place in our society.”

It added that “the culture of rape, murder and similarly atrocious crimes must be clamped down upon quickly by our men in blue with support from the administration to ensure they are well equipped to do so.”

IT said a SATT public campaign to advocate for Women’s Safety will follow in the coming weeks to pilot an initiative to be a voice for our precious young women who are our children,our sisters,our mothers and our daughters.

“We must continue to protest such tragedies to ensure their voices are not forgotten or unheard,” the SATT said.