Mickela Panday is one of the most recognisable figures in our national community. Despite our mutual affiliation with the T&T Guardian newspaper, she and I have never met.
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Samantha’s life mattered
This week, at the height of what is supposed to be a season of peace and goodwill, a family is grieving because of an act of unthinkable brutality that has taken the life of a loved one, Samantha Isaacs. A bright young woman, a devoted mother and daughter with great potential, Samantha has joined a long list of women in this country who have been murdered by their intimate partners.
All these lives mattered. A lot of people across this country are mourning yet another untimely death and expressing regret over the pain and the suffering inflicted on Samantha and her family but that won’t save a life, or protect another abuse victim from harm.
We have to face up to the uncomfortable truth that the authorities failed Samantha. She did not get protection although she had made numerous reports to the police and had even applied for a protection order through the courts. She was left vulnerable and exposed because her court matter kept being adjourned and her reports of being stalked and threatened were not treated with urgency.
Now she is dead. Gone too soon. While it is too late for her, there is still time to save the lives of others. Important lessons can be learned from Samantha’s tragic death which can be used to improve the Domestic Violence Act, which is in need of revision after 18 years, and to develop policies and programmes to end all forms of domestic abuse.
That is the least than can be done in memory of Samantha.
A welcome bid for self reliance
The push toward self reliance by Carnival interest group, the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation, is to be applauded. In fact, it should be emulated by the other interest groups, Pan Trinbago and the National Carnival Bands Association.
Self sufficiency had been the objective with the establishment of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) in 1991 and the formalisation of an arrangement with the interest groups for the running of the country’s biggest annual festival, Carnival. However, over the decades, instead of being weaned off the country’s coffers, the opposite happened. Instead of becoming income generators, successfully marketing and exploiting T&T’s indigenous cultural products and making tangible contributions to GDP, the interest groups have become heavily dependent on annual subventions to stage events during the Carnival season and to fund their operations.
Now that Tuco has established two entities, Calypso Fiesta Limited and Kaiso Rama Limited, a new approach, with transparency and accountability, should yield considerable benefits.
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