INDEPENDENT Senator Paul Richards has pleaded with the relevant authorities to put ‘pepper spray’ into the hands of women and the vulnerable, warning yesterday that the country will be terrorised by more rape and other heinous crimes unless action is taken. Richards, who seemed exasperated in bringing a private motion to the Senate, said he had come to “beg” on behalf of victims and their families, as well as the vulnerable, for the Government to legalise some non-lethal weapons, specifically pepper spray, as a response to growing crime. Only last Thursday, Trinidad and Tobago was left reeling with the discovery of the decomposing body of 22-year-old Andrea Bharatt, who went missing after boarding what she believed to be an “H” taxi on the Arima Old Road, on January 29. Last November, 18-year-old Ashanti Riley was also abducted and killed after getting into a ‘ph’ vehicle on Sunshine Avenue, San Juan.Richards said the time for empty condolences to the parents of these and other victims is past and Government must at least show that it is willing to give women a “fighting chance”. He said weapons like pepper spray were not intended to be a “panacea” or “cure all” but noted that some officials had a concern that the items could be dangerous in the hands of criminals.
However, criminals already had guns and knives, he said, and were “raping and abusing daily, with impunity”. [full article]