Dominica’s newly elected Leader of the United Workers Party Dr. Thompson Fontaine has added his voice to those condemning the killing of two young women allegedly at the hands of their lovers. The women died hours apart.
29-year-old Velma Valmond of Goodwill was killed on Friday morning, while Avanelle Charles of Morne Prosper was killed hours later. Both women were suspected to have been murdered by their partners.
In a statement to the media released earlier today Saturday, Dr. Fountain said the two murders were senseless and brutal, suffering violent deaths by people who were supposed to protect them.
“Their deaths come at a time when families are normally celebrating love and togetherness during the Christmas holidays and looking forward with considerable expectations to the New Year,” Dr. Fountain said.
Dr. Fontaine says the perpetrators should be held responsible and the law should ensure that these women along with the others who may have suffered the same or similar fate do not go in vain.
“In addition to bringing those responsible to justice, now is an opportune time to focus our attention on the increasing incidents of domestic violence and abuse, particularly directed against women and girls that continue to plague our island nation as in a stronger message to the perpetrators that any act of violence is unacceptable,” Dr. Fontaine said.
Saying that the incidents are an ongoing and alarming pattern of abuse and domestic violence against women and girls in Dominica, Dr. Fontaine said there must be more from a government level to protect victims.
“For example, is there a hotline that they can call confidentially to report abuse, or to seek counseling? What about targeted campaigns aimed at those who would commit such acts of violence?”
He also criticized the government for paying more attention to the social lives of young people rather than the important aspect.
“While our government is quick to dispense millions on flying entertainers from around the globe, it seems unwilling or unable to invest in the welfare of its people. The victims of domestic violence should have the recourse of professional help and should not feel like they must shoulder the burden on their own,” he said.
He is also calling on the government to review and strengthen existing laws to offer more protection from violence to women and girls in Dominica and stiffer penalties for perpetrators.