PPGPL's Commitment to Protecting Women

By Colin Harris - AMCHAM T&T Security Committee

LINKAGE Q1 (2023) - Woman's Leadership: Embrace Equity

T he kidnapping and murder of Andrea Bharat was considered the proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’, despite it being only one of the numerous similar offenses in our society. It triggered an outcry across our society that has continued to this day. A large portion of our population expressed pain and heartbreak, since they could relate to this ordinary young lady as their daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece, cousin, wife, girlfriend, and best friend from school.

PPGPL took the decision that it was no longer sufficient to say, ”Take care, be safe out there” and other superficial phrases of encouragement. Instead, I arranged a series of security awareness sessions facilitated by an experienced security professional in my capacity as Security Coordinator at PPGPL. The sessions targeted our entire female staff and included detailed online two-hour sessions that covered preventing and responding to home invasions and personal security in public spaces.

During the Easter school break, we also hosted sessions for our employees’ children, which dealt with cybersecurity and issues such as cyberbullying. These sessions were geared to both primary and secondary school-age children.

These online security awareness sessions were repeated during the first six months of 2022. During the next six months, we took it a step further by taking advantage of the relaxed pandemic measures and hosted 3-hour long, in-person self-defense sessions with small groups to ensure maximum individual attention. The female participants were taken through a series of scenarios such as:
- Understanding the Psychology of an attacker.
- Evasion of attackers.
- Escaping chokes and holds, inclusive of counter-rape techniques.
- Disarming an attacker with a firearm.

The ladies were drilled relentlessly during these sessions, with each attendee having to satisfy the instructor that she had attained sufficient competency in each technique that was taught. Participants expressed tremendous appreciation and gratitude since the majority never had an opportunity to receive such detailed in-person training in self-defense.

We encourage organisations and other groups of professionals to do more than encourage and offer condolences, but instead to initiate programmes to empower women in the workplace with additional knowledge and skill to protect themselves and their families



Colin N Harris, CPP is the Security Coordinator at Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited and a member of AMCHAM T&T's Security Committee.