Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 24th 2015 Contents A5
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
JENSEN LA VENDE
Who ordered Dana Seeta-
hal s murder and why? These
are the questions being asked
by Seetahal s relatives following
reports that at least six men
are to be charged with her mur-
On one of two Facebook pages
dedicated to the memory of See-
tahal, relatives and friends call
for a speedy end to the inves-
tigation. One post by Marilyn
"As the rest of the family,
every time they decide to say
any day now , the tears come
Another by Kenrick Seetahal
read: "Charge the persons
involved and then share that info
with the media. Do (you) think
those involved will be quietly
waiting for the police to appre-
Tonyette Sharpe wrote on the
Facebook page: "I just hope that
the government and police have
their facts correct so that the
Seetahal family would not be
"set-up" again and AGAIN!
"It would be cruel to family
members to keep re-opening
this chasm of a wound with no
decisive closure and no justice!
The main question remains
unanswered: Why Dana. Why?"
"When will the authorities
realise we are not a nation of
idiots? Do they really think the
man who pulled the trigger is
responsible for this barbaric
crime against a woman who
gave her whole life for this coun-
"The shooter is disposable
and the person who called the
hit is untouchable. Once again
some illiterate, gun-toting gang-
ster will get pinned with this
crime while the big fish swims
away happily." wrote Idorn Med-
On Sunday both the Newsday
and Express reported that six
men were being sought for the
killing of Seetahal and that the
Federal Bureau of Investigations
had been helping with the inves-
The articles pointed at an
insider who is currently in prison
as a mole in the group who
assassinated Seetahal and the
police are to approached the
Director of Public Prosecutions
this week for advice on laying
Yesterday acting Police Com-
missioner Stephen Williams
denied that was true.
In a media release yesterday
Williams said the newspaper
reports that the Seetahal murder
investigation was close to com-
pletion with at least six men
facing possible charges are
"inconsistent with the progress
of the investigation" and "obvi-
ous distortions with material
facts of the case."
In the release Williams,
through his communications
manager Ellen Lewis, said he
considered the reports
"extremely irresponsible," par-
ticularly the naming of any offi-
cer from the FBI who has been
assisting the police with their
The release adds: "Williams
is mindful of the legitimate pub-
lic interest attending the inves-
tigation and in this regard urges
restraint in any form of media
reporting or commentary and
calls for an absence of specu-
lation which could possibly
hamper the investigation."
Williams said the case was
being treated with the highest
priority by lead investigator, DCP
Glen Hackett. Williams added
when the matter was complete
the public would be made aware
through another media state-
Sources close to the investi-
gation said no one was visited
by police in jail and no one was
co-operating with the police in
relation to Seetahal s killing.
Seetahal was shot twice in the
right side of her head, twice in
the right forearm and once in
the chest on May 4 last year at
the corner of Hamilton Holder
and O Connor Streets, Wood-
Her killer/s was so close to
her that gunpowder residue was
found on her clothing. Seetahal
had just left the Ma Pau casino
and was on her way to her One
Woodbrook Place home.
On August 20 David "Junior"
Baker, 28, who was identified
by police investigators as See-
tahal s murderer was killed along
with his nephew and neighbour
at a house in central Trinidad.
The Southern Assembly of
Lawyers (ASL) is prepared to
mount a fierce challenge to stop
a variation to the Finance Act
which has increased the limit
of petty civil cases to $50,000,
which they say is bound to
exacerbate the backlog of cases
in the magistrates court.
This means that any legal dis-
pute within that sum, including
minor motor vehicle insurance
claims, will now be determined
in the magistrates courts, adding
to the already overburdened sys-
President of the ASL Imran
Khan said the amendment was
passed and assented to last
month with no consultation
from the Law Association or
The variation raises the petty
civil court limit from $15,000
to $50,000. This means that
civil cases which were once
heard in the High Court have
now been transferred to the
In an interview, Khan said the
variation to the Act was meant
to free up the number of cases
in the High Court but that had
backfired because nothing was
put in place to deal with the
increased number of cases at
the magistrates court.
"The amendments came in
without much fanfare and we
are not aware that the petty civil
was increased. When the word
started to go around we planned
to have an official seminar to
invite correspondence and feed-
back on the amendments so as
to seek consensus on the way
forward," Khan said.
Based on feedback, Khan said
most attorneys were upset with
the new law.
"In theory it sounds good but
it has had the opposite effect.
If proper machinery is not put
in place it will lead to frustration.
In the High Court the system is
much faster than magistrates
court. When the matter goes to
magistrates court, cases are
adjourned for months and years
so this law is only causing frus-
tration," he added.
Saying litigants would not
benefit, Khan said in rural com-
munities where there was one
magistrate court, cases would
be pending for years.
Meanwhile, former vice-pres-
ident of the Law Association
Hendrickson Seunath, SC, said
it was nothing new for laws to
be passed without proper con-
"Their thinking behind this
was to speed up the process at
the High Court but it has not
worked. There are larger issues
here that must be dealt with.
The whole justice system is in
a mess because you do not have
competent people," Seunath
He explained that it would be
an injustice to litigants if matters
took years to begin.
President of the Law Associ-
ation Seenath Jairam was not
available for comment and vice-
president Gerry Brooks said he
would speak on the issue today.
Cooper: Creed was
due for promotion
Head of the Public Service Reynold Cooper
says former permanent secretary in the Ministry
of Sport Ashwin Creed, one of the people at the
centre of the Life Sport investigation, was
appointed to work as a PS in the Office of the
Prime Minister because "he was due for promo-
tion." His time there will be short as he is due
for retirement in April.
Creed, who had been on extended leave since
May last year, returned to work at the Office of
the Prime Minister yesterday.
But Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, claiming
Creed was given the new position by Prime Min-
ister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, called the develop-
ment troubling in light of the ongoing Life Sport
Contacted by the T&T Guardian yesterday,
Cooper said Creed proceeded on vacation leave
last year and was due to end his tenure in April
2015. This effectively means he has two months
in office before he qualifies for retirement.
While on leave, however, Cooper said Creed,
who was appointed by the Public Service Com-
mission on March 11, 2012, wrote to the director
of human resources in the Sport Ministry "indi-
cating that he had decided to retire from the
service with immediate effect.
"Creed was then informed that his retirement
can only take effect at the end of his vacation
leave in April 2015," Cooper said.
He added: "In January 2015, Creed informed
me of his intention to resume duties. A vacant
permanent secretary position was identified in
the OPM to accommodate his return to duty."
Asked why he was sent to the OPM and not
another ministry, Cooper said he was also "due
for a promotion."
In a statement issued hours after news broke
on the issue, Rowley said it was "a rather disturbing
development," especially after reports last year
indicated that Creed had gone on pre-retirement
Previously, Creed s attorney, former Legal Affairs
Minister Peter Taylor, said it was not true to say
that Creed was not expected to return to work.
Cooper did not respond to questions on whether
the PM transferred Creed.
But Rowley yesterday said Cooper must explain
if "he has made any recommendation to the Public
Service Commission regarding the nature of the
very serious allegations made against Mr Creed
in the (Life Sport) audit report and other com-
According to Rowley, Cooper "has a responsi-
bility to submit such a report and allow the Public
Service Commission to investigate all allegations."
Rowley dismissed claims by Communications
Minister Vasant Bharath that the Government had
nothing to do with Creed s appointment at the
He said Bharath "has once again misled the
population when he stated that the Prime Minister
played no part in Mr Ashwin Creed being assigned
to the Office of the Prime Minister."
A source said they could not understand the
promotion argument being forwarded, since the
only higher posting a permanent secretary could
take up in the OPM s office was as adviser to the
PM and that clearly was not the case with Creed.
Rowley said the Opposition held the "strong"
view that it was Persad-Bissessar who transferred
Creed from the Ministry of Sport to the OPM.
He said if that was not so "we must be told under
whose authority he was removed to her office,
without her knowledge and consent."
Creed and his attorney were unavailable for
comment when the T&T Guardian attempted to
reach them yesterday.
Acting CoP on Dana's murder:
Killers still unknown
AG PREPARED TO LISTEN
'It will bring backlog of cases'
Lawyers challenge new civil limit law
In response, Attorney Gen-
eral Garvin Nicholas, in a text
message response yesterday,
said the amendment to the Fi-
nance Act came into force on
January 27, which raised the
limit for petty civil matters
from $15,000 to $50,000.
Told that the Law Associa-
tion was aggrieved that it had
not been consulted on the
change in the law, Nicholas
said: "You would appreciate
that I came into office subse-
quent to 27th January."
Nicholas assumed office on
February 3, during a Cabinet
reshuffle announced by Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
Pressed for comment,
Nicholas stated: "I cannot ac-
count for something I had no
hand in. I am, however, pre-
pared to listen to the Law As-
sociation going forward. I can
say that there are many initia-
tives of the Government that
are designed to reduce the bur-
den on the magistracy and de-
liver a better standard of justice
Former attorney general
Anand Ramlogan declined com-
ment, saying he was now just a
private citizen. Former attorney
general Ramesh Lawrence Ma-
haraj said he would look at the
issue and make a statement
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