Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 5th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, May 5, 2014
Opposition leader Dr Keith
Rowley says he is not entirely
surprised by the killing of state
prosecutor Dana Seetahal, SC,
as the brazenness of criminals
has been growing from
strength to strength.
In an interview yesterday,
Rowley said he was distressed
by the pain Seetahal s family
was forced to face.
"There are two aspects to this.
There is a loss of life of Dana
Seetahal, who has been snuffed
out by criminals, and every
effort should be made to ensure
that who ever had done this is
brought to justice.
"But there is something more
sinister and frightening about
it, and that is the loss of life of
Dana Seetahal, a state prosecutor
in an ongoing serious criminal
matter. And if her demise and
the attack upon her has any-
thing to do with her as a state
prosecutor, then this would rep-
resent a very serious and dis-
turbing and an escalation in the
disrespect that the criminal
community has for the national
community," Rowley said.
Saying this could also signal
a total breakdown in law and
order, Rowley said once the
criminal justice system begins
to operate out of fear of any
kind, then the country and its
citizens were "in big trouble."
"And only the brutes will sur-
vive in this jungle. I am hoping
the police will do everything
possible to bring to justice in
the quickest time those who
conspired to carry out this out-
rage," Rowley urged.
Act of cowardice
The PNM s public relations
officer, attorney Faris Al-Rawi,
said Seetahal s killing was a
heinous act of cowardice.
"It was no doubt intended to
deliver a supposed final solu-
tion to a woman patriotic to
the core, known to live without
fear and ever-defiant in the face
of any attempt to intimidate,"
He said reports that 5.62
ammunition was found at the
scene were evidence of the use
of military-type assault rifles.
"This was no ordinary event.
Clearly, whether intended or
not, a message was sent from
the underworld to every citizen
of this country, and to the inter-
national community who will
receive this news, that T&T is
out of control and that no one
is immune from targeted dark-
ness," Al-Rawi said.
He added that all who knew
Seetahal could bear witness to
her passion and commitment
to everything she believed in,
be it law, mentorship, teaching,
national commentary or plain
old chat over coffee at her
"We in the PNM believe that
her life s work and dedication
requires that we as a nation
stand strong in the face of this
attack on everything that is
decent and that we work
together in refusing to succumb
to the attacks of the insidious,"
"We have demanded return
to intelligence-led crime detec-
tion and solution. The Govern-
ment has finally returned to the
structure and resources of
SAUTT by a different name. We
have demanded specific reforms
to the criminal justice system
in our ten-point plan to the
He said in a debate in the
Senate on April 8, the PNM
demanded improvements for
Seetahal s life s work, Al-Rawi
added, called for the nation to
fight back and remain defiant
in the face of evil. (GK)
Brazenness of criminals
People's National Movement leader Dr Keith Rowley, centre, greets party members on
his arrival at a leadership constituency meeting at St Anthony's College, Diego Martin,
yesterday. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
KILLING OF DANA SEETAHAL, SC
Senior Counsel Martin Daly says crim-
inals must not be allowed to carry out
hits in broad daylight and then take a cel-
He made the statement while comment-
ing on the killing of Dana Seetahal, SC,
Saying he was grieved by the loss of his
colleague and close friend, Daly described
her murder as yet another example of the
prevalence of impunity in the country, as
he also referred to last week s murder out-
side the Arima Magistrates Court.
"For years I have complained about the
impunity with which all citizens, high and
low, can just be murdered. So we have to
keep the focus on the impunity with which
these things are done.
"Juggling with crime statistics does not
alter the basic facts ... that life in Trinidad
is worth nothing and a person can take
your life and just laugh. I am not saying
this because I am grieved, I have been say-
ing this for ten years in my column ... what
can you say?" Daly asked.
He said society had also fallen into a
kind of indifference, whereby an incident
could be soon forgotten.
"For nine or ten days we moan and groan
and talk about Dana and then we just move
on to the next thing with nothing being
resolved," he said.
"All our governments, going back a long
way, have set a standard where you measure
the worth of a human being and you meas-
ure accomplishment by the acquisition of
material goods. No thought has been given
in improving the quality of our civilisa-
tion...we just don t tackle the social-devel-
opment things...we just buy material things,
drive a big car, get a priority bus route
On whether attorneys should have special
protection, Daly disagreed, asking what
made an attorney s life different from that
of another person.
"That is the sloppiness of the whole
thinking. What makes an attorney s life
any different from a jockey or a dishwash-
"Should we protect doctors? They save
lives. As much as I am a practising attorney,
I recognise doctors save lives. So all the
attorneys are going to jump up and down
now with weak knees or with shaking knees
and say, Protect us ?" Daly asked.
He said given the kinds of cases Seetahal
was involved in she could have been the
target of a hit. But this, he added, was the
risk which came with the profession.
"If that is the occupational hazard of
being an attorney in this country then we
have to accept that. We can t be jumping
up and down and crying, Give us special
"We have to attack the underlying con-
ditions which make it possible for some-
ried out frequently in broad daylight with
He said social development policies and
efficient and motivated law-enforcement
officers were urgently needed.
"It has to matter that somebody, regard-
less of whether high or low, has been killed
with impunity," Daly added.
President of the Law Association of T&T
Seenath Jairam, SC, yesterday called for a speedy
and thorough investigation into the violent death
of its former president Dana Seetahal SC.
Jairam, who added his voice to the list of mourn-
ers, said Seetahal had contributed significantly to
the development of the criminal law, practice and
"She was a distinguished senior member of the
legal profession. She served as a magistrate, State
prosecutor, independent senator and defence attor-
ney at law, as well as a long standing criminal law
lecturer at the Hugh Wooding Law School in St
Augustine," Jairam said.
He said she epitomised fearlessness, integrity
and independence and was a champion of reform
of the criminal justice system.
Seetahal s death, Jairam said, was a reflection
of the worrying crime situation in T&T.
ln 2012, Seetahal resigned as president of the
association because she believed she was personally
The resignation had come in the midst of mount-
ing pressure from certain members of council of
the association and among the general membership
over the disappearance of $284,000 from the asso-
ciation s account.
Seetahal had maintained she did no wrong and
it was not unusual for people to sign and misuse
Daly: Juggling statistics won't alter facts...
Life in T&T now
of law reform
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