Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 6th 2014 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, May 6, 2014
HENRY STREET, PORT OF SPAIN
623-2038 OR 789-5784
Between 9am and 4pm
Opposition Leader Keith Rowley says Attorney
General Anand Ramlogan should not have disre-
spected the memory of slain senior counsel Dana
Seetahal with statements Ramlogan made last Sun-
day about her.
He said so at Sunday's PNM meeting in Diego
Rowley said he was called about 4.30 am on Sunday
with the news of "this outrage" (Seetahal's murder)
that took place in Woodbrook earlier that night.
He claimed: "I heard the Attorney General this
morning saying he was called by Ms Seetahal and
told she wrote a letter supporting him in this matter
and he was so grateful for it and he was considering
putting her on his investigative committee.
"Now, Attorney General don't disrespect the lady's
memory. If she had already taken a public position
and published it, how could you consider putting
her on any investigating committee?
"So he is not content to be the one leading the
investigation when he already said he investigated
it and found nothing. He wants somebody else who
has taken a position quite different to what might
be there and he thinks that is a good investigation."
Rowley said he would lead a citizens' march to
President House in "the very near future" if gov-
ernment did not institute a proper judicial probe
into the prison litigation issue.
He said the Prime Minister and AG were "hiding
behind" the letter that he claimed the solicitor general
was saying she had been "required" to write. Alleging
the Attorney General was "keeping secrets" for the
PM, he said the AG was "out of place" to say he
was probing the issue.
Rowley also said Seetahal's murder was not an
isolated event but a reflection of an environment
which T&T had become.
"T&T is a far poorer place for the execution of
Dana Seetahal. She was an outstanding citizen who
was making a contribution every day in a particularly
difficult area," he added.
As the killers of special
prosecutor Dana Seetahal, SC,
remain on the loose, the coun-
try s national security status
has been heightened and has
been changed from green to
amber to hinder further
threats to national security.
National Security Minister
Gary Griffith said yesterday
that was a result of the events
leading to Seetahal's murder
and in keeping with the guide-
lines laid out in the national
alert state, public warning and
He added: "The significance
of implementing this state of
alert was to stymie any possible
threat to national security and
key public officials. This was
assessed as a precautionary
measure in the event that other
state officials, members of the
Judiciary or members of Gov-
ernment may also have been
"In this regard, security
agencies were informed to take
measures against plausible risks
of a hazard or threat, including
the use of means that are mod-
erately disruptive to normal
public activities, while prepar-
ing to switch to orange or red
on short notice, if the condi-
tions surrounding the threat
He said law enforcement
officers had combined forces
and were doing all in their
power to bring the perpetrators
to justice but he could not say
if the police had made any
breakthrough in the investiga-
tion into Seetahal's murder.
Saying they had "a lot of
work to do," Griffith said:
"There is the footage from the
CCTV camera. We have to find
out whether she may have had
any threats in the last few days
or weeks which we may not
know of and other things to be
Griffith also called on people
not to panic, insisting the sit-
uation was under control.
"There will be increased air,
land and maritime patrols in
all areas of interest. There will
also be stop-and-search teams
and increased roadblocks.
"We cannot and should not
draw conclusion based on per-
ception or based on her career.
We must remain calm because
the police are doing their job
and I have every confidence in
them," he added.
Urging people to give infor-
mation, he said it would be
treated in the strictest of con-
People can call 511, 999,
Crime Stoppers at 800-
8477 or the NOC at 627-
There is no disputing that something
was missing from the Port-of-Spain Sec-
ond Criminal Court where the Vindra
Naipaul-Coolman murder trial was set to
There was no laughter, smiles or the
friendly banter among attorneys which usu-
ally preceded daily hearings of the high-
Instead lawyers huddled together in small
groups throughout the corridors of the Hall
of Justice as they quietly discussed and
consoled each other over the brutal and
shocking murder of Senior Counsel Dana
Seetahal in Woodbrook early on Sunday.
Even court reporters seemed affected by
the sombre and pensive mood as they dis-
cussed their relationship with the much-
loved attorney and attempted to come to
terms with the fact that her almost daily,
friendly, yet frank discussions on current
affairs with them would no longer occur.
When the case was eventually called by
justice Malcolm Holdip around 10.30 am,
media personnel were unexpectedly barred
from entry by Judiciary security staff at a
makeshift checkpoint at the entrance of
Within minutes, grief-stricken attorneys,
with their heads bowed, began trickling
out of the courtroom in single file.
Recognising the error, the Judiciary's
Court Protocol and Information Unit sup-
plied reporters with an audio recording and
a transcript of the proceedings, in which
Holdip dealt specifically with the scheduling
of the trial, in light of the devastating news.
The transcript showed the first person
to officially announce the incident to the
jury was senior state attorney Joy Balkaran,
who could not hold back her tears as she
told the court Seetahal would no longer be
part of the prosecution team.
Holdip, who spoke immediately after,
said he understood prosecutors who worked
alongside Seetahal would be emotionally
and psychologically traumatised by the inci-
He then told the 12-member jury the
case would have to be adjourned to next
Monday at 9 am to allow Seetahal's col-
leagues to grieve and attend her funeral on
"I am taking the initiative to understand
that they would need some time to, in fact,
reconstitute their position, their strategies,
legal and otherwise," Holdip said.
He also suggested that members of the
defence team were also trying to cope with
the news and would also agree with the
"I don't think anyone of us have that
sort of Spartan attitude that we would just
pick up ourselves and continue in the light
of what has happened," Holdip said.
Seetahal was one of three Senior Counsel
who began leading evidence when the trial
began in late March.
The other two---Israel Khan and Gilbert
Peterson---were each accompanied by a
plainclothes police officer as they entered
and left the Knox Street courthouse yes-
Sources said the police protection for
prosecutors was instituted almost imme-
diately after news of Seetahal's murder
There was also an increased police pres-
ence outside the Hall of Justice, with teams
of heavily-armed officers at street corners
around the building.
Pensive mood as case put off to May 12
Security status now up to amber
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