Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 9th 2014 Contents GAIL ALEXANDER
Deal with it!
President Anthony Carmona telegraphed
that message yesterday at the funeral of slain
senior counsel Dana Seetahal, where he
enhanced his plea for the Parliament to gen-
uinely co-operate and engage in realistic bi-
partisan methods to address crime.
He voiced the appeal, standing near See-
tahal’s wooden casket at the Aramalaya Pres-
byterian Church, Tunapuna.
And he placed the plea before the con-
gregation which included Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar and People’s Part-
nership ministers as well as Opposition
Leader Dr Keith Rowley and People’s National
The church overflowed with dignitaries,
including former president George Maxwell
Richards, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, legal,
judicial and political luminaries and other
personalities who came to pay their respects
to late special prosecutor Seetahal (See Pages
A5 and A6)
Seetahal, 58, was assassinated early last
Sunday morning while en route to her One
Woodbrook Place apartment from Ma Pau
casino, Ariapita Avenue. She was ambushed
by culprits who fired several shots at her,
killing her instantly.
Up to yesterday’s funeral, four days after,
no arrests had been made nor had any con-
crete leads been divulged by authorities.
Carmona’s address climaxed tributes from
over 15 people, including a farewell ballad
from soca star Machel Montano, a sermon
from former Independent Senator Rev Daniel
Teelucksingh, prayers from Father Clyde
Harvey and Pundit Randhir Maharaj, plus
a scripture reading from the Prime Minis-
On Seetahal’s murder, President Carmona
said: “I, like many of you, am still in a state
of shock and I am numb and cold with grief.
“There are individuals that one would
meet during one’s lifetime, some a flicker
of light and others a constant glow. Dana’s
defining attribute was that of a consistent
Carmona added: “In our nation’s social
evolution, fear and violence can create a
perverse situation, feeding our insecurities,
so that the less than honourable in our com-
munities can benefit from the paranoia which
restricts our freedom to enjoy our lives.
“It was the late Nelson Mandela who said
that courage was not the absence of fear but
the triumph over it. The brave man is not
he who does not feel afraid but he who con-
quers that fear.
“Dana knew this and lived it. She knew
that we must not allow ourselves to become
victims of paranoia. That was not Dana’s
way and it must not be ours.”
Carmona said that in his address at the
opening of the parliamentary term on August
2, 2013, he had spoken of crime continuing
to be a scourge on T&T’s society.
He added: “I exhorted the Parliament to
genuinely co-operate and engage in realistic
bi-partisan methods to address crime. Now
I wish to enhance my plea.
“We as a nation cannot sit idly by and
watch as the blood of our people, man and
woman, young and old, flows freely as a
result of the actions of those who do not
view life with any degree of sanctity.
“Dana’s death is not the first that we as
a nation have had to contend with. Others
have lost daughters, mothers, sisters, sons,
fathers, and brothers.
“Every death by violence is one death too
many. It was John Donne who wrote ‘any
man’s death diminishes me because I am
involved in mankind.’
“I urge not only those in and out of
authority, but all citizens, to get further
involved in the business of humanity.”
Carmona also said: “The time for action
has come and passed.
“In a strange way, I think Dana knew that
and it is that knowledge that drove her to
work indefatigably for many years in the
“She became a prosecutor par excellence
who recognised that justice is the one social
ingredient without which civilised society
cannot exist. This is a legacy that must be
preserved. It is one which she was willing
to die for.”
He added: “To borrow from Donne once
again, let us never send to know for whom
the bell tolls. Rather let us undertake to
ensure that the bells remain silent and if it
is that they must ring, let them ring out the
message that Dana Seetahal, SC, exemplified
in her lifetime—justice for all.”
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Preserve her legacy
President Anthony Carmona said Dana Seetahal,
SC, had a stubborn independence which spilled over
into the manner in which she approached her life,
to include her personal safety.
He said: “I recall as prosecutors in the Office of
the Director of Public Prosecutions that we lost
several key witnesses in high profile murder trials
at a time when the law was not developed evidentially
as it is today.
“Dana didn’t cower or resile herself to some patho-
logical corner of fear. Her resolve to seek justice for
all was only hardened and she faced all challenges,
including the threats that came with the job of pros-
He said she was the quintessential prosecutor and
as a state prosecutor, a minister of justice,” I do recall
personally, that when Dana was given a fiat to pros-
ecute in her capacity as a defence attorney, there
was an extra bounce in her step.
“If I had to choose a word to convey what Dana
fought for, it would be “JUSTICE”.
“The ideal of justice for all is one she guarded
with fanatical fervor. It didn’t matter who you were,
where you came from and what you did.
“It mattered not your social class, your religion,
your ethnicity or your political affiliation. If you were
a victim she wasn’t just ON your side, she WAS
He added: “Many are the perpetrators of crime
whose concocted stories fell apart under her merciless
scrutiny. Hardened criminals in the witness box
were known to become rattled by her incisive cross-
examination, her swift rejoinders and her rapid-fire
speech, propositions pouring out one after the other
in quick succession, tripping up the deceitful in their
own web of lies.”
Carmona asked: “How do you sum up the life of
someone as remarkable as Dana Seetahal?
“Coming as we are just out of a period of national
mourning, there is a recognition that words and
speeches, no matter their eloquence, cannot fully
capture the accomplishments and impact of a person’s
“The only way possible is to ensure that their
legacy, the things they stood and fought for, is not
shelved and forgotten. Dana stood for many things
but what she fought for is what defines her,” he
Friday, May 9, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Carmona to Govt:
Deal with crime
Family members bear the casket of Dana Seetahal, SC, on its arrival at the Aramalaya
Presbyterian Church, Tunapuna, for her funeral service yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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