Sunday, May 4, 2014

Dana Seetahal - T'dad Guardian report/tribute

Dana Seetahal 
Following is the full text of the statement issued by the Ministry of the Attorney General on the passing of Dana Seetahal, SC, who was assassinated this morning in what police have described as a "professional" hit.

We have lost a titan. Dana Seetahal SC was a giant among men and women. Her carefree nature was matched by her sense of patriotism.
She was a public spirited lawyer who served her country in many different capacities including assistant solicitor general, lecturer, magistrate, prosecutor, independent senator, president of the Law Association,  newspaper columnist and author. Hers was a truly unbiased, independent voice that helped shape public opinion. Everyone respected and looked forward to hearing from her. The wisdom of her counsel provided guidance to the nation on critical issues.

Dana had a piercing intellect and a wonderful sense of humour. She was an excellent advocate in the courts and the consummate professional who was never afraid of hard work. She was married to her work and dedicated her entire life to the legal profession. Her pragmatic approach to life was reflected in her newspaper columns where she was able to simplify complex legal matters so that the average man could understand the issues.

I have lost a dear friend and colleague. Our last conversation was about her column in yesterday's Express. It provided support for me in the present controversy over the letter from the solicitor general. She was one of the few who came out in my defence and supported my position. It is a powerful reminder of the strength of her independence as she was not afraid to voice her opinion even if it meant swimming against the tide - she stood up for her beliefs.
The Ministry of the Attorney General has lost a critical support as Dana was assisting me with important and sensitive work on a number of legislative measures to help with the fight against crime and improve the administration of justice. She was instrumental in the new law to abolish preliminary inquiries and changes to the DNA Act. Last week, she helped us organise a workshop on plea bargaining with experts from the US.

Her death will leave a void in society and the legal profession. These are big shoes to fill. She was one of a kind. May her soul rest in peace.

Seetahal assassinated

The country woke up to news that a senior attorney at the criminal bar was gunned down this morning, in what police have described as a "professional" hit.

Police said Dana Seetahal was shot dead at about 12.05 am as she was driving north along Hamilton-Holder Street, Woodbrook when  two vehicles pulled alongside her causing her to come to a stop near the Woodbrook Youth Club.

One of the vehicles, a Nissan Wingroad, then drove ahead a short distance and pulled across the road, blocking it. The other vehicle, which was described as a panel van, pulled alongside and the occupants of that vehicle pulled out their firearms and opened fire on the SUV, police said.

The two vehicles then sped off. Residents of the area, on hearing several loud explosions, contacted the police and emergency health services, who arrived to find the senior counsel dead, slumped over in the driver seat.

ACP Wayne Dick, Senior Superintendent Ishmael David, Acting ASP Williams, Inspector Thomas, Inspector Veronique, Inspector Lawrence, and Inspector Rampersad, among others, visited the scene. Police are continuing investigations. No motive has emerged at this time.

The high-profile assasssination is not without precedent. In 1995, former attorney general Selwyn Richardson was assassinated by unknown assailants as he was entering his driveway at the end of his working day.


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