PM: Reprehensible Act
PORT OF SPAIN – PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Chief Justice Ivor Archie have agreed to meet to devote urgent attention to necessary reforms in the criminal justice system and security issues connected there “following the assassination of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal” yesterday.
Persad-Bissessar also convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council at 3 p.m. today.Around 12.05 a.m. yesterday Seetahal was shot dead inside in her Volkswagen SUV near the Woodbrook Youth Facility after two vehicles pulled alongside causing her to stop.
Seetahal, a columnist with the Express newspaper, was a special State Prosecutor at the murder trial for Chaguanas businesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman which is ongoing at the Port of Spain High Court. Persad-Bissessar described Seetahal’s killing as a “reprehensible act” which has created an “abyss of loss and sadness”.
“It is with profound sadness and shock that I learned of the tragic death of a dear friend and colleague Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal,” Persad-Bissessar said in a release issued yesterday. “It is a reprehensible act which has robbed us all of one of our nation’s best and brightest daughters,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said Seetahal would be recognisable to even those who never met her because of her “proud legacy”.
“There is an abyss of loss and sadness for this brutal removal of a sister, friend, legal luminary and fearless, independent thinker on national issues,” Persad-Bissessar said.
Persad-Bissessar said she is committed to ensuring justice is sought in this matter, just like Seetahal would have wanted.
“As Prime Minister, I am resolutely committed to meeting the viciousness with which Dana Seetahal’s brilliant life was cut down on the terms she would have wanted and fought so courageously and fearlessly every day,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“Dana Seetahal would have uncompromisingly sought justice and made her voice known. Dana Seetahal would have made her tragedy an impetus and symbol for sweeping changes,” she said. “Dana Seetahal would have fought with her last breath to ensure justice was served. By our response let us preserve that legacy,” she said.
Persad-Bissessar said mere expressions of sympathy and regret are not enough.
“This outrageous act of brutality cannot be concluded by mere expressions of regret and sympathy,” Persad-Bissessar said. “I have enjoined with the Minister of National Security to ensure that every resource of the law enforcement machinery of the State is utilised in relentless pursuit of apprehending those involved in this dastardly and heinous act,” she said.
“Yet further I have spoken with Chief Justice Mr Ivor Archie and we have agreed to meet in order to devote urgent attention to necessary reform in the criminal justice system and security issues connected there with,” Persad-Bissessar said.
She said the legal profession and the country as a whole have lost a truly remarkable daughter of Trinidad and Tobago.
“We have lost someone who never allowed herself to be defined by the change she advocated and whose courage and boldness will always stand as an inspiration for today’s and tomorrow’s legal professionals,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“I send my most heartfelt condolences to her family and closest friends and wish them on behalf of the nation God’s blessings and guidance in this time of deep grief and loss,” she said. (Express)