Saturday, December 16, 2017

Murder most foul

Express editorial logo400

Mark Fraser

The execution of Dana Seetahal, Senior Counsel and Express columnist, has rattled the country’s composure and set nerves on edge under a descending pall of grief and anxiety over the land.

Ms Seetahal’s reputation as an attorney of substance and a public figure of stature made her a respected and familiar personality to the public at large. The extent of that familiarity is nowhere as marked as on social media where individuals from all walks of life have been mourning her death and expressing their shock over the manner in which she was so brutally gunned down. For many, the killing of Dana Seetahal SC has catapulted the country over a new and dangerous threshold. If she could be gunned down like this, many are asking, what might be the fate of the rest of us?

Added to shock and fear is the public cynicism that is being openly expressed about the capacity of the T&T Police Service to solve this crime. No doubt, such cynicism has been fuelled by the lack of resolution in several highly publicised cases.

Acting Commissioner Stephen Williams must be aware of how much he and his officers have riding on this investigation in terms of public confidence. While every murder is one too many, and to every victim justice should be due, Ms Seetahal’s murder represents a criminal temerity and brazenness which, if left unchecked, has the potential for spinning this country dangerously out of control. For this reason, the acting CoP must move swiftly to ensure that this murder is solved.

CrimeStoppers’ prompt initiative in posting a one million dollar reward for information leading to successful prosecution in this case is to be applauded.

Over a career marked by honours and distinctions, including that of Independent Senator over three terms, Dana Seetahal was many things including a member of the Trinidad Express family of writers. For us, she was that rare public servant and professional who was ever ready to engage and enlighten the public interest.

She gave generously of her unique combination of experience in legal practice, administration and academia. Over the years, our readers benefited tremendously from our journalists’ easy access to her wealth of experience and expert knowledge of the law. For us, therefore, Ms Seetahal’s death is a deep and personal loss.

To her family, we express our deepest condolences. We can only imagine the shock at their sudden loss and the overwhelming extent of their grief at this time.

Dana Seetahal was the embodiment of the life fully lived. As a woman in the field of law, she stood out from early as a state prosecutor and magistrate. As a lecturer in Criminal Practice and Procedure, she influenced a generation of law students while as an Independent Senator, she brought her knowledge, experience and insight to the service of the national community. In establishing her own chambers, she demonstrated an inspiring level of independence and enterprise.

Dana Seetahal SC will be greatly missed. May her memory live on in the lives and work of those she touched. And may those who so cruelly ended her life be brought to justice.

Rest In Peace.