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‘Bishops’ pays tribute to ex-pupil Dana

By By Carla Bridglal carla.bridglal@trinidadexpress.com

Dana Seetahal loved Bishop Anstey High School (BAHS) and her alma ma­ter loved her right back.

The former Old Hillarian, who was brutally murdered on May 4 in Woodbrook as she was returning home, was celebrated as the embodi­ment of what a “Bishops” girl should be by her former school­mates and other friends, who held a memorial service for her yesterday at the

All Saints Anglican Church, Marli Street, Port of Spain. 

Seetahal attended BAHS from 1966 to 1973. 

Leading the tributes was Seetahal’s sister Susan Fran­cois. Francois recalled how hard her sister worked to pass for her first-choice school—even attaining a scho­larship for her efforts. And from the time she re-

ceived her school ring in Form Six, Francois remem-

bered it never left See­tahal’s finger until the day she died.

Francois quoted the school hymn, “Who would true val­our see”, words she said per­fect­ly embodied Seetahal’s spirit. 

“She lived the vow she took as a lawyer; she was an inspiring lecturer, men­­tor,

ad­vocate for what she be-

lieved in. She was a hard taskmaster, and those she loved most, including her sib-

­­­­lings and nieces and neph­ews, were all familiar with the ‘Dana bouff’...but she always remained caring and

humble,” Francois said fondly. 

Delivering remarks on behalf of the school’s board of management was Wanda Bernard, and evoking trea­sured memories about school

days relatable to every Bish­op’s girl in the congregation, Dr Jennifer Rouse brought remarks on behalf of the Alum­nae Association. 

Anglican Bishop the Right Rev Claude Berkley delivered the homily, based on the gos­pel reading from John, chap­ter 11, verses 21-27, where Jesus raised Laza­rus from the dead. 

“With Jesus, we have  hope. Hope that we can

re­co­ver from this (Old West)

style state of affairs where

boun­ties are offered; that

Dana’s murder will force

a trans­for­mation of life in

this coun­try. We have hope

that law and order must be

encou­raged and enforced,

that all must be subject to the rule of law, not untouchables. We have hope that prayer and social justice will regain pri­ority in our lives. We have hope that Dana’s death will not be in vain,” Berkley said.

As the country seeks to deal with the shock and hurt at this “complex situation” of crime in the country, put in perspective by Seetahal’s murder, Berkley said there was a series of “iffing”, trying to find an explanation for the grievous strike among us. 

“It seems as if no one is

safe and there is nothing that can be done. This is an assault on our sovereignty, dignity and citizenship. The

Consti­tution offers us cer­tain

rights as citizens but what good are they if we are unable

to exercise them responsi­-

bly? Our sister, Dana, em­braced her rights and free­doms whole-hear­ted­­ly and served her country well. All

she stood for—was that a rea­son to kill her? Be­cause she was a good character? Wasn’t she taught and trained to be like that,” he said.

Seetahal spoke the truth, he said, not her truth but the truth.

“But we know how the

world deals with truth. The

world tries to kill the truth and

its bearers. This is what was

done to Jesus and any other who would dare to share and represent truth—they would suffer. Our world history is testimony to that. It is the way

of the strong, faithful, brave

and game-chan­gers of this

world—truth-telling. And this is what we will embrace as we com­memorate this great person who lived among us,” he said.

Concluding the service, the Lydians Choir performed a rousing rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Han­del’s Messiah.

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