National Security Minister Gary Griffith says US Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield’s assessment that the murder of State prosecutor Dana Seetahal, SC, was an organised hit was similar to his (Griffith’s) initial assessment of the homicide.
Griffith also said “specific agencies in the United States” are assisting “us in this crime”.
In a telephone interview with TV6 News just before he left London, England, last evening, Griffith was at first cautious to respond to Brownfield’s declaration Seetahal’s murder was the result of the actions of “a criminal organisation with a presence in Trinidad and Tobago”.
“No, unfortunately, I would not be able to until I actually return to Trinidad and Tobago later this evening (yesterday).
“I would obviously want to see the actual extract of the information and know exactly what was said by the Assistant Secretary of State.
“However, based on what he has said, I think it is really no different to my initial comments, which stated how the actual murder took place,” Griffith said.
During a media teleconference on Tuesday with local journalists to discuss US-Caribbean security cooperation, Ambassador Brownfield said Seetahal’s murder was “quite clearly not a crime of passion”.
“This was a carefully planned operation and there’s only one kind of entity that does contract murders of this sort of degree of sensitivity, and that is organised crime.
“Now am I saying that it was an international player that ordered it? No. I am saying that it was a criminal organisation that clearly had a presence in Trinidad and Tobago which decided to perform this repulsive and repugnant act,” Brownfield said.
Griffith said he recalled having said immediately after Seetahal’s murder that was not an action based “on a whim and fancy”.
“It was based on a proper organisational structure and it was well planned and it was well orchestrated. That then means it was an organised crime and that is what I think I have heard from the Assistant Secretary of State.
“So it is not different to what we have said and, again, I want to emphasise the fact that it is through the United States we are working with them and getting the assistance from a specific agency, from specific agencies in the United States to assist us in this crime,” Griffith said.