While Trinidad and Tobago knew Dana Seetahal as a fearless, independent woman of the law, to her family she was a sister and aunt who was the rock of the family and embodiment of love.
Seetahal had ten brothers and sisters and a number of nephews and nieces, some of whom recounted how she impacted on their lives and imparted her values to them.
“Up to last Sunday morning I had five sisters, now I have four. My sister, who was brutally taken from us, was our guiding light,” said Seetahal’s sister, Susan François, head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
She said she could speak words of the loss and devastation the family feels but they would be woefully inadequate.
“We would shed tears that she has gone but we would smile because she has lived. We will open our eyes and see all she has left and we will cherish her memory and let it live on. Go with God, my sister” said an emotional Francois.
Seven of Seetahal’s nephews and nieces paid tribute to their aunt, revealing how she cared for each of them deeply in her own special way.
They spoke of how she taught them to read, how she instilled values, how she would call to check up on them and be their guide and inspiration.
Seetahal’s nephew, Devanand Persad, recounted how she taught him the alphabet and always encouraged him to speak proper English.
“My aunt loved us in a way that she pushed the limits of what I thought love can be. My mum is a super woman and she loved us, but for somebody not being my mum she was very maternal with all of us, not just with her nieces and nephews, but with every single member of her family,” he said.
Seetahal, said Persad, taught them about fearlessness and to live freely.
“Aunty and I, we planned this chess game and I’ve been preparing for months to play her. It seems as though I will spend some more time preparing to play her until we meet again because there were never any goodbyes between us.”
Seetahal, he said, was not dead in spirit.
“I can clearly say this now, there has never been and there will never be a calibre of bullet or ammunition to extinguish my aunt in any way,” he said.
“You can’t kill an idea, this is impossible and she’s an idea in time and in space and I will always hold this and I’m sure almost everyone here today she lives in your consciousness, she’s not dead, no, no, that’s just the body, bullets can’t do that,” he added.
Persad said he searched the meaning of Seetahal’s name, Dana, and he found the Persian meaning was intelligent and wise.
The Hebrew meaning, he said, was “God will judge me or God is my judge”.
Seetahal’s name, he said, will live on.