Monday, February 19, 2018

...Hailed by senators as a trailblazer

Dana Seetahal was a woman who blazed trails and smashed glass ceilings in service to country, says Independent Senator Dr Rolph Balgobin.

Praises poured yesterday as the Senate paid tribute to Seetahal, a former independent senator who was gunned down on Sunday.

Balgobin had also served in the Senate during Seetahal’s tenure.

Yesterday, he recalled Seetahal’s service, describing her as a “diminutive giant”.

Noting that she was an advocate for peace but did “violence” to a great many things, he said: “She took sledgehammer to the glass ceiling, making her mark as a senior counsel, she was a steadfast  magistrate and a strong senator, blazing trails wherever she went. She challenged the status quo in her ascent and when she got to the top she stayed there.”

“Trinidad and Tobago may not yet fully appreciate what it has lost but I can say without fear or contradiction that Dana Seetahal’s passing has made every single citizen of this republic significantly poorer,” said Balgobin.

Balgobin said Seetahal put everything into her work because of her love for country and her murder was a “calculated act of violence against one whose life’s struggle was against violence”.

“Senator Seetahal was no quitter and I think the most fitting tribute we can give to her is to not shirk in fear,” added Balgobin.

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan again praised Seetahal in his tribute at the Senate sitting.

“She remained to her last day an indefatigable and tireless worker in the vanguard for the reform and development of the criminal justice system,” he said.

He said his ,ministry lost critical support as Seetahal was currently assisting him with important and sensitive work on a number of legislative measures to help with the fight against crime and improve the administration of justice.

He said further that Seetahal was independent and fearless in sharing her opinion on public controversies even though this would have disqualified her from getting briefs on these issues.

“But  that was the measure of the woman, she was not about to let any matter pass her by without her saying a piece,” he said.

He said Seetahal was not afraid to stand up for country as she was the special prosecutor, representing the people against the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen for just recompense arising out of the 1990 coup attempt.

Opposition Senator Faris Al-Rawi said the nation should not let a small group of cowards attack the nation’s democracy.

He said Seetahal’s murder was a message to all the people that they should be afraid.

He said Seetahal’s legacy must be embraced and the country should not accept this.

“We should stand ever defiant in the face of criminality, we should stand every defiant in the face of cowardice. We should be encouraged by the legacy, life and example of Dana Saroop Seetahal,” said Al-Rawi.