PORT-OF-SPAIN: The murder of prominent Trinidadian attorney Dana Seetahal has sent shockwaves across the region.
Seetahal, a senior counsel attorney and former independent legislator, was shot to death early Sunday morning on the outskirts of Port-of- Spain.
In Guyana, President Donald Ramotar was alarmed at the news of the execution-style killing of the attorney.
Seetahal was well known in Guyana’s legal fraternity and also sat on the Linden Commission of Inquiry in Guyana.
In 2012, the Government of Guyana retained the services of Seetahal to the Commission to investigate the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the unrest in the mining town of Linden, the shooting deaths of three protesters and the damage to state and private properties.
Jamaican attorney and former Minister of National Security and Justice, K.D. Knight, expressed shock at Seetahal’s death.
Knight, who also sat on the Linden Commission of Inquiry in Guyana, said he knew Seetahal for more than 20 years.
“I really am distraught, I knew Dana Seetahal very well, from (when) I was Minister of National Security and Justice, we arranged training for judiciary and others in the justice system,” said Knight. “We served together in Guyana and we were in contact from time to time. It has hit hard.”
The Trinidad-based Movement for Social Justice has also reacted to the assassination. In a statement released on Sunday, the organization said the killing of Seetahal is “a further reflection of the abyss into which the country has descended and is not a random act of violence, but a targeted assassination of a very visible public figure”.
The organization has expressed concern that assassinations are not new in the country and noted the murder of another prominent member of the legal fraternity, Attorney Dr. Wesley Debideen, nine months ago.
“For the most part no one has been brought to justice for these targeted assassinations…there is little comfort in the fact that this matter remains unresolved,” it said.
The Movement of Social Justice added that the state has not lived up to its responsibilities for addressing many of the ills in the society.
“The state has abandoned its responsibility for the development of many depressed communities in Trinidad &Tobago and left them to the law of the jungle,” the release said.
Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley expressed shock at the incident.
“While the killing of any citizen is a tragedy that must never be minimized or ignored, it will be even more disturbing if it cannot be categorically determined that the assault on Ms. Seetahal had nothing to do with her job as a prosecutor on behalf of all the people, in matters against the criminal element,” said Dr. Rowley. “It is my hope that the Security Services will leave no stone unturned in their effort to understand and solve this crime and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
A reward of TT $1 million is being offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in Seetahal’s murder.