Attorney’s murder a “well-orchestrated hit” says Trinidad security minister

Gary-GriffithPORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday May 5, 2014, CMC – National Security Minister Gary Griffith has pledged every resource necessary to solve Sunday’s murder of senior counsel Dana Seetahal.

The National Security Minister has described the attorney’s murder as a “well-orchestrated hit,” adding that her death is an immeasurable loss to her profession, the country and the region.

Griffith said he has advised the acting Police Commissioner, Stephen Williams to use all the resources available to him to solve the crime.
“We will not rest until those who have committed this most unspeakable act is brought to justice,” he said in a statement.

In response to the slaying, Williams said:  “It’s shocking. Crime is a concern especially violent crime. It’s a shocking incident, one you least expect. I had a conversation with her at around 12.45 pm on Saturday and everything was fine.”

The acting police commissioner said he had been apprised of the killing and head of Homicide ACP Wayne Dick has been in constant communication with him. Williams assured there will be a thorough investigation, and that his officers are on the scene doing a basic investigation.

Meanwhile, a TT$1 million reward is being offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in Seetahal’s murder.

The police report that early Sunday, just after midnight, the attorney was in her Volkswagen SUV in Woodbrook, just on the outskirts of the capital, when two vehicles pulled alongside her causing her to come to a stop. One of the vehicles, then drove ahead a short distance and pulled across the road, blocking it.

The other vehicle pulled alongside Seetahal’s vehicle and the occupants opened fire .The residents alerted the police and emergency health services but when they arrived the senior counsel was dead.

The murder has sent shockwaves across the twin island republic. The Law Association, of which Seetahal was a former President, said she contributed significantly to the development of the criminal law, practice and procedure.

“The Association is concerned about the level of crime and strongly condemns the murder of Ms. Seetahal SC and calls for a speedy and thorough investigation into the matter by the Police,” the association said in a release.

Politicians have also been reacting to her death. The United National Congress says it’s shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the brutal assassination of Dana Seetahal.

“The legal profession has lost a fearless and fiercely independent professional whose work both as a lawyer, legislator and a columnist in a daily newspaper was able to bring to light important national issues with clarity,” the party said in a release.

“Her sudden an untimely passing is a reminder of the dangers lurking in our society that threatens every citizen. We have every confidence that the police service would investigate this murder and find and prosecute her killers to the full extent of the law,” the UNC said.

Jack Warner, political Leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) said “It is a sad day for Trinidad and Tobago.

“It tells you that crime is no respecter of persons or places. This has shown how low we have descended as a people. It might be a vain hope but my sincere hope that those who committed this will be brought to justice. My sympathies go to the family and the legal fraternity. Her death has left a void in the legal fraternity that cannot be easily filled.”

Warner said the murder is a “jolting reminder of the tragic state of affairs in the country with regard to the crime situation and overall public safety.”

The ILP leader said he hopes no effort will be spared in bringing the persons behind Seetahal’s death to justice and that it will no longer be “business as usual” in dealing with the issues of the criminal justice system.

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