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One of region’s leading legal minds shot to death in T&T

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Tue May 6, 2014

Editor: Why should someone be killed for effectively doing his or her job? It is being suggested that Dana Seetahal, the Trinidadian senior counsel, was brutally murdered for being a forceful prosecutor in a sensitive murder trial, where a businesswoman, Virda Naipal Coolman was murdered and her body chopped into pieces.{{more}}

Seetahal was a class mate of mine for four years at Cave Hill in Barbados between 1975 and 1977 and Hugh Wooding Law School from 1977-79. She was not only brilliant, but friendly and public spirited. She taught many Vincentians Criminal Procedure at the Hugh Wooding Law School. She was known in Guyana as a member of the Linden Commission of Inquiry, which was chaired by retired Jamaican judge, K. Wolfe, with retired Guyana chancellor Cecil Kennard, former Justice of Appeal Claudette Singh, and Jamaica Queen’s Counsel, K.D. Knights being the other members.

She was the author of a text on Criminal Procedure in the Commonwealth Caribbean and served as independent senator in the twin island republic. She was known for her brilliance and government and other government agencies and large corporations often sought her advice. An excellent prosecutor, hence the reason why the DPP retained her to lead the prosecution team, along with another classmate, Israel Khan, SC, in the Coolman murder trial which attracted regional interest.

She is the second attorney to have been shot and killed within the past year in Port of Spain. Wesley Dabydeen was murdered in broad daylight and so far no one has been arrested. 19 years ago Selwyn Richardson, attorney general, was murdered and no one has been charged in connection with the assassination.

Dana was very friendly as a student. She wore a baseball cap which prompted fellow student Johnny Fung a Fatt, now deputy chief legal draftsman in Guyana to nickname her “Bourda,” because he said she dressed like a market vendor. Clarissa Riehel, now a lawmaker in Guyana, was also fond of her. She later became one of the leading legal minds in the region.

Dana was gunned down exactly a month after the passing of a close friend and colleague, Dr Joseph Archibald, QC, of the British Virgin Islands who was a legal icon in the Caribbean and whose name was inscribed in the Rules of Law Monument among 18 names of outstanding Members of the World Jurist Association and donors of the Monument which stands in St Magarethen, Austria.

Bar Associations throughout the region have condemned the brutal murder of one of its hardworking and dedicated members.

Oscar Ramjeet

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