Reward for info on Seetahal murder now TT$3.5M

(Trinidad Express) Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said last evening that her Government is offering an additional TT$2.5 million to anyone who can help with information leading to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of those involved in the murder of senior counsel Dana Seetahal.

This is in addition to the TT$1 million reward being offered by CrimeStoppers.

And should the investigation require foreign resources and expertise, that too would be provided by the State, Persad-Bissessar said.

Persad-Bissessar, who is also chairperson of the National Security Council (NSC), called an emergency meeting of the NSC at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital yesterday.

She convened the meeting in reaction to the shooting death of Seetahal on Sunday morning. Following the meeting, a media briefing was held at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital at 6.30 pm.

Earlier, Government ministers began arriving at the facility at 3.30 pm, among them Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, Minister of National Security Gary Griffith, Trade and Communications Minister Vasant Bharath, Justice Minister Emmanuel George, Works and Infrastructure Minister Surujrattan Rambachan, Housing Minister Roodal Moonilal, Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine and Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar. Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams, Chief  of Defence Staff Major General Kenrick Maharaj, and Bisnath Maharaj, director of the Strategic Security Agency (SSA) also attended the meeting.

Persad-Bissessar said a “big investigating team” was assigned to the Seetahal murder case.

“The Government agreed we will contribute to CrimeStoppers.           For information leading to arrest and prosecution TT$1 million has been offered. The Government will now offer a further incentive in terms of getting human evidence – TT$2.5 million with respect to arrest, prosecution and conviction. It is all very well to get the information and intelligence but what is important is to sustain what comes forward into conviction,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar said the NSC was briefed on the status of the investigations into Seetahal’s murder by Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams. She said Williams had accepted the offer for foreign expertise to be sourced if necessary.

Persad-Bissessar added, “It will not be prudent for us at this stage of the investigation to go into the operational aspects of the investigations because that would be foolhardy and reckless on our part. It is the right thing to do at this stage of the investigation.”

She said the NSC was also briefed on the technological aspects of the investigations including audio and video aspects. “We had placed great priorities on the replacement  of deficient CCTV cameras and through the legal operations of the SSA (Strategic Services Agency) there is audio evidence that will come forward,” she said.

Persad-Bissessar said the death of Seetahal was a direct attack on someone who has operated within the criminal justice system. “And therefore it goes far into the functioning of our country, nation and people,” she said.

Williams assured the public that everything possible would be done to ensure that the investigation was completed in the shortest possible time. He advised the media to refrain from using information not relevant to the case, including information that a panel van was involved in the killing.

Persad-Bissessar said that following an urgent meeting with Griffith, security would be provided to any member of the Judiciary seeking protection. She said several persons have already been provided with protection.

Asked why the high profile meeting was being held in San Fernando, Persad-Bissesar said the executive floor of the San Fernando Teaching Hospital was previously used for Cabinet meetings and the Government would continue to meet at the facility.

Autopsy: Two shots to head, one to chest

Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal was hit five times—twice to the right side of her head, once to her chest, and twice to the right arm.

This was confirmed yesterday by pathologist Dr Hughvon Des Vignes in a brief interview  with investigative journalist Mark Bassant.

The injuries, the pathologist said, would have killed her almost immediately and were all caused by the same weapon. He however did not confirm if death was caused by 5.56 ammunition as previously reported in the media.

Fifteen spent shells were recovered along O’Connor Street, Woodbrook where Seetahal was murdered just after midnight on Sunday.

The autopsy was performed on Sunday morning at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, mere moments after Seetahal’s body was removed from O’Connor Street and took about two hours to be completed.

Latest in Regional News

default placeholder

Jamaica not preparing to leave Caricom, says Holness

(Jamaica Observer) Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday launched his promised Caricom Review Commission and immediately dismissed speculation that Jamaica is preparing to pull out of the regional economic bloc.

A basket of local onions is on display beside Don McGlashan, director general in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Agriculture, in Old Harbour, St Catherine.

Jamaican farms aiming for 40% of onion market

(Jamaica Gleaner) Three years ago, Jamaica was producing just six per cent of the onions consumed locally. Now it’s meeting 10-12 per cent of demand, but that’s still around a quarter of the levels agriculture officials aim to reach.

default placeholder

‘Jamaica is T&T’s ATM’ – Mahfood slams one-way CARICOM benefits

(Jamaica Gleaner) “Jamaica has been the ATM for Trinidad and Tobago.” That’s the claim from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), which has indicated that it wants Jamaica to use the upcoming Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Summit to push forcefully for changes that will “rebalance trading relationships” in the 15-member group.

William Mahfood

‘Jamaica is T&T’s ATM’ – Mahfood slams one-way CARICOM benefits

(Jamaica Gleaner) “Jamaica has been the ATM for Trinidad and Tobago.” That’s the claim from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), which has indicated that it wants Jamaica to use the upcoming Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Summit to push forcefully for changes that will “rebalance trading relationships” in the 15-member group.

default placeholder

Trump vows to reopen, or scrap, NAFTA pact with Canada and Mexico

MONESSEN, Pennsylvania/WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump yesterday vowed to force Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement with the United States – or scrap it – if elected, as part of an effort to protect and restore American jobs.

default placeholder

Sweet potato experts win World Food Prize

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Four scientists who specialized in sweet potatoes were named the winners of this year’s World Food Prize yesterday for their work to make foods more nutritious.

default placeholder

Sanders back in U.S. Senate, blasts ‘colonialism’ in Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders brought his firebrand rhetoric back to the floor of the Senate yesterday to condemn a White House-backed bill on Puerto Rico’s financial crisis as “colonialism at its worst.” Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who turned an unlikely presidential bid into a political movement to combat inequality, warned that legislation due for a crucial Senate vote on Wednesday would subject Puerto Rico to Republican trickle-down economics and favor “vulture capitalists” at the expense of the island’s increasingly impoverished population.

default placeholder

Man arrested in Brazil for attempt to douse Olympic torch

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – A man has been arrested for trying to extinguish the Olympic torch by throwing a bucket of water over it as it passed through his farming town of Maracaju in central Brazil, an officer at the local police station said yesterday.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: