(Trinidad Guardian) This is the text of the statement issued this afternoon by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on the murder of Dana Seetahal, SC:
“It is with profound sadness and shock that I learned of the tragic death of a dear friend and colleague, Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal.
“It is a reprehensible act which has robbed us all of one of our nation’s best and brightest daughters. “Even those who never met Dana Seetahal would recognise her through the life she lived and the proud legacy now left.
“There is an abyss of loss and sadness for this brutal removal of a sister, friend, legal luminary and fearless, independent thinker on national issues. “As Prime Minister, I am resolutely committed to meeting the viciousness with which Dana Seetahal’s brilliant life was cut down on the terms she would have wanted and fought so courageously and fearlessly for every day.
“Dana Seetahal would have uncompromisingly sought justice and made her voice known.
“Dana Seetahal would have made her tragedy an impetus and symbol for sweeping changes.
“Dana Seetahal would have fought with her last breath to ensure justice was served.
“By our response, let us preserve that legacy.
“This outrageous act of brutality cannot be concluded by mere expressions of regret and sympathy.
“I have enjoined the Minister of National Security to ensure that every resource of the law enforcement machinery of the state is utilised in relentless pursuit of apprehending those involved in this most dastardly and heinous act.
“Further, I have convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, of which I am the head.
“Yet further, I have spoken with the Honourable Chief Justice Mr Ivor Archie and we have agreed to meet in order to devote urgent attention to necessary reforms in the criminal justice system and security issues connected there with.
“Dana’s tragic passing brings to an end the work and life of a legal and academic giant whose contributions to our nation were far from complete.
“The legal profession, and indeed our country and region have lost a truly remarkable daughter of Trinidad& Tobago.
“As a lawyer, her success and the high regard she earned from her colleagues were testaments to her determination to boldly uphold and defend the rule of law
“As a former Independent Senator, she demonstrated the highest principles and values of independent thinking, grounded in her love and passion for the future of our country.
“Dana also served her country and our citizens as a magistrate, as president of the Law Association, as a state prosecutor, and as Assistant Solicitor General.
“Indeed, she was also a leading advocate for education and as a Fulbright Scholar and lecturer at the Hugh Wooding Law School, became a guiding light to many young graduates.
“She earned a sterling reputation as a leading opinion-maker on national issues of law, constitution and criminal justice.
“For the role she played in parliamentary, legal and indeed national leadership, Dana will always be remembered fondly. We have lost someone who never allowed herself to be defined by the change she advocated, and whose courage and boldness will always stand as an inspiration for today’s and tomorrow’s legal professionals.
“I send my most heartfelt condolences to her family and closest friends and wish them, on behalf of the nation, God’s blessings and guidance in this time of deep grief and loss.
“May her soul rest in peace.”