Why should someone be killed for effectively doing his or her job? Apparently Dana Seetahal, the Trinidadian Senior Counsel, was brutally murdered for being a forceful prosecutor in a sensitive murder trial where a businesswoman, Vindra Naipaul Coolman was murdered and her body was chopped into pieces.
Seetahal was a classmate of mine for four years at Cave Hill in Barbados between 1975 and 1977 and the Hugh Wooding Law School from 1977-79. She was not only brilliant, but friendly and public-spirited. She was known in Guyana as a member of the Linden Commission of Inquiry.
The Senior Counsel taught scores of Guyanese, Trinidadians, Vincentians, and other law students who attended the Hugh Wooding Law School where she served as Course Director in Criminal Practice and Procedure. 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 often sought for advice by the government and other government agencies and large corporations. 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. Wesley Dabydeen was murdered in broad daylight and so far no one has been arrested. Nineteen 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 to nickname her “Bourda” because he said she dressed like a market vendor.
She 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 his 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 Margarethen, Austria.