JENSEN LA VENDE and KALIFA CLYNE
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Daly: Juggling statistics won’t alter facts
Senior Counsel Martin Daly says criminals must not be allowed to carry out hits in broad daylight and then take a celebratory drink. He made the statement while commenting on the killing of Dana Seetahal, SC, yesterday. Saying he was grieved by the loss of his colleague and close friend, Daly described her murder as yet another example of the prevalence of impunity in the country, as he also referred to last week’s murder outside the Arima Magistrates Court.
“For years I have complained about the impunity with which all citizens, high and low, can just be murdered. So we have to keep the focus on the impunity with which these things are done. “Juggling with crime statistics does not alter the basic facts ... that life in Trinidad is worth nothing and a person can take your life and just laugh. I am not saying this because I am grieved, I have been saying this for ten years in my column ... what can you say?” Daly asked.
He said society had also fallen into a kind of indifference, whereby an incident could be soon forgotten. “For nine or ten days we moan and groan and talk about Dana and then we just move on to the next thing with nothing being resolved,” he said.
“All our governments, going back a long way, have set a standard where you measure the worth of a human being and you measure accomplishment by the acquisition of material goods. No thought has been given in improving the quality of our civilisation...we just don’t tackle the social-development things...we just buy material things, drive a big car, get a priority bus route pass.” On whether attorneys should have special protection, Daly disagreed, asking what made an attorney’s life different from that of another person.
“That is the sloppiness of the whole thinking. What makes an attorney’s life any different from a jockey or a dishwasher? “Should we protect doctors? They save lives. As much as I am a practising attorney, I recognise doctors save lives. So all the attorneys are going to jump up and down now with weak knees or with shaking knees and say, ‘Protect us’?” Daly asked. He said given the kinds of cases Seetahal was involved in she could have been the target of a hit. But this, he added, was the risk which came with the profession.
“If that is the occupational hazard of being an attorney in this country then we have to accept that. We can’t be jumping up and down and crying, ‘Give us special protection.’ “We have to attack the underlying conditions which make it possible for somebody to order a hit and for a hit to be carried out frequently in broad daylight with complete impunity.” He said social development policies and efficient and motivated law-enforcement officers were urgently needed.
“It has to matter that somebody, regardless of whether high or low, has been killed with impunity,” Daly added.