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Carmona to Govt: Deal with crime

Friday, May 9, 2014
Family members bear the casket of Dana Seetahal, SC, on its arrival at the Aramalaya Presbyterian Church, Tunapuna, for her funeral service yesterday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ

Deal with it! President Anthony Carmona telegraphed that message yesterday at the funeral of slain senior counsel Dana Seetahal, where he enhanced his plea for the Parliament to genuinely co-operate and engage in realistic bi-partisan methods to address crime. He voiced the appeal, standing near Seetahal’s wooden casket at the Aramalaya Presbyterian Church, Tunapuna. And he placed the plea before the congregation which included Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and People’s Partnership ministers as well as Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley and People’s National Movement members.


The church overflowed with dignitaries, including former president George Maxwell Richards, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, legal, judicial and political luminaries and other personalities who came to pay their respects to late special prosecutor Seetahal. Seetahal, 58, was assassinated early last Sunday morning while en route to her One Woodbrook Place apartment from Ma Pau casino, Ariapita Avenue. She was ambushed by culprits who fired several shots at her, killing her instantly. Up to yesterday’s funeral, four days after,  no arrests had been made nor had any concrete leads been divulged by authorities. Carmona’s address climaxed tributes from over 15 people, including a farewell ballad from soca star Machel Montano, a sermon from former Independent Senator Rev Daniel Teelucksingh, prayers from Father Clyde Harvey and Pundit Randhir Maharaj, plus a scripture reading from the Prime Minister.


On Seetahal’s murder, President Carmona said: “I, like many of you, am still in a state of shock and I am numb and cold with grief. “There are individuals that one would meet during one’s lifetime, some a flicker of light and others a constant glow. Dana’s defining attribute was that of a consistent glow.” Carmona added: “In our nation’s social evolution, fear and violence can create a perverse situation, feeding our insecurities, so that the less than honourable in our communities can benefit from the paranoia which restricts our freedom to enjoy our lives. 
“It was the late Nelson Mandela who said that courage was not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear.  
“Dana knew this and lived it. She knew that we must not allow ourselves to become victims of paranoia. That was not Dana’s way and it must not be ours.”

Collaboration key
Carmona said that in his address at the opening of the parliamentary term on August 2, 2013, he had spoken of crime continuing to be a scourge on T&T’s society. He added: “I exhorted the Parliament to genuinely co-operate and engage in realistic bi-partisan methods to address crime. Now I wish to enhance my plea. “We as a nation cannot sit idly by and watch as the blood of our people, man and woman, young and old, flows freely as a result of the actions of those who do not view life with any degree of sanctity. “Dana’s death is not the first that we as a nation have had to contend with. Others have lost daughters, mothers, sisters, sons, fathers, and brothers. “Every death by violence is one death too many. It was John Donne who wrote ‘any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind.’ “I urge not only those in and out of authority, but all citizens, to get further involved in the business of humanity.”


Carmona also said: “The time for action has come and passed. “In a strange way, I think Dana knew that and it is that knowledge that drove her to work indefatigably for many years in the DPP’s Office. “She became a prosecutor par excellence who recognised that justice is the one social ingredient without which civilised society cannot exist. This is a legacy that must be preserved. It is one which she was willing to die for.” He added: “To borrow from Donne once again, let us never send to know for whom the bell tolls. Rather let us undertake to ensure that the bells remain silent and if it is that they must ring, let them ring out the message that Dana Seetahal, SC, exemplified in her lifetime—justice for all.” 


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