Dana’S Murder: A Cold Case Now Frozen

(MENAFN- Caribbean News Global) By Johnny Coomansingh

In shock and awe , my Trini brother-in-law read aloud to me the story about Dana Seetahal's horrible murder. Dana Saroop Seetahal SC born July 8, 1955, was an independent senator in the Trinidad and Tobago Senate.

On May 4, 2014, at 12:05 am, Seetahal was assassinated while driving her Volkswagen Touareg SUV in the vicinity of the Woodbrook Youth Club, port of Spain, Trinidad. She was shot five times.

It's 2024, and I will bet my bottom dollar that the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) will never catch the shooter(s). This case has gone cold! Too cold! This cold case, it seems, is now frozen. The Arctic ice cap is thawing, even parts of Greenland, but Dana's case is now permafrost!

Let me state here and now to all her relatives and to those who hold her dear to their hearts that despite her assassination, Dana is in a better place; a place where only martyrs dwell. Dana has joined the ranks of people such as Mahatma Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi, and Joan of Arc. We will continue to love and honour you Dana.

In my last letter to one of the dailies, I declared:“You know it, and I know it that Trinidad and Tobago is in a crisis. Crisis situations require crisis solutions.” Crime is still the number one problem in our country; a literal crisis! Is there a solution? Do we have the testicular fortitude to fight back?

Do not look to the 'government' because we are the government! In such a small country, barely 2000 square miles and a population of just about 1.4 million people there is great difficulty with finding those who commit murders. Tobago has now joined the fray. There were four murders in the village of Black Rock, just two days ago. Men were playing cards and four were shot. Three died on the spot and one died in the hospital. What a life! What a country to live in.

Since Dana's murder, the country saw to date (July 09, 2024) 5126 murders with too many unsolved. This averages 512.6 murders per year. On said date, Ian Alleyne's Crime Watch aired on television at 6:00 pm EST posted 312 murders. It's not yet the middle of July! This is catastrophic! How many of these murder cases have gone cold? There is something sinister operating in the system and all that is left to conclude is that 'something is in the mortar beside the pestle.'

When I read her columns, Dana was a breath of fresh air. The way she seasoned her thoughts was par excellence. She was, as we say today, 'thinking outside the box.' Dana was fearless; she understood her environment. She was not only a good attorney...she was smart, an example to us all. I remember in one story she cautioned jurors to“hearken to the evidence.”

Her level of perception in filtering out the lies, half-truths, and innuendoes was unmatched (New York Carib News, 22/08/2012). Dana was the exception to the rule, leaving for us a legacy of bravery and honesty; true grit! Yes, she left a tough, straight and narrow road of righteousness for all of us to follow. She called a spade a spade, knowing full well the consequences. She did not deal in transition zones, nor did she follow a multitude to do evil. To her there was right and there was wrong. It could be that she was on to something 'interesting' and someone wanted to silence her permanently.

Who is it that dares to step into Dana's shoes? Who will be so brave now to take up her mantle and fight for Trinidad and Tobago as she fought? Who will wear her cap? Will we now cower and sit in a corner bound by our steel fabricated windows, doors, gated communities, and high-tech security systems and not cry out for justice in our land? It is time Trinidad and Tobago. It is high time!

We must take back control of our country because the evil, wicked and ungodly 'rats' will overrun the rest of us. These rats are biting hard into our security and happiness in this land! It's high time we hire a Pied Piper with a good flute. Why must citizens be living like the agouti with evil dogs in the chase every day? Murders, banditry, kidnappings, grand theft auto, and home invasions are now everyday affairs. It seems that the hands of the TTPS are manacled; as they say, 'tie up like market crab.'

Dana's blood was split for all of us, all of us who wait on some magic healing powder to dust over the land where gun-toting criminals and their heinous, abhorrent, cowardly crimes strike fear at the very core of our society. Our children live and witness the paucity of common sense that stalks the land, the collective will to fight back against the tide of evil that has overtaken our wonderful islands. Many of us are possessed; possessed with fear for our lives.

External forces are relentlessly pressing hard and severe on our beautiful shores bringing the bad tidings and the realities of illegal drugs, guns, human trafficking, and other forms of illicit activities and we stand as though in a stupor, powerless, frightened, too frozen, like deer in the headlights. Our borders are secure like a colander... so many holes.

This is not about politics. This is about people and their security. Basdeo Panday, former prime minister of the state was correct when he quipped that Trinidad and Tobago is a“failed state.” But what is a failed state? Citing explicitly from Wikipedia here is a description or simple explanation to those who need to know:“According to the political theories of Max Weber, a state could be said to“succeed” if it maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within its borders. When this is broken (e.g., through the dominant presence of warlords, paramilitary groups, gangs, or terrorism), the very existence of the state becomes dubious, and the state becomes a failed state.

Typically, the term means that the state has been rendered ineffective and is not able to enforce its laws uniformly or provide basic goods and services to its citizens because of (variously) high crime rates, extreme political corruption, an impenetrable and ineffective bureaucracy, judicial ineffectiveness, military interference in politics, and cultural situations in which traditional leaders wield more power than the state over a certain area. Other factors of perception may be involved. A derived concept of“failed cities” has also been launched, based on the notion that while a state may function in general, polities at the sub-state level may collapse in terms of infrastructure, economy and social policy. Certain areas or cities may even fall outside state control, becoming a de facto ungoverned part of the state.”

Is Trinidad and Tobago really a failed state? I leave us all, all who are intelligent, and even those who did not attend any special fancy political class at tertiary institutions to unravel the mystery about what is Trinidad and Tobago today. If we say that we are not living in terror then we have keeled over, accepted the status quo, and continue to lie to ourselves. It was Marshal McLuhan who said:“Fish is the last animal on Earth to discover water.” My mother once said to me:“What we could see in the day, do not wait till night to take a candle to see.”

Are we waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel? First, we should ask ourselves who built that tunnel and then collectively, and cooperatively, take the tunnel apart. Guess what, with the tunnel gone, we will all have the light to see where we are going. Don't stand too long waiting for the light. Light is there for all of us; seize the day for the night comes.

Are we seeing clearly in Trinidad and Tobago or are the scales of ignorance and cognitive dissonance still covering our eyes? It will surely do the people of Trinidad and Tobago to listen again and again, the messages that calypsonian that Lynette Steele (sobriquet-Lady Gypsy) presented: Plight of my People, Meet Me on the Pavement, and Political Cemetery. Too many times we the people of Trinidad and Tobago have thrown caution to the wind.

Dana gave her blood, her life for us. We did not expect such a tragic end for one of our sweethearts; no we could not think that this could have happened! The false sense of security that pervades the atmosphere of our democratic, twin-island state is likened unto a cloud of smoke in the nostrils of God. God has to sneeze! Our country has come under the odium of spiritual decadence and remorselessness, leaving in its train terrible events like drive-by shootings, one of which took our precious Dana away from us...so unbearable. How many more must die before we stem the tsunami of evil that is drowning all of us? Will Dana's case remain forever frozen?

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