Dana family disappointed over Chaconia Gold
By COREY CONNELLY Sunday, August 31 2014
Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Susan Francois yesterday said her sister, slain Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal, should be awarded the nation’s highest award — the Order of TT — instead of the Chaconia Medal (Gold), for her selfless service to Trinidad and Tobago.
“I think she should have been awarded the highest honour,” a curt Francois told Sunday Newsday in a brief telephone interview after learning that her late sister is to receive a national award posthumously for her contribution to law at today’s Annual Independence Day Awards Ceremony at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, Port-of-Spain.
“She should have gotten the highest award, knowing that she risked her life and paid the ultimate price for her contribution and service to this country.” Nevertheless, Francois said her family was still grateful that a national award has been bestowed on her late sister.
“We appreciate the honour,” she said.
Francois said the family will not be able to attend today’s ceremony to accept the award on Seetahal’s behalf.
“Unfortunately, no one will be able to attend. Things just did not work out the way we intended in terms of attendance,” she said. Seetahal, 59, one of the country’s most respected legal minds, was shot and killed by assailants at about 12.05 am on May 4, while driving her silver-coloured Volkswagen SUV vehicle along Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook
The senior State Prosecutor had left the Ma Pau Casino, one of her favourite recreational spots, en route to her One Woodbrook Place apartment when the incident occurred.
Seetahal, who was also a former independent senator and avid jogger, was shot several times about the body in the vicinity of the Woodbrook Youth Facility. She died instantly.
Her killers remain at large, three months after the grisly incident.
Seetahal’s death triggered a nationwide outpouring of sympathy, particularly within the legal fraternity for which she had devoted much of her adult life.
Yesterday, former government minister Christine Sahadeo, one of Seetahal’s close friends, said she was happy for the acknowledgement.
“It is really good to know that she has been recognised and honoured for her contribution to Trinidad and Tobago,” said an emotional Sahadeo, a former minister in the Ministry of Finance.
Sahadeo called for Seetahal’s killers to be brought to justice.
“Justice must be served. The police and the country have a responsibility to ensure that justice is served and that the perpetrators of this act are caught. She deserves it,” she said.
Seetahal, who opened her own private firm, El Dorado Chambers, in Port-of-Spain in 2008, was also a columnist at a daily newspaper.