US insists murder of T&T prosecutor was organised

US insists murder of T&T prosecutor was organised

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — A senior United States official says prominent attorney Dana Seetahal was murdered earlier this year in a "well planned and orchestrated hit" by an international 'player' with a crime organisation presence in Trinidad and Tobago.

"It was not a crime of opportunity where someone felt they should steal her handbag and then found they had to shoot her. This was a well planned and orchestrated hit. This is not something you plan easily," said United States Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield during a teleconference with Caribbean journalists.

Seetahal was shot dead on May 4 after she left a casino for her home. No one has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder despite a TT$3.5 million ransom offered by the Trinidad and Tobago Government and Crime Stoppers for information leading to a prosecution in the death of the former special prosecutor and president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago.

Brownfield, who is responsible for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in the US Department of State, said that Seetahal had been murdered two days after he paid a visit to Trinidad and Tobago.

"Those in Trinidad would know that I visited your country two months ago and two days after I left there was the brutal murder of Ms Dana Seetahal. She was murdered by a transnational drug organisation," he said, adding the murder was committed by organised crime with an international player that has a crime organisation with presence in Trinidad and Tobago.

"I stand by what I say, this was quite clearly not a crime of passion, this was not a crime of opportunity. People did not just happen by and believe that they could steal her pocket book and then find that they had to open fire in order to accomplish this. This was a carefully planned operation," Brownfield said.

"...And there is only one kind of entity that does contract murders of this sort of degree of sensitivity and that is organised crime," Brownfield said, adding though that he was not suggesting that it was an international player who ordered the killing.

"I am saying that it was a criminal organisation that clearly had a presence in Trinidad and Tobago which decided to perform this repulsive and repugnant act," Brownfield said.

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