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Opposition coalition appeals for calm in wake of political activist’s execution

Courtney Crum-Ewing (Kaieteur News photo)

The opposition coalition of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) on Wednesday appealed for calm, in the wake of the execution of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing.

“To the citizens of Guyana, we appeal for you to be both resolute and reasoned in your condemnation of the impunity with which human rights abuses are carried and condoned under the PPP.  Resist this dastardly and cowardly act of provocation.APNU+AFC appeals for calm in this trying time,” said the coalition in a statement.

Police confirmed that he was gunned down on Third Street, Diamond about 8 PM Tuesday while on a loud hailer urging residents to turn out to vote in the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections.

Investigators have since collected several .32 spent shells from the scene and hoped that ballistic tests would help them to trace the killer. Police said four men pulled up in a car and Crum-Ewing was shot several times.

The coalition’s call for calm echoed one by prominent African Guyanese political activist and executive member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr. David Hinds who urged Afro Guyanese to be seen as militants for racial peace, justice, equality and sisterhood/brotherhood.

“Let us not be drawn into any form of ethnic revenge or tit for tat. Let us instead use Courtney’s body as a guiding compass to the ballot boxes on May 11. That is what the brother died on the frontline urging us to do.

Let us not touch one East Indian man, woman or child. They are as much victims of the political depravity as the rest of us. Let us raise Black dignity to its highest peak and show the world that blood shedding in the quest for political power is not part of our word view,” he said.

The APNU+AFC coalition assured that it was commited to ensuring that Crum-Ewing’s killers are “brought to justice” and urged the police to take the necessary steps. “APNU+AFC demands a full and impartial investigation into the murder of Courtney Crum-Ewing along with independent observation of the post-mortem. The longer his killers escape justice, the greater an indictment of the PPP’s failure to keep this society secure,” the coalition said.

The Home Affairs Ministry has said that the Police Commissioner has been instructed to carry out a thorough probe into the incident.

The coalition linked his murder to his recent one-man protest outside Attorney General Anil Nandlall’s office against remarks that he had made in a recorded telephone conversation with a Kaieteur News reporter. The coalition also observed that the Home Affairs Ministry issued a statement seeking to draw a “bizarre nexus” between the incident and the confirmation of Seelall Persaud as Police Commissioner.

For its part, the APNU+AFC sought to link the activist’s killing with Former President Bharrat Jagdeo’s “divisive remarks” at Babu John, Port Mourant on Sunday. “Mr. Crum-Ewing was subject to harassment, threats and unreasonable detention by the Guyana Police Force. Now, two days after former President Bharrat Jagdeo mounted a political platform and spouted his divisive and violence-tinged rhetoric, Mr. Crum-Ewing has been killed,” the coalition said.

Jagdeo has distanced his remarks from interpretations that he had sought to promote racial division between Afro and Indo Guyanese and has instead stressed that he was preaching racial unity.

The coalition contended that Crum-Ewing’s murder has to be considered within the context of increasing attacks on the rights of citizens to express themselves freely and without fear, as well as against the backdrop of an untenable environment of poor citizen security.