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Roman Catholics to pray for peace following Tuesday night’s killings

Bishop Francis Alleyne

Roman Catholic Bishop, Francis Alleyne on Thursday asked the faithful across Guyana to pray for peace, in the wake of two “chilling” killings Tuesday night that he said must be condemned by political leaders and thoroughly investigated by police.

“Many persons, in the absence of evidence, are already drawing political inferences.  At this time, to draw specific conclusions as to where culpability rests, I call on the Guyana Police Force to act swiftly in its investigations to find and bring these killers before our courts,” he said in a statement.

Extending sympathies, his prayers and the support of the Catholic Church to the grieving relatives of the deceased, the Bishop called on “political leaders of all parties to specifically condemn the barbaric killing of Mr. Crum-Ewing and to actively promote messages of peace on the campaign trail and create an environment of security and nationhood in which citizens can exercise their democratic and constitutional right, and indeed duty, to elect a government of their choice.”

President Donald Ramotar condemned killing of Courtney Crum-Ewing  Tuesday night and urged police to go after the assailants and intellectual authors. The opposition coalition of  the Alliance For Change and A Partnership for National Unity as well as Working People’s Alliance (WPA) executive member, Dr. David Hinds have condemned the killing and have stridently called on Guyanese not to retaliate.

Alleyne noted that the gunning down of 27-year old Randy Persaud in front of his home in Agricola and the shooting to the head of 40-year old Crum-Ewing while walking around Diamond urging residents to vote was a “chilling” act by gunmen still at large.

Police said no one has been arrested and ballistic tests on several .32 spent shells are yet to be conducted. Surveillance video footage from residents on Third Street, Diamond has not turned up any useful image.

The Roman Catholic Bishop observed that the execution of Crum-Ewing was  “dangerously timed in a climate of electoral campaigning as we prepare for national elections on 11th May.”

Alleyne said the execution of Mr Crum-Ewing, under those circumstances, is a retrograde step for our nation and deserves the highest condemnation from all quarters. He added that the murder of Randy Persaud, and so many others under similar circumstances, “is no less important than the murder of Mr. Crum-Ewing as it affects us all as a people who value, or are expected to value, the sanctity and dignity of life and indeed the human person.”

He recalled that in his public statement on November 11 following the prorogation of Parliament, he stated that Guyana is in uncharted territory and reconciliation and trust were crucial to the process of restoring and building the nation. “I also called on all Guyanese and their leaders to ensure that we navigate these uncertain times peacefully, honestly and respectfully. I wish to repeat and reinforce this call,” he added.

The Roman Catholic Bishop  said the constant call of God’s Spirit “to us is to look at and register the stamp of immense worth that is placed on the whole of creation and, in a special way, on the human person.  The psalmist prays in Ps 139 (138) 13-14   “For it was you who created my being, knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I thank you for the wonder of my being, for the wonders of all your creation.”  God’s Spirit further calls us to celebrate this worth and dignity in ourselves and with one another, he said.

 “As a start, I am requesting that all Catholics offer prayers for peace this Sunday. I appeal to all citizens to join in prayer with the Psalmist; “O search me, God, and know my heart.  O test me and know my thoughts.  See that I (we) follow not the wrong path and lead me (us) in the path of life eternal.”(Ps 139:23-24).”