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Police force, political activist in “tit-for-tat” over warning against incitement to violence

Professor David Hinds.

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) and political activist, Dr. David Hinds are now in a tit-for-tat over whether he was warned to stop making that could potentially incite violence, following his public call to ensure that there was no retaliation for the gunning down of a government critic while he was urging people to go out and vote.

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) said Dr. Hinds was contacted by the Head of the Criminal Investigations Department, Assistant Commissioner Leslie James, who asked whether he had evidence of the perpetrators of the murder and he said that he had no such evidence.

“The Assistant Commissioner ‘Law Enforcement’ then informed Mr. David Hinds that there is therefore no logic on which his statement and call for ‘no tit for tat’ is based, and also told him that his statement has the potential to incite violence and warned him to desist from such behaviour,”

The police force said it interpreted Hinds’ remarks to mean that the killing of 40-year old Courtney Crum-Ewing to mean that it “was politically motivated by persons aligned to another political party other than the one Crum-Ewing belonged to.”

Reacting, Hinds admitted telling James in a 3:58 seconds long conversation at 11:39 AM Arizona Time on Thursday that he had no evidence about who killed Crum-Ewing Tuesday night about 8 PM on Third Street, Diamond East Bank Demerara.

Hinds, however, denied being warned by police James to cease making such statements, even after explaining that by “tit-for-tat” he was referring to the political implications of the killing in our ethnically charged environment whereby a political person of one ethnic group is killed, there is always the risk that persons may want to respond violently.

“At no time did Mr. James tell me that my behavior has the potential for inciting violence or warned me to desist from “such behavior.” I ended the brief exchange by commending Mr. James and the police force for what I thought was a genuine attempt to leave no stone unturned in their quest to solve the crime. I viewed the decision to call me as procedural and welcomed it,” he said.

The Political Science Professor said he was tunned by this official police response tohis  statement, which clearly set out to do the opposite of what the police seem to be accusing him of. “Since when calling on people not to retaliate is incitement to violence?,” he queried.

He noted that Crum-Ewing was killed doing political work and that was a known political activist with sentiments against a known political party. “His murder, therefore, has to be discussed within a political context until the police and justice system can prove otherwise beyond a shadow of a doubt,” Hinds said.

Hinds further recalled telling the Head of the Criminal Investigations Department that as someone who is politically active and who has been speaking out about violence against African Guyanese, “Ifelt it was my duty to call on that community to desist from any violent reaction as it is my strong view that such a development would be counterproductive.”

Hinds reiterated his call to opposition supporters, in particular African Guyanese, to stay clear of any violent response and urged the police to “do everything in their power to find the killers and identify any possible intellectual authors. They can be rest assured that I, David Hinds, do not fall in either category.” 

Crum-Ewing rose to prominence recently when he staged daily one-man protests outside Attorney General, Anil Nandlall’s office against comments he had purportedly made about the possibility of an armed attack on Kaieteur News which had been publishing articles that were highly critical of the government and Nandlall himself.