Last Updated on Thursday, 19 March 2015, 2:33 by GxMediaHours before the mortal remains of political activist, Courtney Crum-Ewing were due to be interred, City Mayor Hamilton Green announced that intends to take steps to memorialize the name of the man who became well-known for his solo protests outside the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs.
Publisher of the Kaieteur News newspaper, Glen Lall also announced that he intends to begin a fund for Crum-Ewing’s children in honour of the man who held daily protests outside Attorney General, Anil Nandlall’s office for remarks that government official made in a private conversation with a Kaieteur News reporter.
“I and the office have been bombarded with telephone calls to start a fund for the children of Courtney. I have since written to the Home Affairs Minister to seek permission to do so,” said Lall who credited the activist with single-handedly fighting for Kaieteur News staff in the face of violent threats. Part of those comments included subtle warnings for the reporter to leave his job there because of the likelihood of an armed attack by people who were aggrieved by the newspaper’s articles that were repeatedly critical of the government.
Crum-Ewing was shot dead by unknown gunmen about 8 PM on March 10, 2015 at Third Street, Diamond, East Bank Demerara while on a bullhorn appealing to residents to go out and vote for the opposition coalition on May 11, 2015.
Addressing a large gathering at the Burnham Basketball Court, Parade Ground where Crum-Ewing’s body was taken for a public viewing, Mayor Green said Carmichael Street between Middle, Main and New Market Streets would be named the Crum-Ewing block because “his memory and his work must not die.”
“With the authority vested in me, given by you the citizens, I proposed on Monday and hereby announce that we will be renaming that square where Courtney stopped the Courtney Crum-Ewing block so that when , for the time being the Most Honourable Distinguished and all-powerful Attorney General, goes to his office he will be going through Courtney’s Block,” Green said.
Apparently seeking to explain the low-keyed response by the opposition to Crum-Ewing’s death, the Former Prime Minister said the answer is in voting for the opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) in another few weeks.
Head of the Ex GDF Association, Col. Gomes and AFC Chairman , Nigel Hughes exorted the gathering at Parade Ground and at the Heavenly Light Full Gospel Church to vote for the coalition.
“The enemies of democracy and decency have tried to tempt us into violence. We are not afraid but we will not be tempted to play the game they want to play it,” said Green.
At the Heavenly Light Full Gospel Church in Albouystown, Georgetown, the AFC Chairman said Guyanese are “very, very pained” and “equally angry” by what has happened but would remain calm. “But in our anger, we will not be provoked and even though we are pained and we are hurt, we are not fatally wounded,” he said, adding that in his life his enemies did not have could not have faced him. “I went to court with Courtney no less than five times and on none of those days did any of those vermin have the decency to show up. They couldn’t face him in life and on that fateful night, they couldn’t face him, they shot him from the back,” he said.
Retired Major General, Joseph Singh told the congregation that it would not be far-fetched for Guyanese to link Crum-Ewing’s death to his recent protest action. “It will be very naïve of anyone not to perceive his murder as somehow linked to his protest activity and his public advocacy in Carmichael Street and in Diamond,” he said.
Singh, however, noted that there were several other theories that are up for consideration but the bottom line is that Crum-Ewing’s “calculated act of cold-blooded murder” took place at a time he had been exercising his constitutional right to freedom of expression. “The murderers and intellectual authors obviously have no respect for freedom of expression or respect for human life- twin pillars of democracy,” he said, while calling for a successful probe that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators and intellectual authors.
Opposition Leader, David Granger credited Crum-Ewing , a martyr, with engaging in peaceful, public, persistent and lawful means to bring about change in Guyana out of the hands of oligarchs. Granger expressed concern that the real aim of those, who are increasingly intolerant of political opponents, is to appeal to race-based politics to influence the outcome of the polls. “The murder of Courtney Crum-Ewing might also be seen as the beginning of a process of manipulating ethnic insecurity aimed at people voting for race rather than for their political convictions. Those tactics have distorted Guyanese elections for the past sixty years,” he remarked.
Five uniformed senior GDF officers, who are Crum-Ewing’s “squaddies”, paid tribute to their fallen former military brothers as a man of strength of character, honesty and integrity.