Murder of political activist draws condemnation from government, opposition appeals for calm

Police-Crime-Scene-740GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Wednesday March 11, 2015, CMC – The opposition coalition Wednesday appealed for calm as police hunt for those responsible for the death of anti-government political activist, Courtney Crum-Ewing, who was shot here on Tuesday night.

“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 (People’s Progressive Party).

“Resist this dastardly and cowardly act of provocation,” the coalition grouping of a Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) said in a joint statement.

The coalition said it was appealing for “calm in this trying time”.

Crum-Ewing, a former soldier, who had led a one-man crusade outside of the office of the Attorney General Anil Nandlall for several days, was gunned down as he urged people on a loud hailer to go out and vote on May 11.

The attorney for the family, Nigel Hughes, said he would be demanding that an autopsy be conducted by an international pathologist and that the police investigation be shadowed by a team of international investigators.

In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs said it “condemns in the strongest possible terms, the shooting to death of Courtney Crum Ewing by unknown person or persons.

“The Minister of Home Affairs has given orders to the Commissioner of Police to take immediate action with a view to getting to the bottom of this execution-type shooting incident, through the most thorough investigation.”

The statement said that “though it is early yet to draw any specific conclusion or motive in connection with the perpetration of this dastardly act, the Ministry of Home Affairs wishes to alert the general public to be vigilant in respect of any act of violence provoked or unprovoked, that might be possibly initiated by those who may have a political agenda”.

In its statement, the coalition said that it was committed 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 coalition said 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.

The executive member of the Working People’s Alliance (WPA), Dr. David Hinds, has called on citizens not to take the law into their hands or to degenerate into racial battles.

“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.

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