The Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) are the latest organisations to condemn the murder of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing and both organisations have urged all to ensure that he did not die in vain.
In a press release issued yesterday, the GHRA said the killing has provoked disgust and created ripples both here and overseas.
“The murder… 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. These tactics have distorted Guyanese elections for the past 60 years,” the GHRA release said.
It said the shooting has sent “a shock-wave through Guyanese society, fine-tuned as it is to detect political violence.” It stated that had he been physically attacked and his loud-hailer thrown into the trench, the matter would have caused a tremor, condemned as the work of “low-level party zealots. His assassination is another matter, challenging all Guyanese who believe in the right to peacefully express their own opinions.”
According to the GHRA the perception of killing as a political act is encouraged by the fact that at the time of his death Crum-Ewing was using a loud-hailer in the Diamond community on the East Bank, exhorting people to come out and vote in the upcoming general elections. Moreover, GRHA noted, the man had come to the attention of the public in recent months by virtue of his 80-day, one-man vigil, calling for the resignation of the Attorney-General. That vigil related to the hair-raising conversation the AG had with a senior Kaieteur News reporter.
It said that Crum-Ewing was murdered because he took freedom of expression seriously, noting that all of this reveals dangerous levels of political intolerance at large in the society.
The 40-year-old father of three daughters was confronted and gunned down last Tuesday night in Diamond, East Bank Demerara by unknown persons. At the time he was using a bull horn to urge his fellow residents to vote on May 11 so that the PPP could be removed from office.
For the reasons outlined the murder of Crum-Ewing must be met with public condemnation from all corners of the society, the GHRA said. Civic, business and religious opinion needs to find its voice again, it added and all expressions of disgust and condemnation should respect the spirit which imbued the actions of Crum-Ewing, namely passionate, but also peaceful and non-violent.
“Expressing ourselves freely is the only way to establish and protect freedom of expression: it cannot be gifted, authorized or need permission from others,” the release added.
The WPA, in its release, described the murder as “a most heinous assault on the democratic soul of Guyana and a purveyor of dark times.”
Calling the killing “a logical outcome of systemic violence that has been waged against the people of Guyana,” the WPA compared it to those of activist Ronald Waddell, the Linden trio and others.
Turning its attention to police excesses, the party mentioned the 15-year-old whose genitals were set on fire as well as the protestors who were shot with pellets in 2011, adding that it was no wonder that the very recent Latin American survey (LAPOP) found the Guyana Police Force to be the most distrusted in the region.