At approximately 1930 hours the evening before last, from where I reside, I heard at least five separate explosions which from the sounds, suggested they came from a firearm or from several firearms. I telephoned a contact who confirmed that an individual was shot at Diamond and shortly after I read the newsflash on Demerarawaves which gave the identity of the individual as Mr Courtney Crum-Ewing.
As a Guyanese citizen, I condemn in the strongest terms this wanton killing of a young man whose only unlawful act just prior to his death by violent means may have been the use of a noisy instrument, a loud hailer, in a public place, without the necessary police permit. As a former student of Queen’s College which was also Courtney’s alma mater, I mourn the death of a fellow alumnus.
As a retired officer of the Guyana Defence Force, I am distressed that one, who at the time of enlistment and during his service would have pledged to lay down his life for his country and for his fellow ‘squaddies’, would have been marked for death in such a cold blooded and cowardly manner by perpetrators who did not even have the courage to face this unarmed citizen but fired their weapon from a vehicle in which they fled from the scene.
Crum-Ewing had come to be known to the public through the media coverage of his one-man protests in Carmichael Street. He was exercising his democratic right to protest. He was going about his advocacy work last evening, in relation to the upcoming elections, noisily perhaps, but peacefully. He did not deserve to die under such circumstances and this act of folly coming at a time when the environment is again politically charged, must not be contaminated by considerations being propounded by political spin doctors across the political spectrum. All political parties must unequivocally condemn this heinous act without seeking to attribute blameworthiness unless proven after investigations, so as not to cause panic in a society still seeking to mend the legacy of ruptures in the tapestry of Guyana’s multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society.
The forces of law and order must be allowed to objectively and professionally conduct their investigations and be given all support from officialdom and citizenry to bring the perpetrators to heel and have them face the full weight of the law in a process that is managed expeditiously.
It is to be hoped that political leaders on their campaign trails will deal objectively and circumspectly with young Crum-Ewing’s death and those other traumatic events that occurred in Guyana’s recent history from the 1960s to date, and they will not seek to exacerbate tensions by ‘milking’ these for perceived political mileage.
Joseph G Singh
Major General (rtd)