All my life the tenth of March has had special significance for me. It was my father’s birthday, and two decades after his passing, it remains for me a day of thoughtful remembrance.
The murder of Courtney Crum-Ewing on the same date three years ago is further reason for pause. In many respects, Crum-Ewing’s murder brings into focus the state of our democracy. Whatever you think of Crum-Ewing’s activism, one has to acknowledge a few things. Firstly, there is his principled stand on an issue – he was not afraid to stand up and express outrage against behaviour by a public officer that most people considered unacceptable. He took a principled stand on the matter and was not afraid to stand alone. Moreover, although he was clearly sufficiently angered to protest publicly, he chose to pursue his activism through peaceful means, which only brings into sharper focus the manner of his death and what it says about the society we live in. He would stand outside the Attorney-General’s office with a few placards, appealing to passers-by to sign a petition.
Crum-Ewing also set an example, expressing his dismay at the acquiescence and resignation shown by Guyanese people repeatedly in the face of unacceptable behaviour by people in positions of public trust in this country. What he objected to was callous disregard for the Guyanese public by people in office. Courtney Crum-Ewing stood for public conscience and public consciousness. He stood for the responsibility of the public to express its outrage and demand better behaviour from politicians and public officers. His murder was aimed at silencing open public dissent and is a menace to our democratic freedoms as citizens of this country.
In consideration of this, I am proposing the renaming of Third Avenue, Diamond, where he died as Courtney Crum-Ewing Avenue. This remembrance would be a concrete measure to remind us of the things he stood for and the need for constant vigilance about the state of our democracy. It would also be a reminder to the authorities to leave no stone unturned in the search to bring his killers to justice. As a resident of Diamond, I would be proud to have Third Avenue renamed in his honour.