Guyana – Assassinated
Anti-govt protestor shot dead during protest
GEORGETOWN –– Opposition political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing, well known for his one-man protests, was shot dead last evening at Third Avenue, Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara (EBD), while urging residents to vote against the ruling party in the upcoming general and regional elections on May 11.
The 40-year-old Crum-Ewing of Golden Grove, EBD, was shot about five times.
The shooting is believed to have occurred sometime between 7:40 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Police in a statement said that Crum-Ewing was walking along the roadway at Third Avenue when a car with four men drove up from which shots were discharged at him, “after which the men escaped”.
The police are hunting a silver Toyota Premio which is said to be the car used by the gunmen to kill the father of three. The car was last seen in Leopold Street in Georgetown.
Minutes before he was killed, Crum-Ewing, who made the news for carrying out his one-man protest in front of the Carmichael Street, Georgetown office of Attorney General Anil Nandlall late last year, was reportedly heard via a bullhorn, urging residents of the neighbourhood to vote against the ruling party.
But his vocal effort was interrupted when the killer(s) struck.
An eyewitness to the shooting told police ranks that Crum-Ewing was approached by a man who came out from the back seat of a car.
“The gunman shoot he and after he fall, he shoot he several times more,” a police source close to the case said.
Odo Best, who is in charge of A Partnership For National Unity-Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) campaign in the Diamond area, said that he heard that Crum-Ewing was supposed to do some work in the area.
“He had been working with us. I tried calling him several times to liaise with him and he was not answering.”
Ranks only confirmed that the body lying on the road was that of Crum-Ewing when Best called his cellular phone and a cop answered.
Commander of “A” Division, Clifton Hicken, and several of his administrative ranks rushed to the scene last night after hearing about the execution-style killing.
Hicken was heard directing ranks over the radio to “hunt them down. Go find that car”.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Nigel Hughes, who is also Crum-Ewing’s lawyer arrived on the scene and comforted his wailing family members.
Hughes said he wanted an international independent forensic investigation.
“We will be in contact with an independent pathologist who will have to shadow the police investigators, observing the autopsy.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs quickly issued a statement around 10 p.m.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs condemns in the strongest possible terms, the shooting to death of Courtney Crum-Ewing by unknown person or persons this evening in the Grove/Diamond area, East Bank Demerara.”
Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee, the statement said, 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”.
According to the ministry, though it is early yet to draw any specific conclusion or motive in connection with the perpetration of the “dastardly act”, the general public should 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. The ministry notes the deep coincidence between the fatal shooting incident and the earlier swearing in of the new commissioner of police”.
The ministry, in expressing sympathy to family and relatives of Crum-Ewing, said it was pledging to support the police in their investigations to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.
“The ministry calls on anyone who may have knowledge about the circumstances/motive surrounding the shooting death of Courtney Crum-Ewing to give their full support to the police in their investigation.”
At the scene last night were siblings, the fiancée and parents of Crum-Ewing, who is also a former army rank.
Crum-Ewing’s brother Dwayne was too shocked to speak, but his mother made it clear that the killers would have to pay.
Courtney Crum-Ewing started protesting and attracted media attention last year after an explosive phone conversation between a senior Kaieteur News reporter and Attorney General Anil Nandlall surfaced.
The phone call, in which Nandlall was heard warning the reporter to get out of Kaieteur News, because of a possible attack, prompted Crum-Ewing to start several days of protests in front of the Carmichael Street office of the attorney general.
Crum-Ewing had said that his protests were because Nandlall’s actions were shameful.
“I have three daughters, a mother, a sister and many female relatives that I care about . . . so I feel strongly about this issue,” the man said.
He was later reportedly charged with breaching the peace after he used the washroom belonging to the offices of the attorney general.