For 80 days, he stood outside of the offices of Attorney General, most times alone, his voice loud, railing against abuse by Government officials.
For the former Queen’s College boy, he was right at home, doing his thing. From since a little boy, he has been that way.
It appears that very outspokenness is what ended his life.
Courtney Nickosi Crum-Ewing, 40, was gunned down Tuesday night while urging residents of the high-income section of Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara to vote for a change.
The brutality and brazenness of the killing, just about half mile from where he lives, immediately brought swift condemnations from not only the Opposition but civil society with the social websites inundated with comments.
Reports said that a gunman shot the activist and stood over his fallen body, pumping more bullets.
The shocking murder would come as Guyana prepares for early general elections on May 11 in what is being regarded as one of the toughest polls for the ruling party in over two decades.
Yesterday, the family of the father of three called for calm, insisting that it is not a random act.
“It is because of his work…because of his activism. Of that we are sure. We are now talking to our lawyers on the way forward,” said a composed Donna Harcourt, 56, the mother of Courtney at her Golden Grove, East Bank Demerara home.
The mother, who operates a stall, said that Courtney, a former army cadet officer, was her eldest child. Also at home was brother, Dwayne and step-father, Eustace Harcourt. His sister, Althea, who received the tragic news Tuesday night, was in the city, joining protestors in front of the Attorney General’s office.
“Our family…Courtney would have wanted Guyana to vote for a change. Everybody on the list should come out. It is time that Guyana vote for change. Everybody who is on the list have to come out and vote.”
Courtney was no ordinary person, his proud mom said yesterday. A high performer at school, he was a champion athlete at Queen’s College. He later represented Guyana in the basketball team, a game he loved.
Leaving school, he joined the Ministry of Finance, working in the section that dealt with the army. At the encouragement of a senior official, he enlisted in the army’s cadet course hoping to join the air corps section.
However, even in the army, it was clear that young Crum-Ewing was no pushover. He wanted more. He wrote letters and kept pestering his superiors to move on to something more than just training in jungle warfare.
According to his mom, he was moved to the Marine section and while there was dismissed after an incident involving the disappearance of a quantity of prawns. He sued the army, insisting his innocence, and won a $1M judgment.
In the late 90’s, a disappointed Courtney left shortly afterward for Antigua, after his wife was hired by an airline owned by billionaire, Allen Stanford.
Even from Antigua, the outspoken man could not keep his voice down, taking to the social websites to express his anger over happenings.
He returned less than two years ago.
Courtney’s activism immediately became more evident. He was a regular caller to live television programmes. In the day, he worked his minibus for a few hours.
Last year, he received a piece of land at Farm, East Bank Demerara from the Ministry of Housing. Due to a mix-up by the Ministry, his mother disclosed yesterday, he started building on a lot that belonged to someone else.
Crum-Ewing visited the ministry several times and was promised compensation. He was loud in his protestations and was even thrown out by the Ministry. “They were very disrespectful. The Minister was very disrespectful because (my son) demanded his rights. He was very fair to everybody. Courtney did not care about race. He was more concerned about rights and wrongs,” said his mother.
But late last year, Guyana learnt about Courtney Crum-Ewing. He read in the newspaper that Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, had reportedly threatened Kaieteur News with a possible attack.
He wrote Nandlall demanding he resign or face protests. Unhappy with the response, he started his one-man protests, drawing crowds and watchful police and even a few drivers who tossed him bottled water, but refused to join him.
He even went to the offices of the Director of Public Prosecution to protest the delay in the decision of charges filed against Nandlall by Kaieteur News.
“He does not belong to any party. He told everyone to stop being scared or face having a Government that continues to ride the people.”
The support for Crum-Ewing was catching on. A former school mate of Queen’s College sent him two bullhorns for his protesting work.
“A Barbados-based lawyer from Guyana even asked to help protest,” his brother Dwayne recalled.
His activism drew criticisms and some subtle attempts to shut him up. A few months ago, he parked his bus at his home and it was broken into and the computer box stolen. He was convinced that it was deliberately done.
Then he was charged for breach of peace after using the toilets at the Attorney General’s offices. The charge, which Crum-Ewing felt was also deliberate, was dismissed.
When the May 11 elections date was announced by President Donald Ramotar, the former QC boy decided that he would be volunteering his services to bring voters out in their numbers to vote against the ruling party.
According to his family yesterday, Courtney was convinced that change was necessary for Guyana.
On Tuesday, hours after he was seen in the city urging drivers to vote, he decided to take his message to Diamond, a village neighbouring Golden Grove.
Residents and others heard him using his loud hailer, urging for voters to place their mark in favour of the Opposition.
According to his family, he reportedly advised residents that if they intend to vote race, to vote for Moses Nagamootoo if they prefer Indian or David Granger if for the African preference.
His catchy words drew some laughter and anger.
The campaign in Diamond was the first for Crum-Ewing.
According to his mom, nobody was told that he was heading to the area, not even officials of A Partnership For National Unity/Alliance For Change coalition, for which he was campaigning.
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