Political thugs openly broke up Courtney’s minibus. These centrally directed violent men were so barefaced that they ignored bystanders who were watching. Now they have murdered this one-man machine. But that is where Crum-Ewing’s vulnerability lay. He operated alone. He traveled in dark areas. Both strategies were dangerous.
I have always taken care to have close political associations even though I am not a member of any political party and won’t be joining any. It is public knowledge that I support the Alliance for Change. I support the activities of the AFC. I have participated in all the Georgetown picketing exercise of the AFC.
I have intimate friendships with many leading AFC personnel. At the same time I am a founding member of other organizations including the popular 1823 Coalition for Parade Ground. I am very close to the Working People’s Alliance and have good friendships with people in the PNC and TUC.
This is where Courtney went wrong. In Guyana, since the year 2000, we have been living in a political culture that is far more brutal than any other period outside of the 1960-1964 era. The vicious, violent attacks on people like Courtney Crum-Ewing and Mark Benschop and me have been encouraged by power-drunk people because they see us as loners not leaders of major political parties. This is our strategic weakness.
I hope Mark Benschop take extreme precautions with his security. There is no way Crum-Ewing should have been alone in desolate areas of the sprawling Diamond housing scheme after he knew what happened to me and Mark Benschop. Both attempts on my life were in dark, lonely places.
One was on North Road at a lonely spot where I had parked. The other was on a lonely night outside Parliament. My life did not end because of a group of people (the now defunct People’s Parliament) who were one block away and heard the shouts. Had there not been a People’s Parliament, I would have died.
Mark Benschop was alone in the same area where Courtney was assassinated. He was filming the mansion of a violent PPP leader when he was brutally mauled by a group of violent men. Benschop escaped but what would have happened if he couldn’t at the time. In one of the worst episodes of barefaced violence in the history of this country, Benschop was arrested and locked up when he, Benschop, was the victim
Surely, Courtney should have learned these lessons. He knew the danger of his one-man struggle. He told me that a certain police officer at Brickdam station, with a German name, shouted out loudly, “Find something to charge him for” when he was taken to Brickdam station for using the washroom at the Office of the Attorney-General during his one-man vigil against Anil Nandlall over the infamous tape-recording.
I went to interview that police officer with David Hinds but David advised against it saying that we must be careful. David is always careful. I am always careful. But sadly Courtney wasn’t and he paid with his life. I hope that police officer with a German name live with his conscience for the rest of his life.
What was going on in the head of Courtney? Wasn’t he aware of his security problems and looked into them. People are out to kill anti-dictatorship activists in this country and we have to be meticulous with our security. I supported an AFC barbecue on the West Coast last Saturday night. I put down my opened bottle of cranberry water to go to my car and asked some AFC activists to keep an eye on it.
I had already crossed the road but turned back and put the bottle in the hands of Michael Carrington. When I returned Carrington had put down the bottle and I remonstrated with him. You have to be extreme with your security precautions in Guyana. Had I been seeing Courtney often I would have offered my humble advice.
He should not have been alone. Once he started the campaign early in the evening, his killers were aware of what he was doing in the area and they planned their attack. Courtney’s killers wanted to send a message that is why he was assassinated during a political act. They wanted to tell others that they too will be killed. The dead body with the bullhorn next to it was the graphic signal they wanted to show to political activists.
Courtney Crum-Ewing made two tragic mistakes – he should have sought alliance with others and never be alone in the dark. I will have more to say about Patricia Rodney and the propagandistic Walter Rodney Commission in the context of Courtney’s assassination.
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