Just about two months before Guyanese went to the polls in early May to vote out the then governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) after 23 consecutive years in office, the country was startled by the political assassination of prominent opposition activist and former army officer Courtney Crum Ewing as he campaigned in a residential district outside the city.
All eyes immediately turned towards traditional hit men associated with the PPP as the modus for the murder had resembled previous hits during the time of the PPP. Police said the trail had run cold.
But as the new breed of cabinet ministers and other senior functionaries settle into office, there has been a steady rise in the social media clamor for both the triggermen and those who ordered the assassination to be brought to justice.
This week, former policeman Sean Hinds, the country’s self avowed and most prominent hit man, took to the airwaves of Guyana’s leading weekday television newscast to both admit his involvement in dozens of deadly hits for the 1999-2011 administration of former president Bharrat Jagdeo and to name or drop strong hints to at least two persons associated with the PPP as being key players in Crum-Ewing’s murder.
He said he had nothing to do with it but fears being arrested anyway.
He told anchorman Travis Chase that PPP fundamentalist supporter and prominent businessman Anand Prashad had had a hand in the death of the political activist who Jagdeo had described on the campaign trail as a political nuisance. He is to give further details about the businessman.
Crum-Ewing had staged an annoying 80-day protest outside the office of then attorney general and high school mate Anil Nandlall. He was also fond of using bullhorns to encourage opposition supports to kick out the PPP. He was killed at a dark spot at suburban Diamond District, nine miles south of the city doing exactly that.
Reacting to rumors that he might be arrested for the assassination, a clearly jittery Sean Hinds swore that he had nothing to do with the former military officer’s murder but was quite willing to admit that he was part of a death squad that was controlled by then PPP security minister Ronald Gajraj during the period 2002-06, around the time when Gajraj was forced out of office.
The squad was blamed for at least 200 killings. Hinds said he was given police machine guns to mow down criminal suspects and enemies of the government.
But more importantly, the man who is often seen standing guard outside the PPP’s downtown city headquarters and turned up at the December 2011 swearing in of defeated president Donald Ramotar, said that people at the party office are now quite nervous that police at the weekend had rounded up and arrested the suspected triggerman associated with Crum-Ewing’s death.
He even fingered a former government spokesman as also being linked to the murder.
He said that he went to the PPP’s Freedom House just this week “for a little shelter and to settle me nerves and to catch myself” and discovered that the former spokesman was a bag of nerves and jitters since the arrest of the suspected triggerman.
The PPP has not reacted to allegations made by Hinds but the Nightly News television team says it has a bag full of additional revelations from Hinds and will unload them this week even as efforts are being made for Hinds to properly detail what he knows to an attorney or to diplomats.