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Last week July 26 marked twenty years since the Mandela Avenue massacre!
On that fateful day, three young men- John Bruce, Steve Grant and Antoine Houston were summarily executed on Mandela Avenue, Georgetown, Guyana by a unit of the Blackclothes police led by then Asst. of Police, Steve Merai.
The public outrage which accompanied this dastardly act of political revenge by the known agents of what many considered a PPP dictatorship, led then by Bharrat Jagdeo, provoked the holding of a Coroner’s inquest into this extrajudicial killing under Chief Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen. Sadly, while the identified trigger man, Steve Merai was on the witness stand being interrogated by lawyers who were looking out for the interests of the victims, the Chief Magistrate, was removed from the magistracy by the State under some pretext, and Steve Merai absconded the jurisdiction, returning to Guyana and the Police Force with greater responsibility after the matter was put down.
Ten years after that horrifying incident the matter was closed completely, its business unfinished, because the Police failed to proceed further with the matter. Here we are today, as we began- with a new iteration of the dictatorship, with almost all the players in the same powerful places- standing still, waiting, like those Waiting for Godot.
We, I, professed to believe in the Rule of Law. We thought that the pillars/principals shouldered with upholding those principles would act as they swore to do, and the world would have its answers, and we will be at peace. Yet, like a stone, firmly fixed in the firmament of our demo crazy we stood, patiently, amidst the raging torrent that found ways around, failing to shift our resolve or faith in those basic hallowed (hollow) principles, including the right to life shouted in deadening cacophony across the land!
“O rain and fire…” (w)hat can a man do more, Carter asks. Bladwin warns no more water, the fire next time. Many more patient than I, counsel I be Lot, but I not yet lost my voice even as Martin Carter with impassioned eloquence enjoined me to ask as
“ …we have endured such absurd times
and waited so long, so weary with time…
…And what in dreams we do in life attempt.
But where are free men, where the endless streets?
Since we were born our wings have had no rest
Our prison of air is worse than one of iron!”
But, with equal vehemence, I say
I will not still my voice!
Too much to claim-…”
Antoine Houston, age 29 years old when death was forced upon him,
Is my son!