Condemnation and condolences for killing of Prof. Mars

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Murdered: Retired Professor Parietdeau Mars

CONDEMNATION and condolences poured in on Friday following news of the shocking murder of Guyanese Professor Dr. Pairadeau “Perry” Mars, who was killed on Thursday evening at his Prashad Nagar, Georgetown home.Police have since arrested six persons in connection with the murder, and recovered items that had been stolen from his home. In a statement, the police said they are conducting investigations into the circumstances surrounding the death of the retired Professor, of Bissessar Avenue, Prashad Nagar.

The police said Mars was found in his home at about 18:30h with his hands and feet duct-taped and injuries to his head. The house was ransacked and a number of articles and cash were missing. He was pronounced dead on arrival at a private hospital.

President David Granger, in extending condolences to the wife and other relatives of Professor, Mars, also condemned “this vicious act and commends the Guyana Police Force (GPF) for the swift arrests made in the case.” The Guyanese leader further called for justice to be quickly served.

In a statement issue by his office, President Granger said Mars served in various positions at several prestigious universities before taking up a post at Wayne State University in Detroit, USA, where he was Professor Emeritus. He was recognised for his work in African and Caribbean Studies. He also published several books in areas of his other academic interests. He was 75 years old.

While the President is satisfied with the speed with which many crimes are being solved, the Head of State remains deeply concerned about the incidence of crime. He continues to meet every week with the National Security Committee even as crime-fighting efforts continue to be scaled up.

Cecil Ramkirath, in a letter to this newspaper, also expressed sadness on learning of the death of Professor Mars. He said that what is so shocking and alarming is the manner in which he died -–tied up and then ruthlessly murdered by fiendish thugs who seemed to have delighted in their act of evil and savagery.

“How much more precious blood will have to be spilled before real and concerted actions are taken against these brutes, who are increasingly becoming a menace to our society? It must be recognised that violence in all its forms and manifestations is the real and ultimate evil,” Ramkirath said.

He added that citizens’ moral obligation is to speak out and to fight this evil, and those in authority have the foremost duty to confront and overcome this evil on a daily basis.

“We cannot become complacent in this battle because, in the words of our national poet, “We are all involved; we are all consumed.”

“Not only in Guyana, but in practically every country, violence and aggressive behaviour (are) on the ascendancy. Indeed, the greatest threat to mankind and to our fair world is this growing scourge of violence.”

Ramkirath said Mars was an outstanding intellectual and one of the finest political theorists in the Caribbean. “He taught at the University of Guyana, which in those days boasted of a teaching faculty rich in talent, with names like Professor Clive Thomas, Professor Joshua Ramsammy, Dr. Harold Lutchman, Dr. Maurice Odle, Professor Bill Carr, and many others of like intellectual stature. I never missed any of his lectures in Politics 100 because they were so impressive, and what was particularly fascinating was the skillful manner in which he integrated political theories into the real political landscape of Guyana, the Caribbean and the wider world.

“I vividly recall his series of lectures on ‘Violence, Politics and Aggression’, and it is so distressing to note that he would be cut down by a most loathsome act of violence.

“Above all, Perry Mars was a fine human being and a humble and affectionate person. He never distanced himself from his students, but was very approachable and had a very likable disposition. He actively encouraged discussion and participation in his classes, and the interaction and debates were very lively and interesting.”

Ramkiarth added that Guyana has lost an outstanding son by an act of wanton cruelty. “Perry Mars was broad-minded in his thoughts and ideas; may this type of thinking and vision guide the present leaders in Guyana,” he noted.

Former Stabroek New journalist Iana Seales, commenting on her Facebook page, said she is saddened by the killing. “I’m saddened to learn of Prof Mars’ tragic death. He reached out to me in 2014 to discuss working together to develop strategies to mediate and resolve the political and ethnic conflict situation in Guyana. He had great ideas and he was working on initiatives in partnership with a number of persons. We had commenced discussions.

“One of our model citizens and ambassadors (has been) murdered in his homeland. I hope the authorities find whoever is responsible for this dastardly act. Our communities continue to be overwhelmed by crime and violence –- from break-ins and robberies to domestic violence, sexual assaults and murders. I’m not sure what exactly we’re celebrating.”