The vehicles after the incident in Clare Valley Saturday night. (IWN photo)

The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has appealed for calm and restraint after one man died and several others were injured when a vehicle came into contact with persons at the party’s political meeting in Clare Valley Saturday night.

“Party Leader [and Leader of the Opposition] Mr Arnhim Eustace appeals for calm and restraint as all Vincentians await the results of a swift, thorough and transparent police investigation,” the NDP said in a statement on Sunday.

Dead is Upper Questelles resident, Edgar Cruikshank.

Cruickshank, a former South Leeward council member of the ruling Unity Labour Party, recently began campaigning with Member of Parliament for South Leeward, the NDP’s Nigel Stephenson who is seeking a second term in office.

The former ULP activist was attending his first political meeting with the NDP since throwing his support behind Stephenson, when he was injured and later died.

The licence stickers on the vehicle after the incident. (IWN photo) The licence stickers on the vehicle after the incident. Scroll for more IWN photos.

“The NDP extends condolences to the bereaved widow and family of Mr Cruickshank, and wishes a speedy and full recovery to all who suffered injury, physical and mental,” the party said in the statement.

The NDP said the injured include retired nurse, Augustine Allen, videographer Orvil “Ruff” Samuel Ruff, who sustained broken legs; and Mikhail Francis, whose legs were injured, and Winston Phillips.

“At about 10:30 p.m. on Sat. Dec 6 2014, at a New Democratic Party public meeting at the Clare Valley hard court, a black 4-door motor vehicle bearing registration number P7516 drove directly into the crowded meeting space, pinning five attendees under the parked motor vehicle on which they rested, as well as impacting at least five others.

“When the vehicle rested, passengers alighted and at least one person fled the scene and was apprehended by police, where he remains in custody,” the NDP said in its statement.

“Witnesses confirm the vehicle was heard to be revving before ploughing into the crowd; its headlights were turned off; and that the vehicle had driven past the public meeting twice before the incident.

“Ten injured persons, including a child, were taken to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital by medical, police and private transportation. “Mr Edgar Cruickshank, who was among persons pinned underneath the car, succumbed to his injuries at the hospital, just past midnight, despite the efforts of medical personnel. Cruickshank had recently begun campaigning with NDP MP and Candidate Nigel Nature Stephenson in the South Leeward Constituency and his presence at the public meeting was acknowledged by Nigel who hailed it as a Clare Valley first,” the NDP said.

“The New Democratic Party leadership joins with those who question the circumstances giving rise to the national tragedy at Clare Valley,” the party said.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Sen. Jomo Thomas, the ULP’s candidate for South Leeward in the next general elections, called for a thorough investigation of the incident.

“While I don’t have all the facts surrounding the incident of last evening at Clare Valley, the unfolding tragedy is horrible and unspeakable. It has brought death, pain and suffering to many. I express my total and complete condolence to the family of Mr Edgar Cruickshank. I also express sincerest sympathies to the families and love ones of those who were injured. In times like these, the pain and sorrow are not only shared, they are multiplied.

Nothing short of a thorough investigation into cause or causes of this incident will suffice,” Thomas wrote.

Cruickshank had expressed disappointment in Thomas emerging as the lead contender for the nod as the ULP’s South Leeward candidate in the next general elections, which must be held by March 28, 2016, but are widely expected by December 2015.

Cruickshank did not attend the constituency conference in July at which Grenville Williams, who Cruickshank supported for the post, nominated Thomas to be the candidate — seemingly with little magnanimity, notwithstanding his oral endorsement.

See also: ULP South Leeward council member demands candidate selection runoff

Loren Dabreo, an activist for Sen. Jomo Thomas, right, posted this undated photo on Facebook on Sunday, saying that Cruickshank (right) had given Thomas his support "not too long ago".
Loren Dabreo, an activist for Sen. Jomo Thomas, right, posted this undated photo on Facebook on Sunday, saying that Cruickshank (right) had given Thomas his support “not too long ago”.

 

The fledgling Democratic Republican Party said in a statement on Sunday the incident that it regrets learning of Cruikshank’s death.

“We condemn any apparent attempt to interfere with the people’s inalienable rights and freedoms which are also constitutionally protected. Rights such as the Right to life (Section 2) and Freedoms such as the freedom of conscience (section 9), freedom of movement (section 12) and freedom of Assembly and Association (section 11),” DRP leader and founder Anesia Baptiste said in a statement.

“The DRP stands continually on the side of the Rule of Law as our color Blue represents and maintains that the Country needs revived principles of the heart as our symbol describes.

“To the family of Mr. Cruickshank and the injured and their families, we express our deepest, heartfelt sympathy to you and pray that your hearts be comforted in this difficult time,” said Baptiste, a former NDP senator who was fired in 2012.

“The DRP pledges continually and consistently service to all people with respect for their inalienable and inviolable rights and freedoms from this party with a heart. May God bless St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Baptiste said.

13 replies on “In aftermath of deadly vehicular incident, NDP appeals for ‘calm and restraint’”

  1. For the NDP leader to be calling for calm suggests there’s evidence that this incident was politically engineered and instigated. Is there any evidence to suggest such.

    If it’s a case of intent, politically or criminally, then this should be dealt with by law enforcers and perpetuator punished. Either way, it has to be dealt with expeditiously.

  2. Even though NDP may have “appealed for calm and restraint”, the way it was put that “a vehicle came into contact with persons” is excessive in its euphemism. From the picture posted, seems more like it crashed into people to me.

  3. Anesia Baptiste says:

    For the record the entire statement from me as DRP Leader is as follows, including the very first and opening paragraph which was not quoted in IWN’s report but which I think is very important for context of my words and emphasis. Please note.

    “It is with regret that the Democratic Republican Party (DRP) learnt of the passing of Mr. Edgar Cruickshank as a result of injury related to an incident last night where a vehicle is said to have ran into a crowd during a political meeting hosted by the New Democratic Party (NDP). It is also our understanding that other persons were injured and this is truly unfortunate.
    We condemn any apparent attempt to interfere with the people’s inalienable rights and freedoms which are also constitutionally protected. Rights such as the Right to life (Section 2) and Freedoms such as the freedom of conscience (section 9), freedom of movement (section 12) and freedom of Assembly and Association (section 11).
    The DRP stands continually on the side of the Rule of Law as our color Blue represents and maintain that the Country needs revived principles of the heart as our symbol describes.
    To the family of Mr. Cruickshank and the injured and their families we express our deepest, heartfelt sympathy to you and pray that your hearts be comforted in this difficult time.
    The DRP pledges continually and consistently service to all people with respect for their inalienable and inviolable rights and freedoms from this party with a heart. May God bless St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
    With Love,
    Anesia Baptiste (Mrs.)
    Political Leader
    Democratic Republican Party (DRP)”

  4. The time is 12.16pm Vincytime…Monday 12/8.14. I am listening to Burt on the NDP talk shop. I am wondering if the NDP really know what the f##$ they are doing.

    I am all about keeping calm and refraining from speculation as to what happened on Saturday night. But here is the thing, the NDP is taking the high road where there is no high road to be taken.

    All is fair in love war and politics. The NDP has to take full advantage of this unfortunate “accident”. But the NDP seem not to recognise the political opportunity that is before them. The first blunder of the NDP, is Mr Eustace conspicuous absence from the radio program, Burt say he coming later…its 12.32 at the moment …he said has to attend a funeral…WTF!!!…a funeral????…

    Another blunder, I am yet to hear “Nature” Stephenson on the airwaves…How can the NDP so [email protected]#$ing tone deaf, is beyond me. Now I am hearing Mr Leacock, at least better late than never. He is on point, making some of the very points that Burt was preventing other callers from making…Burt is simply being downright stupid and anal.

    When people say that Eustace is no leader, its moment like this, yo shake head in the affirmative.

    R.I.P Mr Cruickshank.

  5. What baffles me is the number of persons injured and killed on the highway in Clare Valley. I wonder what the speed limit for the highway is. Ironically the spin doctors were quick to declare the incident an accident. It appears that the police forensic department has improved considerable; to determine in such a short time from the data collected that it was an accident.
    Is there any truth to the rumour that a lawyer, who is very good at getting criminals off, just like Ralph did when he was in practice, is handling this case? My apology, Ralph hasn’t given up his practice; he’s just doing it from another bench. Based on the above I won’t trust the results of the investigation, unless there are outside people involved. I also believe Vincentians will not believe it either, especially if this guy get less than 10 years (one year for each person he injured). And as for causing Edgar’s death that close to 15 years – that’s 25 years. I am probably dreaming here because in SVG for the past 10 years anything and everything goes to Papa and he ain’t a saint.
    I wonder who’s going to die in the constituency where Baby Doc was recently parachuted. If these actions don’t raise a red flag (not the ULP red flag) for Vincentians, then I don’t know what will. Too many people have been killed and too many people are dying and it’s time for a change.
    Let me express my condolences to Edgar and his family and to those who were injured I hope you have a speedy recovers.

  6. A lot of people on the streets of Kingstown told me that they believe that this was a carefully planned, financed, and executed “hit” meant to send a clear message to other potential party “traitors” that a similar fate awaits them should they be reckless enough to defect to the other side.

    God forbid that this is true.

  7. I was surprised to see that so many people were suggesting that this may be anything but an accident. Personally I think that this is irresponsible.
    However, I was truly shocked to read the statement from Anesia Baptise which could be interpreted that this was an “attack” on the people’s right to life.
    This is an incendiary comment worthy of a rum shop.
    As a “leader” of a political party, one’s view must not only be; but must also seem to be impartial in these circumstances unless you have absolute proof.
    To suggest that this could be an “interference” to someone’s right to life is scandalous.

  8. I will bet my last dollar that the PM attends Cruikshank’s funeral, praying for a repeat of the worthless behaviour displayed at Elwardo Lynch’s funeral.

  9. Teacherfang…You have a country falling apart at the seams, both socially and economically. How come your not questioning the leadership of the Ralph?.

  10. I is of great shame the way our people are mislead by media and also have hatred amongst ourselves. The untimely death of Mr Cruickshank had shifted far beyond the boundaries. Instead of we try to comfort the family for the lost of their loved one, we pointing fingers with bitterness and hatred in our heart.When Ralph attends this man funeral lets see if the same holiganistic behavior gonna be displayed again for the world to see how intelligent we are.

  11. @Camillo…we on the same path. Ralph Gonsalves has proven, he is no leader. But I am always on Eustace case, cause he wants to lead Vincyland. And I do want Eustace to lead Vincyland; but sometimes, I wonder if he is a true leader.

    Now I am hearing new information, that a child was in the vehicle that crashed into people on Saturday night,if that is correct…I have to believe that this was indeed an unfortunate accident. No sane person will deliberately drive their car into a crowd with a child in the vehicle, right?…you have to be a damn lunatic.I don’t dwell in conspiracy theories, so until the investigation is complete…I am… neutral?

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