Edgar Cruickshank, who died of injuries he sustained when a vehicle crashed into a New Democratic Party (NDP) meeting in Clare Valley, Saturday night, was a supporter of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) up to the time of his death, says Prime Minister and ULP leader, Ralph Gonsalves.
Gonsalves, speaking on radio from Cuba on Monday, sought to dismiss statements in the media that Cruickshank, a former ULP council member in South Leeward, had thrown his support behind the NDP’s Nigel “Nature” Stephenson — the incumbent MP for South Leeward.
Police said on Monday that they are “investigating the circumstances surrounding a fatal motor vehicular accident involving motor vehicle P 7516, driven by Antoine Anthony of Questelles and pedestrian Edgar Cruickshank, 78 years, retired, of Questelles” which occurred along the Clare Valley public road on Dec. 6.
“Motor vehicle P 7516 collided with Cruickshank and other pedestrians at a public meeting in Clare Valley. Cruickshank succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. Four other persons sustained serious injuries about their bodies and are patients at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.”
Saturday’s meeting was the first NDP rally that Cruickshank is known to have attended in recent time, and Stephenson pointed this out at the meeting.
Gonsalves, in his call, expressed his solidarity with Cruickshank’s family, saying he feels their sorrow and pain
“And also to say that the persons who are injured, including the little boy, they are in my prayers. I feel for them,” he said in reference to the 4-year-old son of the driver of the vehicle who was also in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
Gonsalves said Cruickshank has been his close friend for 30 years. “He was a good contractor. He was a good and disciplined worker,” he said of the former police officer, whom he also described as a fantastic cover fieldsman in cricket.
He also said Cruickshank was a good husband, father, and grandfather. “He was, and up to the time of his death, remained a member and supporter of the Unity Labour Party,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves statement came even as Cruickshank was actively and openly campaigning for Stephenson in South Leeward.
Earlier this year, Cruickshank registered with I-Witness News his objection to a poll being used to select the ULP’s candidate in South Leeward, saying it was unfair to Grenville Williams, who Cruickshank favoured as the candidate. Williams and Thomas had both agreed to accept the results of the poll.
The ULP said a poll it conducted showed that Sen. Jomo Thomas was most favoured to win the seat, and Williams nominated Thomas as the candidate at the ULP’s constituency conference in July.
Related: ULP South Leeward council member demands candidate selection runoff
But Gonsalves said that while there was talk that Cruickshank had stopped supporting the ULP, 10 days before Cruickshank’s death, he told the ULP leader that this was not the case.
“He said, ‘Commander, don’t pay any attention to that. That is divide and rule.’ He said, ‘I am with you from the beginning, I am with you in the middle, and at the end’,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves said that when he asked Cruickshank about reports that he was driving about with Stephenson, Cruickshank said, “Comrade, I am with you, believe me when I tell you that.’”
Gonsalves said he knows that Cruickshank would not have supported anyone else in the election with Gonsalves leading the ULP. “He never would have voted for anybody associated with the NDP and Arnhim Eustace. I know that as a fact. As the sun rises tomorrow, I have that certainty,” Gonsalves said.
“There are certain people who wanted to have Edgar as a political mascot — I am talking about people in the opposition — and he would have been too smart and cunning for them,” Gonsalves said, saying that people should not believe that Cruickshank had stopped supporting the ULP.
Gonsalves, however, said Cruickshank was a man with strong opinions, who in 2005 opposed Douglas Slater’s bid on a ULP ticket for a second term as the MP for South Leeward.
Gonsalves said Cruickshank felt that Slater was not a good constituency representative in his first term (2001-20050, but supported the former MP after he (Gonsalves) asked him to do so.
Cruickshank told I-Witness News this year that he and other party heavyweights in South Leeward rebuffed in 2010 an attempt by then MP for Central Leeward, Sir Louis Straker, to shift from Central to South Leeward.
Straker, who had represented Central Leeward since 1994, did not contest the 2010 poll.
Read: ULP supporters rejected Sir Louis as a candidate in South Leeward
Gonsalves sought to downplay Cruickshank’s presence at the NDP meeting.
“There are people who attend public meetings. Labour people attend NDP public meetings and NDP people attend Labour public meetings,” he said.
He also responded to statements and suggestions in some circles that the incident on Saturday was more than an accident.
“People want to put all kind of nefarious meaning behind a traffic accident. At least that is what is clear, and if people would do things like that — Internet crazies, opposition folk under the radar — it just tells you the extent to which people will go to tarnish other people’s names and to bring down Edgar himself in the esteem of his family and his dear friends.
“And this incident, I am sure that the police and the DPP will do their work dispassionately and I await the outcome of this particular matter.
“I don’t want to talk at this point about what has come to my knowledge, naturally, as prime minister, about the particular case, just to say that Edgar shouldn’t have met his death this way, it’s [a] painful one for me and it is a painful one for his family. Accidents do happen and sometimes these things hit us like a bolt from the blue,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves Said Gonsalves Said the man is always talking so nothing new. He can say all kind of things now because the man never got a chance to go up on a stage and speak for himself. And I find it very disturbing that a man died and the most important point you want to drive home is who he supported. That is some real sickening stuff and I don’t know how Vincentians stomach so much nonsense. The suspicious nature of the incident and utterances made by members high in government is sure enough to make me feel anyone feel uneasy.
Below is a recording of the PM saying that he will deal with anyone who he thinks try to subotage his government. (Audio is the property of M.Landon from the night Nurse Program on Nice Radio program)
Who can contradict what Gonsalves is saying in relation to the conversation he had with the deceased?…who is to know if Gonslaves is lying about those quotes from the deceased?…smh.
I anticipated this move from Gonsalves and the ULP…Gonsalves do not want it seem that the ULP is loosing support, so he will always push back on the notion that a “die-hard” ULP supporter such as Mr Cruikshank, was supporting the NDP…such narrative is a body-blow to ULP.
Now, the reason I was so pi$$ed off with the NDP on how they handled this issue from the get-go, is precisely because, I knew the ULP would want to get in front of the story and framed the narrative in such a way, that can throw shade on the NDP.
The NDP, from the moment this “accident” occurred, their PR machinery should have been in full combat mode. And by combat, I do not mean any physical violence or such…I mean getting on the airwaves, social media etc and shaping the narrative in a conciliatory and sympathetic way; with the main objective of ingratiating themselves to the undecided voters and ULP supporters. I know this may sound blasphemous to some NDP supporters but you have to always look at the bigger picture and you want to win the next upcoming elections, right? The NDP CANNOT WIN AN ELECTION WITH THE SORT OF VOTER TURNOUT THAT HAPPENED IN THE LAST ELECTION, SO THEY NEED TO GET THOSE POTENTIAL VOTERS WHO ARE ON THE FENCE AND THOSE SO CALLED “INDEPENDENT” VOTERS.
In some respect the NDP did just what I stated, they issued a press release and Mr Eustace gave the obligatory statement. However, if you listened to the initial press release by the NDP, and read between the lines;it had already come to a conclusion and rendered judgement. It was filled with speculation, hearsay and to add to the drama, Mr Eustace’s accusatory tone (calling for calm and restraint-can you say ALARMIST?)when he belatedly came on the New Times program on Monday. Prior to Mr Eustace speaking, Mr Leacock had already stoke the fire with a militant analogy of bullets firing…and to some extent I agreed with Leacock MINDSET, given the nature of our politics but the rhetoric was misplaced for this situation, he was making wild speculation that didn’t do the NDP any favors on the PR front.
I think the NDP, once again showed a lack of political acumen. The NDP was unsure what path to take, do they take the high road and take a conciliatory tone or jump on the conspiracy theory bandwagon and lay into the ULP. The NDP decided to go in both direction thus ending up going over a political cliff, well, in my estimation. This was so evident by the schizophrenic approach of Burt Francios on the New Times program on Monday. Burt started out by telling callers not to express any sort of view points on what occurred on Saturday night and just express condolences to the bereaved family. Really? Having listened to the NDP press released, you as a NDP supporter would think, this is war! Well needless to say, callers were justifiably pi$$ed off with the mixed signals the NDP was sending out and expressed their annoyance at Burt and the NDP in not allowing them to express an opinion on the “accident” . And to compound the annoyance of everyone, here we have Burt himself at various stages of the program, stating that he has his own opinion on what took place and will be sharing it on his program, on Tuesday night…implicitly suggesting to folks listening, that what took place on Saturday night was no accident…is not what you say, but HOW you say it. Burt was driving the conspiracy theory Bandwagon in stealth mode;giving people like myself an aneurysm with his less than stellar, hodgepodge like, performance as a Moderator on Monday.
Here is the deal; the NDP should have neither taken the high road or jump on any conspiracy theory bandwagon. The NDP ought to have simply released a brief statement, expressing condolences to the bereaved family and best wishes to those who were injured. And express confidence in the police investigation and await their findings…that’s it, nothing more…NOT THE BS OF PEOPLE HEARING THE CAR REVVING UP OR IT LIGHTS WERE OFF ETC…LEAVE THAT FOR THE POLICE TO INVESTIGATE…THE MOMENT YOU PUT THAT SORT OF HEARSAY AND SECONDHAND ACCOUNT IN YOUR PRESS RELEASE, YOU ARE IMPLICITLY TELLING FOLKS THAT YOU BELIEVE,THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT AND IT WAS DELIBERATELY DONE. BUT YET YOU WANT TO SENSOR CALLERS WHO WISH TO EXPRESS SIMILAR SENTIMENTS. REALLY? IF THAT WAS THE CASE, THE NDP SHOULD HAVE LEAD FROM THE FRONT AND ISSUE A PRESS RELEASE THAT IS MORE BEFITTING OF THEIR MANTRA OF A KINDER AND GENTLER SOCIETY AND NOT ONE THAT WAS GEARED TO RILE UP FOLKS.
The problem with taking such an approach, is that you open up yourself to a severe public backlash,if the findings contradict your narrative. And with an elections on the horizon, this could spell doom for the NDP.
Someone is lying here and it is surely Cruickshank who didn’t have the courage to tell his Commander that he had jumped ship,
So Gonsalves was out of the country when this happened?
Does anyone know the whereabouts of Francis on this particular evening?
mr peter.wat r u saying.it really seem u have an agenda .wat is it. u have not one positive to contribute to svg.u need to shutup.am sure u r nuisance to som .if u kno so much.join d police force.dey need ur help
I thought Burt was bad on Monday and on Tuesday night…but Margaret London take the cake and the whole hog. I am listening to Margaret London at the moment and I am beside myself…this woman is talking all sort of CLOTH, bringing up all sort of bygone issues to support her narrative of some sort of nefarious action in the death of Mr Cruikshank…NOT GOOD FOR THE NDP, NOT GOOD.
Margaret London has lost her f@#king mind…
PS…sensor or censor??…lol
Edgar had dumped the ULP and he had dumped Gonsalves, he told me he had been used and that the party had gone astray under the Phat man. So whatever spin Phatty puts on it, Edgar had dumped them.
Is that all the PM could talk about after such a horrific incident? Who the hell cares about whether he is NDP or ULP? The man was killed by car that end up into a crowd of people. There are too many coincidences in this ‘accident’. So please comrade the man is dead. He cannot vote. Let him be.
WTF!!..Who is the moderator here? I posted a comment 2 days ago and its still awaiting moderation..lol…You might as well not post the comment…You killing the vibe here Admin…you taking too long to post people comments…you can’t even reply to someone comments in a timely fashion as by the time the comment is posted…that ship has long gone.
Anyway, as an IT tech I am quite aware of the daunting task of online moderators…but 2 days?..SMH.
C-Ben-David. From what I understand the Gonsalves rendition of the story is pure fiction. There is a recording of the phone con between Gunzi and Edgar. Edgar told me he had torn Gunzi off a strip, there was nothing conciliatory about Edgar’s chat with the Phat man.
Edgar had jumped ship and he believed he was right in doing so, he believed that Gonsalves had exceeded his authority and he would not and could not support him any longer. He believed it was time for him to go. Edgar was much more of a purist than Gonsalves, he knew the difference between right and wrong and he knew it was wrong to continue to support a party and its leader that is controlling who was selected to represent any constituency. The ramming into constituencies of people like Jomo and Millo was not acceptable to him.
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