MP for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock. (IWN file photo)

The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is under attack, says Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, opposition lawmaker St. Clair Leacock.

“There are people who are demonstrating on a daily basis they want to eliminate us, and they want to destroy us in the New Democratic Party. … People are firing bullets at us and you want to call it rain? I am not calling it rain.

“They want to take us out, and we must take warning and we must take a defensive position and an investigative position to protect our lives and our limbs and to secure a future for a better St. Vincent and the Grenadines. These are my firm and unapologetic positions,” Leacock said on his party’s radio programme on Monday.

Leacock was speaking in the wake of the death of former South Leeward council member of the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP), 78-year-old retiree Edgar Cruickshank of Questelles, who died Saturday night after a car crashed into him and other persons at the NDP’s political meeting in Clare Valley.

Cruickshank had recently begun campaigning with Member of Parliament for South Leeward, opposition lawmaker Nigel Stephenson, and was attending his first political meeting with the party.

Edgar Cruickshank died Saturday night, after bring injured at an NDP meeting in Clare Valley. (IWN photo) Edgar Cruickshank died Saturday night, after bring injured at an NDP meeting in Clare Valley. (IWN photo)

Leacock expressed condolences to Cruickshank’s family “and to say how sad I am at his passing, and that things could have happened so fast.

“And as time proceeds, a lot will unfold, and I will share my own conversations on matters leading up to today, with respect to Saturday’s incident,” said Leacock, who is one of two vice-presidents of the NDP.

Leacock said that he understands that in moderating the programme, host Clemroy Bert Francois wanted to give it a particular sense and directions.

“We have every reason to know and understand that there are people who would want to hurt us in the New Democratic Party, and who would want to hurt us in the leadership of the New Democratic Party. And let me say it. I am going to stand by my words and my position. And, in fact, there are people who are currently hurting us and wish that they could hurt us more,” Leacock said.

“My formative training, Bert, is that of a soldier. And if I see people pelting bullets at me, I am not going to call it rain. I call it for what it is, and people are consistently doing things to hurt the New Democratic Party,” said Leacock, who attained the rank of major in the Cadet Force.

Police said on Monday that the accident involved motor vehicle P7516, driven by Antoine Anthony of Questelles and pedestrian Edgar Cruickshank, also of Questelles.

“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,” the police said.

Witnesses, however, say that P7516 slammed into a parked vehicle, propelling it onto the hard court where the meeting was being held, and pinning Cruickshank and other persons underneath.

Five charges have since been brought against Anthony.

Related: 5 charges brought against driver of car that crashed into NDP meeting 

“The direction in which that vehicle headed last Saturday evening, if no obstruction had stopped it, would have taken it straight onto the platform on which we, the speakers, were addressing that party (meeting),” Leacock said.

“In other words, those of us who were on that platform barely escaped a more tragic outcome on Saturday evening,” Leacock said.

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace and other persons on the platform at the NDP meeting on Saturday. (IWN Photo)
Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace and other persons on the platform at the NDP meeting on Saturday. (IWN Photo)

Leacock said it has been proven that the light, horn, and brakes on the vehicle were functioning, and questioned the response of the driver after the incident.

“… the instinct of a person who gets into a collision or an obstruction, is to get out and put there hand on their head and bawl, ‘Lord help me. Sorry. Please. What happen to me coming here tonight?’ That would have been the spontaneous expression, one of sorry; not just to escape from a scene, to be apprehended.

“We didn’t have light, we didn’t have horn, we didn’t have brakes, and we didn’t have behavioural expressions of remorse or sorrow.

“I call it what it is. I am among those who are going to count myself that an attempt was made to hurt the people of the New Democratic Party…” Leacock said.

“We have an election that is coming up. This government is going to lose this election hands down, … and it is not beyond the possible for people to do serious things that will hurt the outcome of this election. I am saying that and I am calling it out for what it is,” he further said.

Vincentians must vote by March 28, 2016 at the latest, but general elections are widely expected by December 2015.

“The New Democratic Party has to take note, our leadership has to take note, our membership has to take note. If we want to play churchgoers and [take] a moral highroad and assume that all will be well, that is fine. But I am saying, there is an old adage: take warning.”

He further said that the NDP cannot leave the investigation of the incident solely the Police Force.

“Already, if you listen to newscasts that’s coming out of 705 and utterances, much will be done to cover it up,” he said in reference to the state-owned radio station.

We have precedence,” Leacock said, noting that after Glenn Jackson, former press secretary to Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, was killed in 2006, Gonsalves said he was assassinated.

Francis “Prickle” Williams was charged with Jackson’s murder but the case against him was dismissed.

“We haven’t gone this far, neither am I encouraging it to go this far. But I am saying, on the basis of the evidence that is before me now, it was an attempt to hurt the people of the New Democratic Party, and we should not be naïve in our utterings and our people should call it out as they see it,” Leacock said.

Threats

Edgar Cruickshank, in white cap, at the NDP meeting in Clare Valley Saturday night. (Photo: NDP)
Edgar Cruickshank, in white cap, at the NDP meeting in Clare Valley Saturday night. (Photo: NDP)

Leacock, who was elected to office in 2010, said that he was not able to celebrate his election victory in Central Kingstown.

“Because all through the election, I had been warned, names had been called, criminal gangs had been identified, and people know the potential from which I could have been hurt.

He spoke of a recording of a man saying on radio “that if the Prime Minister gives him the instruction, that he will come and where he will put the bullet in St. Clair Leacock.

“… I have reported that to the Police Force. The tape is available,” Leacock said.

“I’ve had people walk up to me and say if I harass their prime minister how they will kill me and where they will shoot me. This is not a joking matter. Our life is on the line.

“I am not afraid and we will go forward, because of many of us who are injured, many others will come forward. And this is no time for political niceties … I am working in this vineyard every day and I know what we are up against. I am not compromising. We might get a position that is not my own, but these are my positions as a parliamentarian,” Leacock said.

6 replies on “‘People are firing bullets at us,’ opposition MP says”

  1. Is this what our politics in SVG have been reduced too – making political capital out of a tragedy before and without knowing at least some of the facts. Sad, sad.

    Reading the above headline above makes me think that “Ringing the Bell” paranoia has broken out in the NDP. Gunmen at home must be bad shots to miss these opposition MPs or all part of an alarmist hype.

  2. I have made a premonition on this forum that every three or four months leading up to the next general election, the ULP will face a scandal or setback. I also predicted that the NDP will not get any mileage from any of these scandals or setbacks.

    Now it is plain to see that the NDP brass is making a prophet out of me!

    The saga at the Registry could have put the NDP miles ahead in the polls. Instead of mobilizing support by lambasting the government in Parliament and carrying the message to the people, Leacock made an ill-advised statement at a rally attended by less than five thousand that the NDP will not cooperate with the government on anything. Botched opportunity!

    Houses were falling in Clare Valley. All and sundry know that the ULP government and the HLDC made a mess of the project. The NDP made a bigger mess by failing to create a united front in its attack. Every day a different candidate would give a different spin on the issue. Why am I mentioning it here when Vincies have forgotten!? Botched opportunity!

    Sehon Marshall put his foot in his mouth and discomfited the “dog walkers” and “baby sitters” in the Diaspora. The NDP left it to the so called “internet people (sic)”, pun intended, to do the bulk of the attack. Sehon was appointed; the “dog walkers” and “baby sitters” are back to work and the NDP made no mileage. Botched opportunity!

    First, my condolences go out to Edgar Cruickshank’s family. The gentleman is not in the ground as yet and it is politics as usual. Mr. Leacock, an astute politician would leave Julian Francis on defense. A smart politician would say nothing! Leacock opens his mouth and [ ….] comes out. The NDP is botching this one!

    Leacock needs to understand that Vincentians do not vote FOR anyone, instead Vincies vote AGAINST. The masses are not going to vote for the NDP because they like any of its candidates. Conversely, people will go out and vote AGAINST Julian and Ralph (Note the order).

    Why on Earth as it is in Heaven Leacock cannot follow the script? The 15 men need to sit down and come up strategies at each misstep of the ULP. Have Mr. Eustace put out a statement and all sing from the same handbook. One more thing – Give the Nice radio a rest! Only the NDP supporters tune in to this station. Hit the ground running!

    Who am I to give the NDP advice?

  3. You really have to stop and think sometimes. If what Leacock is saying is true, then maybe what happened was indeed an accident because the car didn’t get the intended target, maybe the intended target was the NDP’S leadership and if you look at it that way it make sense. How would Francis know it was an accident so soon before any investigation? Officers you all need to take Francis in for questioning.

  4. Thank you Mr. Leacock for not being afraid to speak the truth. The intimidation tactics of the ULP is obviously being ramped up here with the hope that the current trend of so many people abandoning the ULP ship may somehow be averted. How stupid. You cannot bully people into voting for you. Mr. Cruckshank was a staunch supporter but he could no longer stomach those bunch of vipers anymore. May his soul rest in peace. At least he died with clean hands because he refuse to turn a blind eye and condone the wickedness and corruption in the ULP..Mr Cruckshank died a hero. He stood up for what is right and just, and his legacy will live on. To all those that are behind this cowardly act listen carefully….Vincy people will grin with you, take what ever you sharing away and then they will vote you out, They will even bad talk the NDP to your face, Vincy people not fools. Never underestimate them, they maybe many things but let the ULP know “All grin teeth nah smile”. When you about to close your eyes to rest at night ponder these truths.

  5. arrogant leacock as usual.wat r u trying to imply.wat measage u sending d world.seem to me dat u trying to instigate riot wit ur antics./how did u become a politician.some more like desperation.quit wit ur bs;present ur plans for d country and move on.i always admire mrs leacock.one my favotite teacher’ but u. ur arrogant must stop.vincentian want more than dat

  6. I think the NDP should ask for police protection at their meetings. I am sure the ULP has police around the PM and rightly so, but the opposition should also have the same security protection. I am sure if anything happens to Arnhim Ralph would not survive much longer. It is therefore necessary for Ralph to let Arnhim get the same security he allocates to himself. Let Arnhim interview several high ranking police officers so he can select the right one he feels comfortable with.

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