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Father was disappointed with selection process – Fiona

Father was disappointed with selection process – Fiona


The family of Edgar Cruickshank, the man killed when a car slammed into a group of people at a rally of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) on Saturday night, say they would like him to be remembered as a nation builder.

Fiona Cruickshank, in an exclusive interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, said that her father,{{more}} a former police officer, national cricketer, community and political activist, was an individual who often used his influence to help the less fortunate in the South Leeward community that he resided in.

“Daddy… represented his community in football and cricket. He worked hard to help the [Unity Labour Party] (ULP) form the government in St Vincent and the Grenadines for the past 13 years. He literally helped build the country as a road construction supervisor, and later as a private contractor with BRAGSA. He was a good husband and father,” the young Cruickshank said about her father, who succumbed to injuries sustained during the collision that took place in Clare Valley.

The vehicle, driven by Antwone Anthony of Questelles, struck another vehicle parked on the street, which then ploughed into the crowd at the hard court, injuring bystanders in the process, some seriously.

Cruickshank told SEARCHLIGHT that the family heard of the incident some time after 11 p.m., when someone called her mother, informing her that there was word going around “that a Cruickshank was injured at an NDP rally, and was rushed to the hospital.”

“One of my brothers then called and confirmed that Daddy was at the hospital with his legs broken. While we were packing a bag to go to the hospital, my brother called back to tell us that Daddy had passed away.

“We were told at the hospital that a car ran through the crowd at the rally and a number of persons were injured. There were conflicting reports as to whether he was the target. We later learned that he had been pinned under another vehicle, which was hit when the driver apparently lost control of his car. We are waiting for a final report on the incident from the police,” she added.

Since Cruickshank’s death, there has been debate about which political party the man whom SEARCHLIGHT understands called himself a “political animal” supported.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gon­salves in a radio interview on Monday, said that although Cruickshank was not pleased about Jomo Thomas being selected to represent the ULP in his South Leeward constituency, he remained a die-hard ULP supporter.

On the other hand, Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace stated in a press release, that the Questelles resident had recently started campaigning with NDP MP Nigel Stephenson, and that his presence at the public meeting was acknowledged by Stephenson as a first.

Cruickshank’s daughter acknowledged that her father supported the ULP, but was “disappointed that the party didn’t follow its own procedures for selecting candidates, and was passionate in expressing his disappointment to other members of the constituency committee, as well as to senior members of his party.”

She said that at the time of his death, he had difficulty supporting Jomo Thomas, the candidate selected, “and needed to show the extent of his dissatisfaction by throwing his support behind the incumbent representative for South Leeward.”

“He was a card carrying member of the ULP, and a very vocal supporter of the party. He also considered himself The Com­rade’s biggest fan and sometimes referred to himself as ‘the black Ralph’.

“In recent weeks he had stopped going out in his trademark red shirt and cap; and to the best of my knowledge this is the first time he has attended an NDP rally in South Leeward.

“On the night of the incident, he made a late decision to attend the rally, and was dressed in a white t-shirt and blue jeans shorts.”

Cruickshank’s daughter told SEARCHLIGHT that the family continues to process the sudden and unexpected circumstances that they are currently facing.

She said that there have been daily visits and phone calls from people offering condolences and sharing their memories of her father, affectionately known as “Cookie.”

She described her father as a stubborn, strong willed and “very passionate individual, who could be vindictive if he felt that he was wronged, but was always willing to forgive and forget,” and loved and protected his family.

“He often went out of his way to do what he could to help family and friends.

“He had 18 children and only two with my mother, so I can’t speak for my other siblings. But my younger sister and I always felt loved and protected. We were the youngest, and he always referred to me as ‘the princess,’ and my sister ‘the queen’. He was loved by his wife, whom he called ‘Richie’ and ‘Celes’.

“I’ll always remember him falling asleep in the living room listening politics on the radio or watching cricket on TV,sometimes both at the same time.

He’d wake early in the morning, read his Bible then put on his radio; on Sundays he’ll also read the local papers. Perhaps the most iconic memory is the lone figure in parliament in a red shirt.”

Up to press time, a date for Cruickshank’s funeral has not yet been finalised.