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Cruickshank was ULP supporter ‘up to his death’ – PM Gonsalves

Cruickshank was ULP supporter ‘up to his death’ – PM Gonsalves

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Following claims that a man who died, after being struck by a vehicle at a public meeting on Saturday night, was a former Unity Labour Party (ULP) supporter who had switched allegiance to the New Democratic Party (NDP), the Prime Minister has categorically stated that this is untrue.{{more}}

Speaking on Star Radio yesterday morning, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves expressed his grief over the tragic incident, and criticised those who were making the claims — accusing the NDP of trying to make Edgar Cruickshank (the deceased) into a “political mascot”.

“He has been my friend for about 30 years,” explained Gonsalves. “I know he would never have supported anybody in the elections other than the ULP with Comrade Ralph leading… I know that as a fact. As the sun rises tomorrow, I have that certainty.”

The Prime Minister said that when he first heard rumours of Cruickshank switching his support to the NDP, he called the Questelles resident to inquire about it.

“He said ‘Commander, don’t pay any attention to that – that’s divide and rule… I’m with you at the beginning, in the middle and I’m with you at the end,’ he told me,” he added.

“I will not stand by and watch people try to manipulate his name for dastardly political purposes. He was a good and decent human being… We have to pay tribute to Edgar Cruickshank, and I don’t want any of our supporters to be under any of this view that ‘Cookie’ had ‘turned’,” insisted the Prime Minister.

“Not at all; not for one single moment will I ever believe that!”

Gonsalves, who had called into the radio station from Cuba, where is attending the CARICOM / Cuba summit, went on to explain that the deceased was a man with “strong opinions” and even though he was a supporter of the ULP, he wouldn’t hesitate to talk about issues that he disliked.

The Prime Minister further acknowledged that Cruickshank was not in support of the person chosen to represent the ULP in the area and that he had issues with BRAGSA – which owed him in excess of $700 on contracted work.

Gonsalves, who said that his insides were in “turmoil” when he learnt of Cruickshank’s death, promised to support Cruickshank’s family, and those who had been injured in the same incident.

“Edgar should not have met his death this way,” he lamented. “Accidents do happen, and sometimes these things hit us like bolts from the blue.”

The Prime Minister also dismissed claims from supporters of the NDP that the driver of the vehicle that caused the incident had done so on purpose.

“How you would know who inside the crowd?” questioned Gonsalves. “You would need to be somebody in Al Qaeda… to drive into a crowd with your four-year-old child inside of the car!”

He added: “People want to put all kinds of nefarious meaning behind a traffic accident. If people will do things like that… that will just tell you the extent to which these people will want to go; to tarnish other people’s names, and to bring down Edgar himself in the esteem of his family and his dear friends.”

Gonsalves said that he is awaiting the outcome of the investigation into the matter, and that the driver would explain to the authorities what went wrong, from his point of view. He also mentioned that the driver’s son, who had been hospitalised as a result of the collision, is expected to make a full recovery.

The Prime Minister urged the nation to come together at this time to ensure that those injured and the family of Cruickshank can recover from this tragedy.

“We keep them in our prayers and we continue the solidarity,” he asserted.

“People must just get out of their heads these ridiculous conspiracy theories!”(JSV)

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