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Tributes paid to former MP found dead in St David’s

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Grim discovery: police officers cordoned off Marginal Wharf after Mr Tucker’s body was discovered (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Tributes have been paid to Darius Tucker, a former politician who was found dead in St David’s.

Police divers discovered a body in Mr Tucker’s company van, which was submerged in the water off Marginal Wharf. Mr Tucker had been missing since Sunday evening.

Police had not officially confirmed that the body was that of Mr Tucker by press time, but did acknowledge that it was his van.

Assistant Commissioner Antoine Daniels said: “At 8.40am we received a 911 call of a potential sighting of a van. We called out the marine police unit who came down with two divers.

“They dove under and unfortunately and tragically they located the white van we have been looking for with an individual inside.”

Mr Daniels added that family members had been informed of the discovery.

He said: “I had a difficult conversation with the family and my sincere condolences go to the family.

“I don’t want to say too much because obviously that family has to speak to the wider family members. It’s a tragic ending.”

Mr Daniels said that there was no indication of foul play, but added: “However, it’s early in the investigation and we’re doing some forensic examination now before we extract the body and extract the van from the water.”

Mr Tucker was last seen leaving St George's in his white van on Sunday evening. CCTV footage later showed him travelling towards St David’s.

On Monday, police launched an appeal for the public to help find Mr Tucker, and the coastguard was drafted in to search the waters in the east end.

Members of Mr Tucker’s Freemason lodge, and staff at Renaissance Re – where Mr Tucker’s wife works – also came out in large numbers to assist in the search.

Mr Tucker, 56, was elected as the United Bermuda Party MP for Hamilton South in December 2007, having served as branch chairman for the previous four years.

But in 2011 he crossed the floor to join the ruling Progressive Labour Party. He stood for the PLP in Paget West in the December 2012 election, but lost out to Patricia Gordon-Pamplin.

Darius Tucker served as a UBP MP and also represented the PLP in the 2012 election (File photograph)

Last night friends and political colleagues paid tribute to Mr Tucker.

Former UBP minister Maxwell Burgess said: “Darius’s political life and mine are matter of public record. He had been a friend prior to my joining the UBP for a considerable period of time.”

Mr Burgess was recruited to the UBP in the early 1980s by Sir John Swan, the former Premier.

He served as MP for Hamilton West before losing his seat in the 1989 General Election and regaining the seat in 1993.

He said Mr Tucker was one of two friends he went to for counsel before running again as an MP.

Mr Burgess added that his friend was unrivalled for his assistance with canvassing – especially in 2001, when the late former Tourism Minister Jim Woolridge stepped down as MP in Smith’s South, leading to a by-election in which Mr Burgess emerged victorious.

He recalled: “I’d been canvassing for a number of years, but I had never met anybody like Darius Tucker.

“He took me into homes, he knew the names of everybody, who was at school and whether their father was working – it was incredible. I had never seen it before and I have not seen it since.

“I got opportunities to chat with people irrespective of how they would vote. It would never have happened without two friends – David Tavares, and Darius Tucker.”

Mr Burgess attributed his win in Smith’s South “not to Maxwell Burgess, but to Darius Tucker”.

When Mr Tucker ran for the UBP in 2007, Mr Burgess said the new candidate faced “some pushback”.

He added: “I made it crystal clear that I was supporting Darius Tucker. He subsequently became the candidate in 2007, and we remained friends through his challenges with the party.”

Mr Burgess said he counted Mr Tucker among his few “true and trusted friends”.

“Darius the friend is something that I will keep and cherish privately.”

He said he had been deeply angered by comments on social media speculating on the circumstances of Mr Tucker’s death.

“People must cease and desist from what I am hearing and seeing on social media and the like. It is not a matter for them as to how he met his end or the reason why. I find it repulsive that people would do this.

“His wife and two sons do not deserve what I am seeing and hearing, and I would urge the community to think of them.”

Michael Dunkley of the Opposition One Bermuda Alliance, who had previously served as a UBP MP alongside Mr Tucker, said news of his death had “rocked the community”.

Mr Dunkley said: "I was in shock and disbelief when I learnt of this tragedy today. Darius was a friend and former colleague who always had a smile on his face.

“It is hard to accept the news that has rocked our community. On behalf of myself and my family we extend our condolences to Darius' family and friends."

Mr Tucker trained as a carpenter after leaving school and had his own business, DT’s Services. He was married with two sons.