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Pettingill ‘broken-hearted’ over loss of best friend

Best friends for ever: Mark Pettingill, right, and Shawn Crockwell were referred to as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (File photograph)

Shawn Crockwell had suffered “bouts of ill health” for some time, according to his best friend and business partner.

Mark Pettingill spoke for the first time yesterday, to The Royal Gazette, about the death of Mr Crockwell, who was found in an unresponsive state at his Hamilton Parish home on Saturday afternoon. The clearly distraught lawyer described himself as “lost” and paid touching tribute to his 47-year-old friend, with whom he was due to fly to New York yesterday.

Referring to how inseparable they were, Mr Pettingill said: “I don’t yet know what Butch Cassidy does without the Sundance Kid.”

In his full prepared statement, he said: “I woke up to a world today that will never be quite the same, not because of the death of my best friend, but because of his life. Shawn Crockwell was iconic. He was incredibly intellectual, erudite, caring and kind, coupled with a rapier wit.

“He was deeply loyal to his family and friends and courageous in his beliefs, steadfast in his ability to reflect on his own views and accept his own consideration and assessment to change his stance if driven to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do.

“[He had] a wisdom few can lay claim to. He loved Bermuda and its people and wanted the best for us, embracing change if that’s what was called for.

“Despite his public persona, he was a very private person and had suffered for some time with bouts of ill health.

“I realise that many people are stunned by his passing and are questioning the cause.

“Having his confidence, as I did, and given communications between us in the hours before this tragedy, I must accept that his struggle with his health led to this escape.

“I would please encourage people to accept this and rejoice in the life of this special human being, his journey, his rise, his fortitude, his character.

“He was a true beacon to all of us that at some time may falter in our lives, [showing us] that with hard work and determination and love, great things can be accomplished.

“I know today mine is not the only broken heart and the depth of despair and grief of his family must be immeasurable.

“I can only pray and hope that one day, not far away, the pain will be replaced with only smiles. The smiles that ‘Crock’ in one way or another brought to so many in our island home.

“I don’t know yet what Butch Cassidy did without the Sundance Kid but to carry his indomitable spirit and light always in heart and mind must be the answer. Peace and love.”

Mr Crockwell and Mr Pettingill met more than two decades ago when the former was a clerk at the Supreme Court and the latter a young lawyer.

They became friends before Mr Crockwell served time in jail and the friendship deepened upon his release, after he pursued a career in law and joined the United Bermuda Party, where Mr Pettingill was also a member.

The pair were founding members of the Bermuda Democratic Alliance and went on to help form the One Bermuda Alliance.

They served in the Cabinet together but, eventually, both quit the party to become independent MPs. They returned to private practice law as partners at Chancery Legal.

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