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Politician’s death rocks Bermuda

Bermuda was rocked by the shock death of one of its pivotal political figures in July 2017.

Shawn Crockwell, the 47- year-old former One Bermuda Alliance tourism minister who became an independent MP in 2016, was found dead in his Hamilton Parish home.

His grieving sister, Juanae Crockwell, said that he had left a message explaining his death was for health reasons.

She said the MP had written: “I have been sick. I have been struggling with Crohn's disease for the last 20 years. I am at peace.”

Ms Crockwell filed two complaints alleging police misconduct in the aftermath of her brother's death.

She alleged that a police officer shared the news on WhatsApp hours before the family were notified and that she and other close relatives found out he had died after they saw messages posted in chat groups.

She said in November 2019 that she had still not been told the outcome of either investigation.

Mr Crockwell, a lawyer, had been on the political frontline since taking over as chairman of the United Bermuda Party in 2007. He was instrumental in the demise of the UBP, when he quit along with Donte Hunt and Mark Pettingill to form the Bermuda Democratic Alliance in 2009.

Two years later, he became a founding member of the OBA, and sat on its Cabinet after the party's shock General Election victory in 2012.

He quit the OBA after expressing frustration at the way the party handled key issues, including immigration, and saying it failed to understand the black community.

Michael Dunkley, the Premier, who described his former colleague as an extraordinary and charismatic man, said: “Shawn was a dynamic public personality and his vitality will be missed in the places that he lived, in his professional life, in the courts, the meeting rooms and, yes, the floor of the House of Assembly.”

Mr Pettingill, his close friend, said: “The time is now for realising a place of equality, of forgetting differences, of not thinking of ourselves as black or white, Left or Right, rich or poor — but as Bermudians engaged in a struggle for unity.

“That was our friend's vision for this country, and he was living it and doing his best to make it a reality.”

Pivotal figure: Shawn Crockwell was a dynamic personality

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Published January 10, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated January 10, 2020 at 8:58 am)

Politician’s death rocks Bermuda

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