HAMILTON, Bermuda, Friday June 16, 2017 – An emotional revelation from the grieving family of Independent legislator and former tourism minister Shawn Crockwell this morning all but confirmed that he had taken his own life.
Crockwell, a 47-year-old father of three, was found dead at his home on Saturday, June 10.
At the time, police said no foul play was suspected and today, at a brief press conference, his sister virtually confirmed the finding, as she revealed the content of a message that Crockwell had left behind.
Juanae Crockwell quoted her brother saying he had Crohn’s disease, a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. Sufferers with Crohn’s disease can experience periods of severe symptoms followed by periods of remission that can last for weeks or years. The symptoms depend on where the disease occurs in the bowel and its severity, and can include chronic diarrhea, often bloody and containing mucus or pus; weight loss; fever; abdominal pain and tenderness; feeling of a mass or fullness in the abdomen and rectal bleeding.
“I am at peace,” Cockwell’s note read. “This decision was because of health reasons. I have been sick. I have been struggling with Crohn’s disease for the last 20 years.”
In the message, the former member of the ruling One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) appealed to Bermudians to move on.
“I hope that those that feel animus towards me can get over that, because I am at peace.”
The tearful sister said her brother especially wanted the country to unite. His message expressed concern that Bermuda was missing, “love thy neighbour” and it urged that “life is too short for hate.”
She added that her brother said it was his “greatest honour” to represent the island at the highest level. She said her family would seek to lead positive change in Bermuda in keeping with his wishes.
“Our family is committed to being a part of the change that he wanted to see in this country, and we invite and implore you to be a part of that change too,” she said.
The family thanked Bermudians for their support.
Bermuda was shaken by the death of the popular politician. And in a rare show of unity, the OBA and the opposition Progressive Labour Party (PLP) agreed to suspend campaigning for the July 18 general election.
Premier Michael Dunkley paid glowing tribute to his former colleague, saying, “Shawn was a Bermudian success story, full of promise and possibilities. I will miss him.”
In a statement, the PLP said “Shawn was a rare man of conviction and courage; when communing with him, you could clearly see that God granted Shawn the courage to promote, defend and pursue his convictions regardless of the favour or foul of any observer.”