HAMILTON, Bermuda, Monday June 12, 2017 – No foul play is so far suspected in the death of a former member of the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) who was this month ready to vote against his former party in a no confidence motion.
According to police, 47-year-old Shawn Crockwell was “found in an unresponsive state” at his home on Saturday evening and was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say initial reports suggest no foul play, but an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death is underway.
Crockwell’s best friend, business partner and fellow Independent MP Mark Pettingill, with whom he was to travel the same day, said in a prepared statement that Crockwell “had suffered for some time with bouts of ill health”.
“I realize 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,” Pettingill said.
“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.”
Crockwell, an attorney by profession, was a former tourism minister in the OBA government, but quit the Cabinet in March last year, citing a loss of confidence in Premier Michael Dunkley, and then left the party in July. Pettingill also parted ways with the party, leaving the OBA and Progressive Labour Party (PLP) with 17 seats each in the House of Assembly.
Earlier this month, Crockwell had indicated he would vote against the OBA in a vote of no confidence which was initially expected to be moved by Opposition Leader David Burt last Friday, but then did not materialize as Parliament was dissolved the day before and elections called for July 18.
Premier Dunkley said Crockwell’s death was “devastating, shocking news, and it hurts”.
He said despite their recent political differences, Crockwell remained his good friend.
“This is a tragedy that is incomprehensible to me. Shawn was a Bermudian success story, full of promise and possibilities. I will miss him,” Dunkley said.
Meantime, the Opposition Leader said the PLP was stunned and deeply saddened by the death of Crockwell whom Burt described in a statement as “a rare man of conviction and courage”.
The PLP said it would suspend all campaign activity and advertising for a 48-hour period, out of respect for Crockwell’s sincere and meaningful contribution to the political discourse in Bermuda.