The People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago council is mourning Neil “Becko” Beckles.
Sources told Newsday that Beckles died on Thursday morning.
He came in the political spotlight in 2021, mounting a PNM platform where he was announced as the candidate for the Belle Garden East/Roxborough/Delaford electoral district for the January 2021 Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections.
Condolences were posted to social media by the council as well as its political leader Ancil Dennis.
THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris, in a WhatsApp message, said he came to know Beckles as his football coach with the Soul City Club of Mt Pleasant.
“There he lead us to championship success at both the Soul City Youth League and the Republic Youth Cup U-17 age group tournament. Neil was as principled as he was jovial and a true man of the people, always willing to help and always willing to be involved in community development. Tobago has truly lost a patriot and a visionary, whose death has left us all poorer as an island.
“It is with genuine sadness, I offer my condolences to his family, friends and colleagues from all walks of life. RIP my coach, my colleague and my friend, the late Neil Beckles.”
Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe posted on Facebook, “Such a warm heart and a sweet soul. We’ll miss you indeed. Rest in peace Mr Neil “Becko” Beckles.”
THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine expressed condolences to the family in a post on social media.
He said Beckles was a political rival, but there were times that “we supported the same vision.”
“I can recall when Tobago football was experiencing some turbulence and there was a need for change, Beckles was the man that I ensured Sideys (Football Club) gave its support to. I was so convinced that he was the man for the job that I spent time secretly calling around and ensuring that all my ‘country teams’ were voting in tribal manner to secure the victory.”
He added, “To the large (and almost ubiquitous) Beckles family of Roxborough, my team and I wish you comfort and God’s love during these difficult times. May his soul rest in peace.”
Deputy Chief Secretary Watson Duke said: “To the Beckles family: Condolences…I am truly saddened by his passing and even more sad by the large space in our society and lives he left behind as he leaves us behind.”
The Tobago Cricket Association (TCA) said Beckles was the longest-serving member of the association.
“A lover of pan, Neil served the Tobago Cricket Association (TCA) diligently in every elected position. He will be remembered for his calming presence and supreme institutional knowledge,” a statement from the TCA read on Thursday.