PNM candidate for the Belle Garden East/Roxborough/ Delaford electoral district Neil Beckles is confident of winning the seat in the upcoming THA election.
The electoral district is currently held by the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke.
Speaking with Newsday on Tuesday, an optimistic Beckles said, “If I was lacking confidence I would not have been in the race.”
The Roxborough native, 61, said he has been involved in community work and provided national service as well as public service all his life. Beckles began his national service as a member of the Defence Force from 1979-1982 before he left to employed by the THA as a paymaster. He is the current president of the Tobago Football Association and first vice president of the Tobago Cricket Association. He is also a member of T&TEC New East Side Dimension Symphony, the 2019 THA Pan Champs small conventional bands winner, based in Belle Garden.
“I have always been a part of the people. I’m always representing the people at the hearts of the community. All my life I have been doing that and, in their interest, going forward the people need representation, the people need proper representation, the people want their voices to be heard so they chose me to represent their cause and because of that I believe that I can push their interest forward,” he said.
On Monday, the PDP revealed their list of candidates which showed that Duke will be contesting the seat for yet another term, but Beckles is not worried.
“I am not concerned about who the opponent is really, I am more focused on getting the nod to represent the people in the new term.”
He added: “The difference they would get from me is that we have some unfinished business on the physical development that has been done in the area.”
A particular area of concern, he said was residents not maximising the opportunities available to them.
“We need to capitalise on that, make use of the opportunities that is being provided to us. There are opportunities that some of the people are not aware of, some of the people might be reluctant to access the opportunities that are available to them. We need to access the opportunities which will improve the standard of living.
“The pandemic situation right now, we don’t have the kind of tourists available to us again, so then we have to make use of the local tourism. We will soon have more (seabridge) boats available to us which would provide the avenue where more people would be coming to Tobago. We can tap in on that, we have resources in the area, we have potential in the area, so we can tap in on that... there is always room for improvement and that is what I remain focused on.”
Beckles said he has plans to boost transport, sport and eco-tourism in the electoral district.
“Let’s start with a transport hub; we need a transport hub to the inner parts of the island like Charlotteville and the North East end of the island. We need sporting academies, for too long sport development has been suffering in that area.
“In terms of economic development, we could make better use of the rainforest especially for eco-tourism,” he said while adding that he is also looking forward to increasing agriculture, housing, entrepreneurship and re-establishing the Kendal Farm School.