Former UNC Vice-chairman Clifton De Coteau who died on Friday.

Sascha Wilson

While thousands of voters will stain their fingers tomorrow in two elections, the faces of family and friends of former minister Clifton De Coteau will be stained with tears as they bid him a final farewell.

Moruga/Tableland MP Michelle Benjamin confirmed that his funeral would be held at 9 am at the St Stephens Anglican Church in Princes Town.

Although the United National Congress (UNC) has fielded candidates in the five seats in today’s by-elections, Benjamin said members of the party’s National Executive including Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar are making a concerted effort to attend his funeral.

She said De Couteau was her mentor and very instrumental in her political career.

Tributes have been pouring in for the former principal, minister, and parliamentary representative since the shocking news of his passing last Friday.

De Coteau returned home after purchasing a newspaper that morning. As he was coming out of his car he collapsed on the ground where his wife found him when she got up. Around 9 am the parish priest of the St Stephen’s Anglican Church Rev Father Michael Collin Greenidge performed last rites for De Coteau while his body was still on the ground.

His wife Linda told Guardian Media that De Coteau suffered from high blood pressure and other ailments related to age. In 2013, he became ill having suffered some bleeding to the brain.

It is believed that he suffered a massive heart attack. Linda said that her husband’s wish was for a quick cremation when he died.

De Couteau’s daughter lives in the United States and would not be able to attend his funeral due to COVID-19 restrictions.

His son lives in Tobago.De Coteau entered politics in 2003 and served as the councilor for Inverness/ Princes Town. In the 2010 general elections, he was elected the Moruga/Tableland MP until 2015.

He held several ministerial portfolios under the Peoples Partnership government including Minister of State in the Ministry of Education between May 2010, Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration, and Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development.