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President Anthony Carmona has described former president and prime minister Arthur NR Robinson as not only a distinguished lawyer but was an “unwavering patriot who believed that the people of Trinidad and Tobago possess the innate talents and skills to make this country a model nation.” Carmona said Robinson was part of the march from colonialism to self-government, to independence and then republicanism.
The President said after receiving the news of Robinson’s death he took the opportunity to visit St Clair Medical Centre (where Robinson died) and prayed together with his daughter, Ann Margaret, his granddaughter, Anushka, and others for the repose of his soul.
He added: “Despite whatever difficulties we are experiencing as a nation, His Excellency Mr Robinson never lost faith in our ability to overcome any obstacle which threatened our democracy and our respect for the rule of law.
As a nation, we recall his personal sacrifice in preventing Trinidad and Tobago’s democracy and way of life from being destroyed, when he stood up to terrorists, and declared with stout defiance: “Attack with full force”. This patriot was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice so that we all, citizens of this fair land, from politician to priest could live to see a better tomorrow.
“At a personal level, I have witnessed the conviction and contribution of this colossus on the international plane when he took the political initiative to call upon the international community to establish a permanent International Criminal Court (ICC) to bring to justice those accused of committing atrocities, such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, the crime of aggression, and international drug trafficking, which has not been included as a crime under the jurisdiction of ICC to date.
“It is within my personal knowledge that he continued to press for drug trafficking to be under the jurisdiction of the ICC because of the scourge it continues to inflict on all nations.”
Describing Robinson as courageous the President added that the former president “defied the skeptics who scoffed at his dream of seeing the establishment of the ICC. Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the ICC, described Robinson as the ‘grandfather of the ICC’, a title which pays homage to his vision for an international solution to arrest universal impunity.
“He was a trailblazer who showed that small states can, and have made a difference to global affairs, if leaders have visions beyond the narrow confines of winning elections,” he said. Carmona said Robinson was a champion of the sovereign right of people to have their legislators make laws for the good of the entire citizenry and not merely for special interests groups, be they political or economic.
“I am honoured to have worked with His Excellency Mr Robinson whose counsel and influence made me a better prosecutor and judge,” Carmona said.