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Govt weighs new honour for ANR

Friday, May 2, 2014
Soldiers carry the casket of former president and prime minister Arthur NR Robinson to a waiting helicopter at the Ulric Cross Air Station, Piarco, yesterday, for transportation to Tobago. Robinson will lie in state at the THA Administration Building today before his funeral service at the Dwight Yorke Stadium and a private family service. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

Another Tobago tribute is expected to be declared in honour of the late president Arthur NR Robinson. Announcement of the tribute is expected to be given in Tobago, sources said, noting that the talks were initiated after President Anthony Carmona said Government should honour Robinson with more than his name being placed on a building and other monuments during the Trinidad leg of the State ecumenical service at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. 


On May 19, 2011, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar renamed the Crown Point Airport in Tobago the ANR Robinson Airport. Robinson, 87, who died of kidney failure on April 9 at St Clair Medical Centre, is to be buried tomorrow on the island of his birth, Tobago, after a second state funeral, this time at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Bacolet. Carmona was among eight people who paid tribute to Robinson. The others were Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, former president George Maxwell Richards, president of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Sang-Hyun Song, Integrity Commission chairman Kenneth Gordon and former executive director of the Trust Fund for Victims at the ICC, Andre Laperriere.
Carmona said Robinson’s memory must be preserved so that current and future generations would remember his efforts for national development and the promotion and preservation of the rule of law.


He said that was especially needed at a time when there was an “ample dose of restlessness nationally and overseas” and people were trying to hold their leaders to greater degrees of accountability and responsibility. He noted: “We must seek to preserve the legacy of this fallen patriot, not only through the naming of buildings or other monuments in his honour, but we must go beyond these trappings, however well-intentioned and admirable they might be. “T&T must establish programmes and formulate policies which are geared towards the complete fulfillment of President Robinson’s dreams. “His vision of T&T as a ship which must never steer away from its original moorings, from its founding principles, which have been codified in our Constitution and laws, if we are to give true meaning to his legacy, if we are to embrace it and not squander what he has bequeath to us.” He said Robinson’s insistence on the need for morality in public affairs was “an essential component of good governance.” 


Ahead of his time
In her address, Persad-Bissessar said as a politician Robinson was considered ahead of his time and as a leader he “never avoided the tough decisions nor was he intimidated by the uncertainty or the criticism that came with his work. “Tobago was his sun but Trinidad was his day,” she added. The PM spoke of Robinson’s defiance during the attempted coup in 1990, when he was an injured hostage in the Red House. She said he called on the army then to attack with full force. She said that was one of the greatest acts of sacrifice made by Robinson. Describing him as one of the nation’s most outstanding sons, Persad-Bissessar said he brought honour to his family and his country. Gordon, who spoke on behalf of Robinson’s family, said the former president was not understood by many in the discharge of his duty to the nation. He said Robinson was of great service to the nation for many years. Sung said the ICC would not have been established in 2001 were it not for Robinson’s vision, initiative and persistence. The court was established to deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity.


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