Robinson set a benchmark for the future
I mourn the passing of former president and prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago His Excellency Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson.
A former student of Bishop’s High School Tobago, he emerged as a scholar and leader. ANR Robinson graduated with a BA in law from the University of London and a BA in philosophy, politics and economics from the University of Oxford, England, and passed his bar exams in 1953. He returned to Trinidad and Tobago and was admitted to practice as a
barrister-at-law in 1955.
Throughout his illustrious career, he has held many distinguished titles, including the first minister of finance, and minister of external affairs. He was a representative of Trinidad and Tobago on the Council of The University of the West Indies (UWI) and a director of Trinidad and Tobago’s Industrial Development Corporation.
His contribution to the political sphere is undeniable. ANR Robinson’s involvement in national politics seemed to be predestined as he naturally gravitated to an arena that deterred many.
After his break with the People’s National Movement (PNM), he went on to form the Action Committee of Democratic Citizens (ACDC),
followed by the Democratic Action Congress (DAC), which won two seats in the 1976 and 1981 elections.
In 1981, Robinson joined forces with the United Labour Front (ULF), under the leadership of Basdeo Panday; the Tapia House Movement, under the stewardship of Lloyd Best; and the Organisation for National Reconstruction (ONR), headed by Karl Hudson-Phillips. These four parties formed a coalition—the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) and decimated their opponents in the 1986 general election, making ANR Robinson prime minister.
Espousing a mantra of “one love”, the NAR was the pontoon for equality and championing of democratic values, in what was previously a political monopoly.
The NAR’s principles mirrored that of Mr Robinson, a gentleman whose DNA contained equal parts tenacity, vision and patriotism. His beliefs were not contrived to fit into a sometimes volatile political landscape but rather, he stood his ground and battled for what was right and just.
He was an advocate for many initiatives such as the Caribbean Regional Economic Conference, the Caribbean Court of Appeal (CCJ) and was the leading proponent for the establishment of the Inter-
national Criminal Court (ICC).
He was a legal and political visionary who has set a benchmark for future generations of lawyers and politicians to follow. In his varied roles, even when faced with insurmountable adversity, his true character persevered and he continued being a pylon of integrity. His decorum never wavered, amidst a barrage of challenges that deeply tested his political savoir faire and his belief in humanity.
I join with the national community in mourning the loss of this son of the soil and also celebrating his illustrious life.
Senator Anand Ramlogan SC