Sunday, January 21, 2018

5 days of funeral services for Robbie


condolence book: San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein signs the condolence book for former president and prime minister Arthur NR Robinson yesterday at the San Fernando City Corporation, Harris Promenade, San Fernando. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Mark Fraser

Five days of funeral services will be held to honour the life of former president Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson before he is laid to rest at the Scarborough Methodist Cemetery, Tobago.

Robinson, 87, also a former prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, died on Wednesday at  St Clair Medical Centre in Port of Spain after ailing for some years.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar appointed a committee chaired by National Security Minister Gary Griffith which comprises representatives from various ministries, the protective services, Parliament staff, the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) as well as the Robinson family to plan his funeral.

Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, yesterday, Griffith said there will be two funerals for Robinson over the five-day period—one in Trinidad and the other in Tobago.

It will be decided by Monday whether the services will take place between April 29 to May 3 or from April 24 to April 28.

For the first two days Robinson’s body will lie in State in a closed casket draped with the national flag at the Parliament at the International Waterfront Complex, Port of Spain, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Griffith said House Speaker Wade Mark has assured measures will be put in place to ensure adequate space and parking but consideration will also be given to having the body in State at the rotunda of the Red House which is currently under construction.

During these two days special guests, dignitaries and members of the public will be allowed to pay their respects by filing past Robinson’s flag draped unopened casket.

His Trinidad funeral will be held on day three at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Port Spain.

Griffith said the funeral service at NAPA will be preceded by a procession of a military cortege with full honours from the Clarke and Battoo Funeral Home to NAPA along a route lined by members of the protective services.

Following the State funeral service, Robinson’s body will lie in state at the eastern lobby of NAPA until 3 p.m where members of the public will be afforded another opportunity to pay their respects.

On day four, Robinson’s body will be flown to Tobago where it will lie in state at the Legislative Chamber of the THA between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m and members of the public will be allowed to pay their respects.

On day five a service of thanksgiving will be held in honour of Robinson’s life.

Griffith said this service will also be preceded by a procession with full honours where members of the protective services will also line the proposed route.

Robinson’s final committal and burial will be conducted at the Scarborough Methodist Cemetery with full military honour following the ceremony.

Griffith said in addition to activities planned for the five-day period, official condolence  books will be available for signing from April 14 at various locations which includes the Parliament, the legislative Chamber of the THA, foreign diplomatic missions and city and borough corporations of Port of Spain, San Fernando, Arima, Chaguanas and Point Fortin.

He said national flags will continue to fly at half mast until the funeral.

Griffith said the final dates will be disclosed after consultation is completed between the Prime Minister and Robinson’s family.