International leaders have exalted former president Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson as a man who Trinidad and Tobago can be proud of as his legacy has made a global impact, says President Anthony Carmona.
Carmona paid tribute to Robinson at his ecumenical service at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain, yesterday.
The service was packed with dignitaries including Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar; Dominica President Charles Savarin; Grenada’s Gov Gen Cécile La Grenade; Barbados Prime Minister Freundal Stuart, and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Baldwin Spencer.
Robinson, who died on April 9 at the age of 87 after ailing for some time, was hailed by Carmona as a patriot whose loss has been recognised internationally.
Carmona read a letter of condolence he received from United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, whom he said expressed the grief of the UN family, referencing the Nuremburg and Tokyo war crimes tribunal after World War II.
The letter stated, “Many did not believe that we would live to see another tribunal charged with bringing to justice perpetrators of atrocities, and many of us even thought the creation of such an institution would be legally and politically impossible.
“Thanks to President Robinson’s singular vision, his tireless work and his inspiring leadership, we were proved wrong. The United Nations and the peoples of the world are eternally grateful to President Robinson, the International Criminal Court is his legacy to us and for that his family and his country can justly be very proud.”
Carmona added that Philippe Kirsch, the first International Criminal Court (ICC) president, was also in full praise of Robinson, describing him as “a truly remarkable man who never wavered in his vision of a world of justice for victims of serious international crimes. The international community has lost a true pioneer”.
He said further that Benjamin Berell Ferencz, now 95, who was the youngest prosecutor at the Nuremburg trial who was a good friend of Robinson, called him and they spoke about the loss of a world visionary.
“This is but a small indicator of how this esteemed president is held by renowned scholars and jurists internationally,” said Carmona.
Robinson’s legacy, he said, must be preserved and not just from the naming of buildings and monuments after him.
“Trinidad and Tobago must establish programmes and formulate policy which are geared towards the complete fulfilment of Robinson’s dreams, his vision for Trinidad and Tobago as a ship which should never steer away from its original moorings,” said Carmona.
“We must also hold as sacred, sacrosanct, his belief that morality in public affairs is an essential component of good governance,” he added.
He said greater harmony and equity between the islands of Trinidad and Tobago must be worked at.
Noting Robinson’s statesmanship, Carmona said the level of debates must also be lifted in the country.
He said further that there should be a continuation of Robinson’s advocacy for the inclusion of the international drug trade as crime within the jurisdiction of the ICC.
Carmona said it must never be forgotten that Robinson and his bodyguard were victims of illegal guns during the 1990 attempted coup and efforts should be made to have the secretariat of the Arms Trade and Treaty (ATT) established in this country.