Saturday, December 16, 2017

‘Courage saved many lives’

Suruj: Citizens yet to understand ANR’s defiance during coup

THE COURAGE of Arthur Napo­leon Raymond Robinson is yet to be truly understood by the people of Trinidad and Tobago, Works and Infrastructure Minis­ter Surujrattan Rambachan has said.

Rambachan, a former minister in the Ministry of Industry, Enterprise and Tou­rism, and ambassador to Brazil under the Robin­son-led National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), spoke on Wed­­nesday, in response to the death of the country’s former prime minister and president.

“Mr Robinson can only be des­cribed as a very great

asset to Trini­dad and To­-

bago and the one whose courage is yet to be understood by the people in this country,” Ramba­chan said.

“When a person in a leadership position finds himself where his life is threatened and he chooses to put his life at total risk and to say ‘attack with full force’, in order to defend the dignity and honour not just of his government but of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, I think that is something that we are yet to absorb in this country and yet to understand,” Rambachan said,

Robinson’s defiance in the face of death may have helped in saving more lives during the July 27, 1990, attempted coup, he noted.

“I think that when Mr Ro­binson took that posi­tion, he changed the pos­-

si­ble outcome of that coup and may have, in the pro­cess, saved many more lives.

As we saw in the com­mis­­sion of en­quiry, it be­came very clear that they

(insurgents) came with an attempt to kill Mr Robinson and, you know, not many times you see a leader put­­-

ting himself or her­self

on the line,life on the line, for the sake of a country and a country’s dignity and honour, and I think that was an ele­ment of courage, an example of cou­rage that we can learn from and can absorb, in terms of how we, too, can rise to the defence of this nation when that is necessary,” Rambachan said.

He said Robinson put the needs of the country before his own.

“I think that Mr Robinson also brought a level of equilibrium into the country; now, Mr Robinson might have lost the (general) elec­tion in 1991, and the reason he would have lost had to do with the state of the economy and so on, but we must never also not understand what he inherited, and it was time when the economic fortunes of the country were in decline and he had to take very hard decisions,” Ram­bachan said.

“And that again is very important that he looked at the needs of the country at a particular point in time and was not afraid to take the kind of decisions that was not meant to protect himself and his position in power but was meant to ensure that the foundations for economic prosperity and social order would have been established,” he added.

Rambachan said Robinson’s leg­a­cy was international and his place in history was “assured”.

“I think Mr Robinson’s place in history is assured. Not only the national community, we must never forget Mr Robinson’s contribution to international justice, in terms of the International Criminal Court (ICC),” Rambachan said.