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.