FORMER president and prime minister Arthur NR Robinson died with his vision of self-governance for Tobago unrealised and it is up to us to ensure his dream does not die.
So said Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Orville London, as he delivered one of seven tributes to Robinson at a State Ecumenical Service at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Bacolet, Tobago, yesterday.
Robinson died on April 9 at age 87.
Yesterday was the last day of a five-day State funeral held in honour of Robinson around the country.
London said Robinson will be remembered not only as a politician, but a man of “impeccable character”.
“Adversity is a crossroad that makes a person choose one of two roads, character or compromise,” London said.
“And it was to ANR Robinson’s credit that on every occasion that he faced adversity, his decision was instructed by commitment to character and not a propensity to compromise,” he said.
London said Robinson did not allow “friendship, political alliance or even political rivalry to affect his decisions”.
Robinson had an “unflinching commitment to personal ideals regardless of personal costs”, London said.
“The most powerful confirmation that Robinson valued principles and the preservation of his character even over the preservation of his life” was seen in his handling of insurgents during the 1990 attempted coup, London said.
Robinson also embodied “Tobago love”, and his relationship with his wife, Patricia, should be emulated, London said.
While Robinson fulfilled many goals and saw many dreams, including the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) come to fruition, he “died with his Tobago vision unfulfilled”, London said.
“The tributes will continue to pour in for a man, like many great figures, who will be lauded more after his death than during his life,” London said.
“However, I remain convinced that there are two outstanding tributes that we owe to Mr Robinson and of which we must deliver,” he said.
“We must take the responsibility to ensure that Robinson’s vision of an autonomous Tobago in an equitable, dignified and mutually beneficial relationship with Trinidad in a strong, united, democratic state is realised,” London said.
“On a personal level, especially amongst us leaders, we must try to emulate the courage, fortitude, character and the refusal to compromise on principle that made the Castara Kid,” he said.
“If we do all that his soul will rest in peace,” London said.