ARTHUR NR Robinson transformed the Office of the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago into a “major force”, his successor as this country’s Head of State, Prof George Maxwell Richards, has said.
Richards made the statement during a telephone interview on TV6’s Morning Edition yesterday following news of the death of Robinson.
Robinson, this country’s former president, prime minister and chairman of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), passed away at the St Clair Medical Centre around 6 a.m. yesterday.
Robinson, 87, had been ailing for several months.
Richards said in all three posts Robinson “fulfilled his great potential”.
“I have to say that we all are extremely shocked and saddened to learn of Mr Robinson’s passing. Mr Robinson had made an excellent contribution to the development of Trinidad and Tobago,” Richards said.
Richards said one of Robinson’s “most significant contributions” was the creation and development of the International Criminal Court.
“I think despite the shortcomings, I think funding is one of them, he was able to turn the office of the president into a major force,” Richards said.
“I think probably his greatest impact was on the citizens of the country who benefitted from his wisdom and experience,” he said.
Richards said although this country does not have an executive presidency Robinson was able to get his message out.
“Of course the office is not an executive office but I think he was able to get his message across to the people in the country and I think the people reacted very well to him,” Richards said.
“I think his integrity, his humility, and I think everything that he stood for will be etched forever in our memory,” he said.
Richards said despite the trauma attached to the 1990 attempted coup, Robinson survived.
“It must have been extremely traumatic but he was strong enough to survive it and I don’t think it affected him really in later life,” Richards said.
“I think he really had the capability, the guts, to be above these difficulties and traumatic experiences he may have encountered. I think he served the country very well, and I think what we really should do is look at the way he was able to transform the country into a better place,” Richards said.