Former president Arthur NR Robinson was a visionary and a humble man who served selflessly, says Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
The Prime Minister yesterday praised Robinson’s legacy, saying his journey through history and his achievements are inspiring life’s lessons for all.
She was speaking at the State Ecumenical Service for Robinson at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain.
“The way Mr Robinson lived his public and private lives form part of the great legacy he has left behind for today’s and tomorrow’s generations to emulate,” said Persad-Bissessar.
She said one thing that inspired her over the years was the fact that he was a great example of how important it always was to have a vision for what one wished to achieve.
“Action without purpose is an exercise in futility. In all of his decisions, in all of his actions and in all of his years, each and every moment was guided by his philosophy and his vision for the place he wanted his country to become,” said Persad-Bissessar.
She said one of Robinson’s most memorable lessons was of sacrifice.
“Few contemporary world leaders have ever faced the choice of either laying down his life for his country, or surrendering his country for his life,” said Persad-Bissessar.
“Mr Robinson taught us in spectacular fashion that there will be times when the best choice could mean that we must lose as individuals, for the benefit of others,” she continued.
Another valuable lesson from his life, she said, was that strength of character will always form the basis of humility in victory, and dignity in defeat.
She noted that at the start of his tenure as prime minister, Robinson controlled 33 seats in a Parliament of 36 representatives.
She said by the end of his term, he had moved to the back-bench of the Opposition, with two seats, and yet held his head high, knowing that whatever his new status, he served his country with purpose and pride.
Persad-Bissessar said Robinson made his mark on the world, with his advocacy for the creation of a permanent international court to deal with the transnational drug trade.
“And with the same dignity that he left office, he was able to live to see his dream fulfilled with the inauguration of the International Criminal Court in 2002, commissioned to hear cases of crimes against humanity,” she said.