Thursday, January 18, 2018


Former president in serious condition at hospital


Former president Arthur NR Robinson, 87, has been hospitalised in a serious condition.

Mark Fraser

Former president Arthur NR Robinson, 87, has been hospitalised in a serious condition.

Robinson has been ailing for some time and the Express understands his condition has deteriorated with the loss of the function of a kidney.

He is currently being treated at St Clair Medical Hospital.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar visited Robinson yesterday at the hospital together with Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan.

The Prime Minister arrived around 2 p.m. and spent just about 15 minutes with the former leader.

Speaking to the media afterward, Persad-Bissessar hailed Robinson as a hero.

Asked if she was able to communicate with Robinson, she said, “Yes, we did have a conversation and I am very pleased that he acknowledged when I spoke with him. He didn’t speak, but he nodded his head when I was speaking to him, so I touched him and he sort of calmed down. It was a very touching experience. He’s a very brave man you know.”

Persad-Bissessar yesterday laid the report from the commission of enquiry into the 1990 attempted coup in Parliament.

“I find it very interesting that today I am laying that report in Parliament with respect to the coup which Mr Robinson was very much a hero in some senses. Remember he said, ‘Attack with full force’,” she said.

“I felt that he understood what I was saying even though he didn’t speak. We go back a long way. I began my political life under the tutelage of former prime minister Robinson and then of course his Excellency. We worked together when he was president, a very great man,” said Persad-Bissessar.

Minister Khan said the fact that Robinson was hospitalised speaks to the seriousness of his condition. However, he said Robinson responded to the Prime Minister well and was very peaceful. He said he had fallen asleep and should be “ok” for the rest of the evening yesterday.

President of the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) Harrypersad Maharaj also visited Robinson yesterday and issued a call for the nation to pray for the former leader.

“Today I took the time out to pay a visit to former president and prime minister Arthur NR Robinson, who is warded at the St Clair Medical hospital. I also spoke to his daughter, Margaret, who will appreciate our prayer at this time for him and the family for his speedy recovery,” said Maharaj.

Maharaj said special prayers should be held from 8 a.m. to 8.15 a.m. tomorrow when most places of worship and prayer have congregations.

“President Robinson has served this nation and the world in general in so many ways and we shall ever be grateful that Trinidad and Tobago has produced such distinguished souls. May our prayers and meditations give him strength to recover and courage to his family as well,” said Maharaj.

Questioned on another issue, Persad-Bissessar said the $5 billion in concessional loans from China has nothing to do with gene­ral elections, as alleged by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley.

She said the money was offered by the Chinese President to Caribbean nations for infrastructure development when he visited the region last year.

“Let me make it very clear that those words on the part of the Leader of the Opposition were reckless indeed in terms of the diplomatic relations we share with another nation,” said Persad-Bissessar.

She said her Government asked that the money be provided in this fiscal year instead of next year, as there were projects on stream.