Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 10th 2014 Contents A5
death of a statesman
Thursday, April 10, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Villagers of Castara are calling for Tobago to be
the final resting place of former president and prime
minister Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson.
During a visit to the rural fishing village and birthplace
of Robinson yesterday, where the news had already
circulated about his passing, everyone described him
as a hero, good man and the proverbial father of Toba-
go.Businessman and Castara resident Lorris Walker
said the news was not shocking since they were aware
he was ailing for years. He said the community of Cas-
tara had lost an icon and called for him to be buried
on the island.
"I feel sad that he is gone but he did great things
for us in his time. I would appreciate it if he is buried
in Tobago. It doesn t have to be in Castara but in
Tobago, so we are looking forward to that," Walker
He also expressed his disappointment about the
poor progress of the proposed museum and ethics
centre planned in honour of Robinson. The sod was
turned for construction of the museum on September
5, 2008 but work is yet to start.
"The monument should have been built already.
They have waited until he died to start building some-
thing and that is not right. We should have gotten that
already so I will like to see them do something right
now," he added.
When the T&T Guardian visited the site it was over-
grown with bush and a derelict vehicle was parked in
Keon George, the godson of Robinson and his wife
Patrica, also felt his godfather should be laid to rest
in the island of his birth as Tobagonians should get
the opportunity to attend the funeral
"He was a good one because he fought for both
Trinidad and also Tobago," George said.
Robinson s former bodyguard, Winston John, said
Robinson lived a good life and was indeed the father
Sending condolences to the family, John said: "He
has lived his life and he has done well for Trinidad and
Tobago and I, as a Tobagonian and a citizen of Trinidad
and Tobago, would be very happy if he as a son of the
soil is buried at home. We are indeed happy and thankful
for all his achievements, locally and internationally."
Another resident, Malcom Taylor, said Robinson
was never appropriately honoured for his contribution
He added: "Robinson was a king by himself and
the airport that they renamed is nonsense in my
mind. It should have been a brand new airport.
Jamaica-born professor emeritus Norman Girvan,
one of the region s most renowned economists,
passed away yesterday, according to a brief state-
ment from the University of the West Indies.
Girvan, who was born in 1941, was until recently
a professorial research fellow at the Institute of Inter-
national Relations at the St Augustine Campus of
the University of the West Indies.
In 2010, he was appointed as the United Nations
Secretary General s personal representative on the
Guyana-Venezuela border controversy. Since 2009
he has been a member of the United Nations Com-
mittee on Development Policy.
He also served as secretary general of the Asso-
ciation of Caribbean States, professor of development
studies and director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute
of Social and Economic Studies at the University of
the West Indies, and head of the National Planning
Agency of the Government of Jamaica.
Professor Girvan has published extensively on the
political economy of development in the Caribbean
and the Global South. He was the recipient of several
honours and awards.
Funeral arrangements are to be announced.
Prime Minister Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar says a full state
funeral is to be held for former
president and prime minister
Arthur NR Robinson who died
yesterday after ailing for
Persad-Bissessar made the
disclosure following a 45-minute
visit to Robinson s Ellerslie Park,
Maraval, home yesterday, where
she met with his daughter Ann
Margaret Robinson and his
Robinson, 87, who was this
country s third prime minister
and president, passed away at
St Clair Medical Centre at 6 am.
He was taken there one month
ago and died from kidney fail-
Persad-Bissessar could not
give the date of the funeral but
indicated that it would be in
Tobago as it was Robinson s wish
to be buried in the island of his
"Those dates have not been
worked out because Mr Robin-
son s wish was to be buried in
Tobago and the Jazz Festival is
coming up so we will factor that
in when we meet," she added.
The Prime Minister said she
would remember Robinson for
his courage and his call to the
army to "attack with full force"
against the Jamaat-al-Mus-
limeen insurgents, when he and
other Cabinet ministers were
held hostage during a six-day
siege at the Parliament building
in July 1990.
She said the nation should be
inspired by his courage, grit,
brilliance, family life and his
"Attack with full force we
must never forget," she said.
BIG FUNERAL PLANS
She said a state funeral will
also be held in Trinidad so that
the entire country could get a
chance to pay their final respect
to a man considered a giant of
public life and service to the
"We do plan to have a full
state funeral with all the honours
befitting a great man like Mr
Robinson," Persad-Bissessar told
reporters outside Robinson s
She said a team, including the
Foreign Affairs and National
Security Ministers, was set up
to plan the funeral arrangements.
Flags were ordered flown at
half-mast hours after his death
was announced yesterday.
Among those who visited the
family yesterday with the PM
were National Security Minister
Gary Griffith and Vice-Chief of
Defence Staff Anthony Phillip
Spencer, who both served as
aide-de-camp to Robinson.
Persad-Bissessar, who said
Robinson was her personal men-
tor, added he was also "a hero,
icon and great son of our soil."
Plans are being finalised for
Robinson s body to lie in state,
possibly at the Parliament Build-
ing, Port-of-Spain, and at a
venue in Tobago, she said.
Several Caribbean leaders and
international dignitaries are
expected to attend his funeral.
The PM said Ann-Margaret
and Anushka were in grief but
they detailed during her visit
yesterday some of the special
moments and experiences they
shared with him.
Robinson s daughter and
grand-daughter, Anushka, were
said to be composed yesterday
as they mourned his passing
and Robinson s former interna-
tional relations officer and legal
adviser, Debra Coryat-Patton,
is providing support in their
time of need.
The PM said she assured
them of all the necessary sup-
port from the Government dur-
ing the period of mourning and
Robinson was the only citizen
to hold the office of chairman
of the Tobago House of Assem-
bly, prime minister and presi-
Robinson was ailing for sev-
eral years but on March 8 he
was taken to St Clair Medical
Centre complaining of feeling
unwell. He was treated for a
kidney aliment but succumb
yesterday after complications
several hours before.
During the 44th session of
the UN General Assembly in
1989, Robinson proposed the
creation of a International
Criminal Court (ICC) to address
trans-national crimes. The
International Criminal Court
was inaugurated in 2002 to hear
cases of crimes against human-
Robinson, an attorney, was
awarded the country s highest
award, then the Trinity Cross,
the Caribbean Community s
highest award, the Order of the
Caribbean Community, and the
Tobago Medal of Honour, the
island s highest honour.
Fo r mer president George
Maxwell Richards said the
world owed Robinson a debt
"He was a good man who
served with integrity and com-
mitment. His legacy will live
on," Richards said.
He said Robinson displayed
compassion and spoke glow-
ingly of his pursuit to establish
"We have lost a fine indi-
vidual and my heart goes out
to his family and loved ones,"
Leader of the Opposition, Dr
Keith Rowley, said Robinson,
who was a founding member
of the PNM, served the nation
with distinction and did so dur-
ing the country s darkest hours
during the 1990 attempted
ICC president Sang-Hyun
Song, in a statement on the
internet yesterday, said: "It is
with great sorrow that I learned
of the passing of former Pres-
ident Robinson. He will be
remembered by many as the
grandfather of the Interna-
tional Criminal Court."
Jamaat al Muslimeen leader
Yasin Abu Bakr, who led that
coup attempt, said Robinson
had achieved a lot academically
but as a politician he did noth-
ing for the country.
He said he would tell his side
of the 1990 attempted coup
soon and his decision to speak
out had nothing to do with
Robinson s passing.
See Pages A6, A10 and A11
T&T mourns passing of a great leader
Norman Girvan dies
The T&T flag in front of the Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain,
was still flying full-mast up to late yesterday despite an instruction by
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar earlier in the day that all flags be
flown at half-mast in honour of former president and prime minister
Arthur NR Robinson. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
State may host
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