Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 10th 2014 Contents "Attack with full force" is per-
haps Mr Arthur NR Robinson s
greatest contribution to the poli-
tics of T&T. It was uttered in one
of the darkest moments of this
country s history, when a band of
insurgents of the Jamaat al Mus-
limeen, at gunpoint, attempted to
force then prime minister Robin-
son to call off the security forces
to facilitate their bloody-minded
attempt to violently overthrow the
government and the Constitution.
Robinson was shot in the leg by
the insurgents for his determina-
tion and pride in upholding the
country s democratic tradition.
Through that act of courage and
defiance, and when other leaders
were not willing to come forward
and be counted, Mr Robinson said
T&T must not be subject to the
crazy designs of anyone or group;
he preferred death to submission,
a legacy he has left for all.
The young British-trained
lawyer emerged from Tobago in
the Federal elections of 1958 and
later as the representative of the
People s National Movement in
the 1961 general election. He was
put in charge of the vital finance
and external affairs portfolios dur-
ing the 1960s by prime minister
Dr Eric Williams.
Mr Robinson s break with Dr
Williams in 1970 during the Black
Power upheaval was described by
his detractors as opportunistic,
and by his supporters as not
being afraid to leave office for a
principle he believed in.
By the late 1970s as leader of
the Tobago-based Democratic
Action Congress and Member of
Parliament for Tobago East, Mr
Robinson forced the government
of the day to recreate a version of
the 19th century Tobago House of
Assembly to afford the island a
measure of internal self-govern-
ment; it is a cause that Tobagoni-
ans continue to fight for.
Mr Robinson made another sig-
nificant contribution to the con-
tinuing attempt to achieve politi-
cal unity across party and ethnic
lines when he agreed to become
the leader of the coalition Nation-
al Alliance for Reconstruction
(NAR). He seemed the only one
of the leaders who would have
been accepted within the party to
lead, and the NAR s resounding
33-3 electoral victory in 1986 sug-
gested similar acceptance by the
However, like others before and
after him, Mr Robinson was not
able to hold the parties together
and was indeed charged for con-
tributing to the fallout inside the
NAR and its eventual demise.
While Mr Robinson is under-
standably best remembered for his
heroic stand against the Mus-
limeen insurgents, it is only rarely
acknowledged that it was his gov-
ernment which accepted the
responsibility to restructure the
economy after the oil bonanza
had run out and been wasted.
Ironically, it was his government s
adoption and adaptation of the
restructuring programme of the
International Monetary Fund
which contributed to his brutali-
sation in the Parliament and
eventual loss of office.
To Caricom, prime minister
Robinson contributed significantly
to the Grand Anse Declaration to
establish the Caricom Single Mar-
ket and Economy to bring the
economies of the region in greater
harmony to provide economic
growth and jobs in the region.
At the international level, Mr
Robinson was the influential force
behind the establishment of the
International Criminal Court to
counter drug dealing and other
forms of international crime.
Being the politician he was all
his life, president Arthur NR
Robinson often challenged prime
minister Basdeo Panday on
appointments he wanted to make,
delaying compliance with the
instruction of the prime minister.
On those occasions, president
Robinson was charged for violat-
ing the Constitution.
That contention was its
strongest when on the occasion of
the 18-18 election tie in 2001, he
went against the convention and
inserted the opposition PNM as
government over the incumbent
United National Congress.
The legacy left by Mr Robinson
is not one that followed a straight
line; he surely, though, stood by
his political beliefs and demon-
strated beyond doubt his commit-
ment to Trinidad and Tobago.
This newspaper wishes him a
peaceful rest and extends condo-
lences to his family.
Farewell, faithful patriot
While Mr Robinson is understandably best remembered for his heroic stand against the Mus-
limeen insurgents, it is only rarely acknowledged that it was his government which accepted the re-
sponsibility to restructure the economy after the oil bonanza had run out and been wasted.
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For West Indian fans, the regional team con-
tinued to infuriate with their tendency to get
the little things wrong.
The fielding lapses and poor running between
wickets in the semifinal of the ICC T20 World
Cup were prime examples of those little
There may also have been inadequate plan-
ning since it seems the team's brains trust
may not have taken into account the threat of
rain. How else to explain the lackadaisical ap-
proach to their innings by Messrs Chris Gayle
and Marlon Samuels?
As the managers of West Indies cricket look
to change the guard, they must also seek to
build efficiency and professionalism on and
off the field.
They must seek to minimise the inconsisten-
cies and attitudinal inadequacies which have
been a scourge for too long.
The proposals are many and varied, but we
are particularly pleased by moves to revamp,
improve and professionalise first-class cricket.
At last, there will be an effort to materially
encourage players at the regional domestic
As many as 15 players attached to each terri-
torial team are to be contracted by the WICB
which, as we understand it, will require them
to be available for regional and domestic com-
petition and maintain minimum standards of
fitness and preparedness.
There is to be a year-round cricket pro-
gramme with a minimum of ten first-class
matches per season for each regional team
on a home- and-away basis.
All teams will have professional coaches and
staff and, crucially, the WICB is to appoint a
coaching manager to oversee and hopefully
standardise methodologies region-wide.
As a corollary to all this, we expect that there
will be a concerted effort to improve support
infrastructure, including pitches and ground
staff personnel. ---Observer
Sound off: Needed: Consistency, efficiency in WI cricket
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