TURKEYEN, Greater Georgetown, Guyana (CARICOM) — The legacy of the Honourable Arthur Napoleon Robinson OCC to the Caribbean Community “has endured and will ensure that he will be remembered as a true Caribbean Man.”
So said Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Ambassador Irwin LaRocque as he paid tribute to the former President of Trinidad and Tobago who passed away on Wednesday.
The Secretary-General recalled Mr Robinson’s contribution to the landmark Conference of the Heads of Government at Grand Anse, Grenada in 1989 at which he presented a paper “The West Indies Beyond 1992” which among other things resulted in the creation of the West Indian Commission.
The full text of the Secretary-General’s statement:
Statement On The Life Of The Honourable Arthur Napoleon Robinson OCC By The Secretary-general Of The Caribbean Community
The Caribbean Community mourns the passing of one of its truly remarkable sons, the Honourable Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson OCC.
A national of Trinidad and Tobago, born in Tobago, ANR, as he was known, had an outstanding political career which culminated with his election as PM in 1986 and becoming President in 1997, the only person in his country’s history to have served in both positions. His courage, integrity and strength of character were epitomised in his unyielding utterance, “Attack with full force”, when held captive during the invasion of the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament in 1990.
His involvement in Caribbean integration began with his election to the Federal Parliament in 1958. However his seminal contribution to the Caribbean Community came at the landmark Grand Anse, Grenada, Conference of the Heads of Government in 1989. His paper to the Conference entitled “The West Indies Beyond 1992” helped set the tone for a Conference out of which emanated the idea for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Assembly of Caribbean Community Parliamentarians and the Caribbean Economic Conference.
Mr Robinson’s paper expressly called for the establishment of a West Indian Commission of eminent West Indians “to promote the purposes of the Treaty of Chaguaramas with special emphasis on the process of public consultation and involvement of the peoples of CARICOM through leaders, teachers, writers, intellectuals, creative artists, businessmen, sportsmen, trade unionists, religious and other community organizations.” That Commission, exhorted by Mr Robinson to “let all ideas contend”, produced the results of its work in the publication “Time for Action” and set in train among other things the establishment of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).
His abiding interest in and deep commitment to integration was pursued during his tenure as President of Trinidad and Tobago with his deep involvement in the Annual Conferences of Presidents and Governors-General of CARICOM.
In his capacity as Prime Minister, Mr Robinson was instrumental in the resuscitation of the idea and the action at the United Nations for the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which came into being in 1998. In tribute to Mr Robinson’s efforts, the ICC’s main courtroom at The Hague in the Netherlands bears his name.
In recognition of his service to CARICOM, Mr Robinson was bestowed with its highest award, the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC) in 1998 in Saint Lucia on the occasion of the 25thAnniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas.
Mr Robinson’s legacy to our Community has endured and will ensure that he will be remembered as a true Caribbean Man. The Community expresses its deep condolences to his children, his family and to the Government and People of Trinidad and Tobago on the death of this most distinguished son of the Region.