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Former Trinidadian President, PM passes away

Former Trinidadian President, PM passes away


Trinidad and Tobago was this week mourning the loss of a former President and Prime Minister Arthur N.R. Robinson, who died early Wednesday morning at the age of 87.{{more}}

Born in Tobago in 1926, Robinson became T&T’s third president, serving from 19 March 1997 to 17 March 2003. He was also Trinidad and Tobago’s third prime minister, serving in that capacity from 18 December 1986 to 17 December 1991.

Robinson held the distinction of being the first active politician to be elected president.

His life was punctuated with numerous accolades, gaining international recognition for his proposal that eventually led to the founding of the International Criminal Court.

His first stint in politics came in 1958, when he was elected to the Federal Parliament of the defunct Caribbean Federation. He would go on to serve as a representative for Tobago in the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament in 1961 and later as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

His life in politics did not come without its fair share of controversy. He was the sitting prime minister during the 1990 attempted coup by the Jamaat al Muslimeen, where he and many members of his Cabinet were held hostage for six days.

Despite being shot in his leg during this trying time, he will be remembered for instructing the armed services to “Attack with full force,” in response to the insurrectionists.

He also sparked a bit of controversy during his presidential term, when he bypassed Basdeo Panday and appointed Opposition Leader Patrick Manning as prime minister, following the tied 2001 general elections.

Robinson was honoured with the Trinity Cross, the then highest national award. He was also the recipient of the the Order of the Caribbean Community and the Tobago Medal of Honour, Tobago’s highest honour.