TOBAGO CRIME WORRIES ROBINSON
By KARL E CUPID Tobago Bureau Tuesday, September 22 2009
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FAREWELL MY LOVE: Former President Arthur NR Robinson throws a flower onto the casket bearing the remains of his wife Patricia Robinson as it was lowe...
FORMER Prime Minister and President, Arthur NR Robinson yesterday expressed concern that the spate of serious crimes including murder and attacks on tourists was rapidly tarnishing the pristine image Tobago once enjoyed internationally.
Speaking before a packed congregation during the funeral service for his wife Patricia at St Joseph RC Church in Scarborough, the Tobago-born Robinson urged Tobagonians to “love themselves” and desist from activities that were now being “notoriously associated” with the island.
Only on the long Eid holiday weekend, four murders were committed in Tobago which came on the heels of a vicious attack on a British couple who were chopped almost to death as they were sleeping in the porch of their Tobago vacation home.
Robinson told mourners that his wife had loved Tobago and it was her final wish that she be buried on the island though she was born in Trinidad.
“As she loved Tobago, I hope the people of Tobago will love themselves and not engage in the kind of activities that are now being notoriously associated with Tobago,” a frail Robinson said.
Mrs Robinson was later laid to rest in an entombed grave at the Scarborough Methodist cemetery. As her coffin was slowly lowered into the grave, Robinson threw a flower as he bade his final farewell to his wife. Mrs Robinson was buried alongside her mother and father-in-law.
Robinson, former chairman of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) at its inception in 1980, recalled that his late wife had proposed a ten-year development plan for the Assembly instead of one spanning five years, and had prepared the structure of the plan in its entirety.
“If Patricia were alive, she would say ‘God bless Tobago’. May God in His unspeakable glory shower His blessings on Tobago”, he concluded.
Also recounting the life and times of the former First Lady were THA Chief Secretary Orville London and Minority Leader Ashworth Jack. In his tribute, Jack, political leader of the opposition Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP), extended condolence to the Robinson family on his own behalf and that of the TOP. He noted there were many other persons who were a lot more qualified than himself to speak about the deceased, listing among such persons former Tobago West MP Pamela Nicholson (Robinson’s political and parliamentary colleague), who was present in the congregation; former THA chairman Dr Jeff Davidson; and former Assemblyman Stanley Beard, also both political colleagues of Robinson in the days of the DAC/NAR.
Of the deceased, Jack said she never once attempted to overshadow her husband, but was more like “a tower of strength” at his side. He added that the ‘love-note’ (“I love you”) which she had conveyed to her husband, then Prime Minister Robinson, during the dark days of the 1990 attempted coup while he was being held hostage inside the Red House, was indicative of the kind of bond shared between Mr and Mrs Robinson. “It is a life, I am sure, that we will not easily forget”, he said, of the deceased.
For his part, London noted that, “sadly sometimes we do not really have an opportunity to evaluate someone until they have passed away”. The THA Chief Secretary specifically noted the varied roles in which the deceased was cast as wife, mother, and the brilliant economist who laid the financial foundation for this country’s move to independence.
Mrs Robinson passed away peacefully in her sleep at Ellerslie Park, Maraval, on September 10, having been afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease and diabetes for several years. “As Jesus lives, we too shall live — that is our hope, our assurance. May she rest in peace and rise in glory”, Archdeacon Kenneth Forester asserted, concluding his sermon during the service.