Ann bears head pains to launch dad’s book
By JANELLE DE SOUZA Thursday, September 6 2012
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BOOK COVER: Former Prime Minister, and ex-President, Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson flashes a broad smile on his autobiography book cover ANR Robin...
Ann Margaret Robinson bravely withstood the pain of a migraine to be at the side of her ailing father, former Prime Minister and President ANR Robinson, and made remarks as a book, an autobiography of his life, written by him, was launched.
Ann Margaret told Newsday she felt no hint of the headache before she took the stage at the Central Bank Auditorium on Tuesday night to make remarks at the launch of the autobiography, ANR Robinson, In the Midst of It.
However, after she began to address the audience, she was in obvious discomfort as she placed her hands on her forehead, closed her eyes and winced several times. Eventually, she paused and excused herself when she informed the audience, she was suffering from a migraine.
“I never had a migraine like that before. I felt like my head was going to explode,” she said. “I started to speak, and shortly after, it started to hurt. I believe it was the strong lights on the stage, but I tried, and got through it.”
After she was seated, Ann Margaret was approached by several persons, and was eventually provided with a glass of water and supposedly, some medication. She, and of late, his granddaughter, Anushka, usually accompanied Robinson to various functions.
Ann Margaret has been the primary care-giver for her father, and previously her mother, Patricia Robinson, who suffered from Alzheimer’s and diabetes. Mrs. Robinson died in her sleep on September 10, 2009.
Robinson, who was hospitalised a few weeks before, looked weak and frail, but well put together. He had to be assisted from the auditorium chair to a wheelchair to exit the room. He did not address the audience, but was greeted by individuals after the event, and even briefly stayed on at the cocktail reception in the lobby of the Central Bank. “He was very happy about the event, and how it turned out,” said Ann Margaret. “He wanted to meet his guests.”
During her brief remarks, Ann Margaret said her father gave his life to the country, and did so again in writing the book, by revealing himself to readers. She said he was particularly concerned about the youth.
In his biography, he wanted to show them he had all the challenges they had, but he stayed true to his upbringing and faith in God.
Several friends of Robinson and his family, including former newspaper chief, Ken Gordon, Professor Brinsley Samaroo, and Professor Courtenay Bartholomew, spoke about Robinson’s personality and various events of his life through the years.
Gordon described the book as a story of family upbringing, courage and integrity. He said Robinson was a man who had the courage to stand for his beliefs, and decisions, even if they were not popular, and was committed to his country.
Samaroo said, in the book, Robinson spoke frankly of all the lessons he learned and mistakes he made, and of “saner” courses of action that could have been taken.
He noted that most Trinidadian politicians, then and now, found comfort in their “ethnic zones,” but Robinson “never understood the salience of ethnicity..” That openness, he said, was the cause of many of Robinson’s political problems, and the collapse of his government in 1991.
“He brought to his politics, a blindness to ethnic origin,” he said. “To him, a person was a person, an individual was an individual, and his preferences became based on qualities such as honesty, dependability and dedication to nationhood, rather than on one’s ethnicity.”
Bartholomew told the audience that Robinson’s patriotism was never in question, and was revered for his role in the creation of the International Criminal Court. He noted that Robinson had to make difficult decisions, both as PM and President, but Robinson admitted to making errors, and having weaknesses, but certainly he had redeeming qualities.
“He led a remarkable life that altered the course of history by his extraordinary leadership,” said Bartholomew.
President George Maxwell Richards, Chief Justice Ivor Archie, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran, Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary, Orville London, and other dignitaries were present to celebrate the life of Robinson.