Rowley: Great strength when down
By Clint Chan Tack Saturday, April 12 2014
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Paying respects: Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley speaks of late President Arthur NR Robinson in the Lower House yesterday. ...
OPPOSITION Leader and People’s National Movement (PNM) Dr Keith Rowley yesterday declared former President and Prime Minister Arthur NR Robinson always seemed to have found his greatest strength whenever it seemed that all was lost for him.
Paying tribute to Robinson in the House of Representatives, Rowley said when one reflects on Robinson’s calibre, “It is that he seems to have been strongest when he was down.”
“Every time it appears that he was down and out, it was because of his abiding commitment to change in Trinidad and Tobago he was able to lift himself up,” he said.
Noting the many challenges which Robinson faced during his political career, Rowley said, “He usually found that he had to stand alone and he wasn’t afraid to stand alone.”
Stating Robinson provided the “missing ingredient” of leadership which the country sorely needs, Rowley said Robinson demonstrated that if “you stand alone long enough on principle, others will join you.”
Stating that as a Tobagonian he was proud of Robinson’s accomplishments and Robinson was one of many thoroughbreds produced by “that stable called Tobago” who developed the country,
Rowley said he distinctly remembers Robinson’s concern that “one of the problems in TT, is that the professional class is consistently failing this country.”
“It had a tremendous impact on me personally,” he told MPs.
Rowley said as a professional person in his own right, he took a decision never to be guilty of the actions which Robinson referred to and it was an observation the country should not discard. He said as the population celebrates Robinson’s life and his many achievements, “clearly we are talking about a remarkable life and the accomplishments of such a remarkable man.”
Noting the number of firsts which Robinson achieved in his life, Rowley said Robinson came from a cadre of persons who decided early that he wanted to be “a contributor to the development of TT.” He declared Robinson will forever be remembered for the bravery he displayed during the July 1990 coup attempt “at the muzzle of a rifle” when the country’s democracy was threatened.
Describing Robinson as a nationalist, regionalist and an internationalist, Rowley said Robinson was not a person who anyone could say turned a blind eye to evil taking place in the world, such as ethnic genocide in Rwanda when many people believed it should not have been his concern.