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ICC head hails ‘great statesman’

Friday, May 2 2014

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President's address: ICC President Sang Hyun Song addresses mourners at NAPA during a memorial service for ICC advocate Arthur NR Robinson. ...
President's address: ICC President Sang Hyun Song addresses mourners at NAPA during a memorial service for ICC advocate Arthur NR Robinson. ...

INTERNATIONAL Criminal Court (ICC) President Sang Hyun Song yesterday declared that this country and the world have lost a great statesman, with the passing of former President and Prime Minister Arthur NR Robinson. Speaking at a state ecumenical service at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) for Robinson, Song said, “The international justice community stands with the people of Trinidad and Tobago in mourning the passing a great statesman.”

Describing Robinson as “the grandfather of the ICC,” Song said this new form of international criminal justice would not exist today were it not for the “ vision, initiative and persistence” of Robinson who set the process in motion in 1989. He added that Robinson did not stop with the ICC’s establishment.

Noting that Robinson saw the ICC as “as an essential building block of a stable international community,” Song said Robinson served on the ICC’s Trust Fund for Victims. He said all but three Caricom countries are members of this fund and he hoped those nations would join in due course. Former Commonwealth Secretary General Sir Shridath Ramphal hailed Robinson’s efforts to promote regional unity.

Remembering Robinson as “a West Indian and a Caribbean man,” Ramphal recalled their time together as members of the now defunct Federal Parliament. “ANR has left large footprints in the sands of time,” he stated.

Speaking after the service, Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart compared the tough economic decisions which Robinson took as prime minister to austerity measures now being taken by his government. “Barbados has done this before. TT and Barbados are two different societies,” he said. Stuart explained that while austerity measures are “never pleasant” and some people will feel discomfort, he was confident the measures being employed by his government will achieve their goals.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer praised the recognition given to Robinson. He said he was unable to stay longer in the country due to upcoming elections in his country. Spencer expressed confidence that his government would win a third term in office. “We believe we have put Antigua and Barbuda on a sound footing to be able to continue the progress that we have been making.”

Also present at the service were Guyana President Donald Ramotar, Dominica President Charles Angelo Savarin and Caricom Secretary General Irwin La Rocque.

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