Arthur Napoleon Raymond (ANR) Robinson was the third President (March 19, 1997 to March 17, 2003) and the third Prime Minister (December 18, 1986 to December 17, 1991) of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He was born on December 16, 1926 in Calder Hall, Tobago. He studied law and was called to the Bar in 1953. He left for England to continue studies at St John’s College in Oxford for the Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Mr. Robinson was admitted to practice as a Barrister-at-Law in Trinidad and Tobago in 1955 and was in the Chambers of Sir Courtney Hannays from 1957 to 1961. He was elected to the Federal Parliament in 1958 and to the Trinidad and Tobago Parliament as representative for Tobago in 1961.
He founded the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) which won the 1986 elections by a landslide, winning 33 of 36 seats. In 1990, he and most of his cabinet were taken hostage in the Red House, Trinidad’s Parliament, as part of a coup attempt by the Jamaat al Muslimeen.
At the Commission of Enquiry (COE) into the 1990 Coup, held some twenty plus year later, he recounted the events that led to him being shot in the 1990 Insurrection: ” I had just finished reading Vidia Naipaul’s Among the Believers, so I had gathered from that book some impression about the character of these Muslim fanatics.” One of the main insurgents at the Parliament “came back with the gun and microphone and holding the gun nearby, put the microphone to my mouth and said ‘Will you instruct the Regiment to withdraw their guns because the Government has fallen.’ I received that instruction with revulsion. I thought that it was not only impertinent, I thought I could not possibly do anything of the sort and should do just the opposite. So I shouted to the Regiment, ‘These are murderers and torturers. Attack with full force!’, Bilaal Abdullah drew back, he appeared to be in shock. But a young man who was a short distance away fired his gun. I do not know whether he intended it. I don’t know whether he intended the direction in which it (the bullet) went. But it passed through my right knee, hitting me on the right side and exiting on the left side. My medical advisers told me that if the bullet had diverted about half an inch differently, I would have died in a short space of time.”
Following his being shot he cried “I love my country and I will die for my country,” in order to quiet him a piece of cloth was stuffed down his throat with a gun almost killing him, if not for the intervention of Dr. Emmanuel Hosein. Former Prime Minister and President ANR Robinson stood bravely and heroically in protecting our democracy. Mr Robinson died in 2014 due to medical reasons. He is survived by his two children, David and Ann-Margaret.