ANR Robinson: Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago who survived a bloody coup attempt by a radical Muslim group

 

Arthur Robinson was the leader of Trinidad and Tobago who survived a bloody coup attempt in 1990 and was a force in the creation of the International Criminal Court. He was prime minister from 1986 to 1991. His career began soon after he graduated from Oxford; he helped found the People's National Movement, which dominated after independence in 1962.

Trinidad and Tobago became known as one of the more prosperous Caribbean countries thanks to an oil and gas boom, but Robinson grew concerned with economic and social disparities. He left the People's National Movement in 1970 and joined Parliament in 1976 with a new opposition party, the Democratic Action Congress. In 1986, his landslide victory was viewed as an astonishing feat against the PNM. The collapse of global oil prices had crippled the economy, and he promised a recovery via tax reforms and public expenditures. He also vowed to clamp down on corruption.

But his term of office was marred by devaluation, 22 per cent unemployment and rising crime. In 1988 he negotiated a $141m loan package from the IMF, which required austerity measures. His popularity plummeted. On 27 July 1990, a group of more than 100 radical Muslim rebels, Jamaat al-Muslimeen, or Society of Muslims, stormed Parliament. The group's leader, Abu Bakr, said that the final straw was the $500,000 spent on a planned government monument while people went hungry.

The siege sparked a six-day stand-off that resulted in at least 24 deaths. Robinson was in Parliament when the rebels stormed it. They held him and more than 45 others hostage, binding them and forcing them to lie on the floor. The rebels tried to force Robinson to call off the military waiting outside. "I shouted, 'Murderers! Torturers!' and I called upon the forces outside to attack with full force," he recalled. He was beaten and shot in the leg.

Looting devastated the capital before an agreement in which the rebels would receive amnesty and Robinson would resign. The hostages were released, but officials claimed the demands were not valid. The rebels were arrested and charged with murder and treason. Two years later, the high court upheld their amnesty and freed them. Robinson survived the ordeal, but his career did not; he was voted out in the 1991 election.

HOAI-TRAN BUI

Arthur Napoleon Raymond Robinson, politician: born Calder Hall, Tobago 16 December 1926; married Patricia Rawlins (two chldren); died Port-of-Spain 9 April 2014.

© The Washington Post

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
i100
Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Helpdesk Analyst

£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album