BASSETERRE, SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS, APRIL 12, 2023 (PMO) – Saint Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas paid glowing tribute to the late Randall Robinson at his recent funeral service at the Wesley Methodist Church in Basseterre.
Prime Minister Drew described Robinson as an extra “extraordinary son of the Divine, whose life spanned two continents and eight decades, touching countless lives as a lawyer, an author, a freedom fighter, and human rights advocate.”
(Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Hon Dr. Terrance Drew giving remarks at the funeral service of Mr. Randall Robinson)
“His hunger for justice in Africa and Haiti and for black lives the world over mirrored the consciousness of Mahatma Gandhi, the zeal of Stokely Carmichael and the civility of [Dr] Martin Luther King Jr. His advocacy for reparations and for mutual courtesy and respect among blacks pivoted the discussion on social justice in new and remarkable ways following the civil rights struggles of the 1960s,” said Dr. Drew.
The Prime Minister pointed out that while Randall Robinson was born into the relative comforts of first world standards of living and enjoyed the prestige of an Ivy league education, he took upon himself the form of a servant of humanity and was obedient to the call to suffer for the cause of justice for the people of Haiti during his four weeks of hunger strike in 1994,” said Dr. Drew.
The Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister hailed Robinson for leading the fight against apartheid in South Africa and the release of Nelson Mandela after decades in prison and the election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide as President of Haiti.
“When Randall left America and moved to Saint Kitts and Nevis with his dear wife, Hazel and daughter, Khalea, the larger-than-life figure who we had seen on television and had read about in the news as a global champion for change, was made real to us and he now dwelt among us. Over the years, his quiet influences did open doors of opportunity for our small island developing state and for the [Caribbean] region through his interactions with my predecessor as Prime Minister and [St. Kitts-Nevis] Labour Party Leader, Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas. For this, our nation is thankful,” said Prime Minister Drew.
“Saint Kitts and Nevis truly benefitted from the quiet yet impactful presence of Randall Robinson who lived among us for the past twenty years. Like the Roman Statesman Cicero, I believe that it was a natural duty of the state to publicly honour great men among the society at their passing. Today, I openly pay tribute to Randall Robinson, a man who spent his life as a champion of justice for blacks in the United States, in the Caribbean and in Africa,” said Dr. Drew.
In his tribute, former Prime Minister and current Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas noted that Randall Robinson called Saint Kitts and Nevis his home where he “found peace and contentment for the past 20 years.”
(Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas giving remarks at the funeral service of Mr. Randall Robinson)
“And more than just peace and contentment. He was happy here. The mountains. The sea. Our hibiscus and franji pani and bird of paradise. He found them beautiful. He loved these mountains. And the sea. And planting all kinds of slips. Then waiting for them to bloom. He used to say that the outdoors was his cathedral,” said Dr. Douglas, who noted that “Randall treated the people of our country with great respect.”
Dr. Douglas added: “Anyone who has followed his career knows that he was not at all hesitant to speak with absolute clarity on matters either within the United States, or globally. You will notice, however, that he never attempted to sway the people of this country in any direction politically. Either by expressing condemnation in one direction or offering praise in another. He thought that what happened here should be determined by us. And only us. And that says a lot.”
Dr. Douglas recalled Robinson’s assistance in getting American Airlines to begin direct flights into St Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport.
“The very first Prime Minister’s New Year’s Gala in 2002 was keynoted by him – establishing a standard to which all subsequent galas, by all subsequent prime ministers, have aspired. Randall Robinson was not only a great man. He was a good man. A man who, despite the huge battles he fought, knew how to make us laugh. A man who truly believed the Haitian proverb “Every human being is a human being,” Dr. Douglas said.
Reflections were said by James Hudson, Counsel for TransAfrica; Madame Mildred Aristide, wife of former President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide and United States Congresswoman, Hon. Maxine Waters.
Rev. Dr. Jean Robinson-Casey delivered the eulogy. The scriptures were read by Estelle Allen and Dr. Franklyn G. Musgrave.
The Prayers of Comfort and Thanksgiving and the Commendation were said by Rev. Mark Christmas.
Governor General Dame Marcella Liburd, GCMG, JP; Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Dr. Geoffrey Hanley; Members of the Cabinet joined scores of persons at the Service.
The body of Randall Robinson was buried at the Springfield Cemetery.
(Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew laying a wreath at the graveside of Mr. Randall Robinson)
(Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas laying a wreath at the graveside of Mr. Randall Robinson)
(Governor-General Dame Marcella Liburd GCMG, JP laying a wreath at the graveside of Mr. Randall Robinson) (L_R) The Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; United States Congresswoman, Hon. Maxine Water; Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew; Governor General Dame Marcella Liburd, GCMG, JP