Making Tacarigua a better scene

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 16, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am always intrigued by how officials, government or otherwise, ignorant of the history of a place or region in which they live and work, are perfectly happy to destroy a healthy community without realising the harm they can do to the place and the people who live there.

Desell Josiah Austin, chairman of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation, may be a young man with the best intentions in the world, but without knowledge of the community in which he lives he can cause harm. He really needs to learn a bit more about Tacarigua, the history of the Orange Grove Savannah, and the origin of Tunapuna.
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Autocracy, not democracy

By Raffique Shah
June 16, 2024

Raffique ShahWell before I thought about writing a column on the internal elections in the United National Congress, I deliberately decided that I will not focus on individual candidates but more on the process. In demo­cracies such as ours, there are always several interest groups that comprise the backbone of the parties which differ very little on critical issues such as the economic policies, crime and punishment, education and so on.
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Never sit on your laurels

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 13, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIt was 2013 and the UNC (United National Congress) government decided to place a stadium and a swimming pool at the Orange Grove Savannah (now known as the Eddie Hart Savannah), a place that was used by “districkers” for recreational, health, and educational purposes for generations. Angry by this atrocity, the “districkers” of Tacarigua and the surrounding villages (Dinsley, Paradise, El Dorado, Trincity, and St Mary’s) took on government with all of its resources and prevented it from destroying one of the most idyllic areas in Trinidad.
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Hate is ugly

By Raffique Shah
June 10, 2024

Raffique ShahSenior Maha Sabha official Vijay Maharaj must be one very disappointed man, mud plastered across his face. According to Maharaj, Planet Earth ought to have shifted its political axis, with cataclysmic consequences, last Tuesday, June 4. But Mother Earth is not known to bow to mankind’s will or wishes, especially if—as seems to have been the case here—they come flashing “power” cards engraved with names such as Maharaj, Modi and Maha Sabha.
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Turning democracy upside down

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 04, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeDuring the early days of our democracy, Eric Williams and CLR James, founding fathers of the People’s National Movement (PNM), cited Greece as the quintessential example of what a functioning democracy should look like. Williams developed this theme in his address to the Black Writers Congress in Rome in 1959.
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The importance of work

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 28, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeAnyone who believes the PNM Government will solve the problem of black underdevelopment, joblessness, and criminality in the depressed areas of the island had better think again. It will not happen in the near future. The elites who have taken over the party have no interest in these problems, they do not have the will to solve them, nor the intelligence to know the difference.
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God help us

By Raffique Shah
May 28, 2024

Raffique ShahThe Commissioner of Police, Mrs Erla Christopher, should be least surprised when an avalanche of criticisms rolled in her direction, threatening to bury her, when in other circumstances, she should have celebrated her re-appointment to lead the Police Service for another year beyond the mandatory retirement age.

After all, here’s a woman who has spent all of her adult life being a police officer, likely as a constable initially and working her way up the ranks over many years. In the face of insults hurled at her, members of the public need to understand how she must feel offended. Her righteous indignation, however, has in turn angered a population that is drowning in a wave of crime that has now spread to almost every part of the country, that she and her 6,000 or 8,000 or however many officers are battling—a beast that seems to have extraordinary power, money, guns, and tentacles.
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Normalising failure and callousness

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 21, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeQuestion: Would you select someone to lead a company or an organisation where, previously, that person had failed in that position and shows no sign of improving his/her leadership skills or comprehending the job-challenges that lie ahead?

This question arose last week when National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds explained why his Government retained Erla Christopher to lead the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for another year even as crime and disorder worsen and every sign suggests they will get “worserer.”
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Africa’s holocaust

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
May 14, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIn 1985 I interviewed the president of the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) Sam Nujoma when he visited the United Nations Decolonisation Committee to plead for his country’s independence (West Africa, present-day Namibia). Namibia was a German colony from the 1880s to the First World War when South African troops occupied its territory.

From 1904 to 1908, the Germans waged a war that exterminated over 100,000 Africans from the Herero and Nama ethnic groups. It was deemed the first holocaust of the 20th century. In 1920, the League of Nations allowed South Africa to administer the territory.
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Destination, purgatory

By Raffique Shah
May 14, 2024

Raffique ShahIf the two leading parties, the PNM and the UNC, ignore my challenge for them to make corruption a focal point of the next general election, would this be to their detriment? The answer is no. They will have read my column, of course, and they would be intimately aware that I was correct in everything I wrote in matters relating to racketeering and other very high-level illegal transactions.

I will not, of course, have documents or files to support my allegations. Which means, as a citizen, I do not have the liberty to pursue such matters the way good journalists do. So, if at all any of them wishes to comment, to brand my recommendations for an issue-related elections period, they would have the whole country laughing at me, making me look like an idiot. They, too, will not only lampoon me but they will come after me for whatever pennies I have amassed.
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