Refugees aggravate T&T woes

By Raffique Shah
November 21, 2018

Raffique ShahTrinidad and Tobago has found itself in an unenviable, as well as untenable, position of having to deal with hundreds of mostly Venezuelan and Cuban nationals who have entered this country, legally and illegally, then announcing themselves as refugees or seeking political asylum.

This situation is unenviable because we are the only English-speaking Caribbean island-state that faces an influx of Spanish-speaking refugees, in addition to Jamaicans and Nigerians who have overstayed their Immigration-approved time, and some Chinese, Syrians and Lebanese. Except for the fairly-prosperous Dominican Republic that shares the large island of Hispaniola with poverty-stricken Haiti, where nationals of the latter invade the former on foot, whence they face rigid deportation procedures, T&T is a unique magnet for illegal immigrants.
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The Incredible Dream – Pt 3

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 19, 2018

PART 3

“The further you look into the past, the further you can see into the future.”

— Sir Winston Churchill

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOver the past month, I visited London, England, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland where I delivered several lectures and participated in the launch of David Featherstone, ed., Marxism, Colonialism, and Cricket: C. L. R. James’s Beyond a Boundary in which I contributed a chapter on James’s intellectual origins and his knowledge of early Trinidad’s history.
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Remembering the savagery of war

By Raffique Shah
November 14, 2018

Raffique ShahI awoke last Sunday morning to see and hear French President Emmanuel Macron deliver an address before scores of world leaders gathered in Paris to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. His was a good speech, an appeal for the world to not just to pay homage to the eight million-plus servicemen and women who lost their lives in the mistaken belief that they were fighting “the war to end all wars”, but also to note that if we did not learn from history, we were doomed to repeat the mistakes our forebears made.
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The Incredible Dream

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 12, 2018

PART 2

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeWhen enslaved Africans (they were the majority population then) won their full freedom in 1838, there was an urgent need to establish an educational system that combined their ways of knowing with the needs of the dominant colonial class. Sir Henry MacLeod, governor of the island, sent the following dispatch to Lord Stanley, the Secretary of State: “I should submit to Your Lordship that there never was a country where some general situation of education was more required than in Trinidad” (May 1, 1840).
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Declare Divali Nagar a National Festival

By Stephen Kangal
November 11, 2018

Stephen KangalThe current international outreach achieved by the annual Divali Nagar exposition having already cultivated cultural links with numerous Caribbean countries hitherto as the first platform, is something to be applauded as it redounds to enhancing the image of T&T as a multicultural destination to be visited by cultural enthusiasts and people of the Indian diaspora.

The Nagar has been in existence for more than 30 years and developed exponentially as a showcase for many things unique to the Indo-T&T population.
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Bring on an anti-corruption court

By Raffique Shah
November 07, 2018

Raffique ShahUntil scores of corrupt politicians, public officials and thieving contractors in this country are jailed for pillaging the public purse, and are seen wearing “prison blues” so that the population is convinced that justice is evenly dispensed, the lawlessness that runs rife in the society will ravage its body politic like an invasive cancer.

It will inevitably permeate the few decent souls remaining, like the persons whose compassion for their less fortunate brethren during the recent floods kindled hope in our hearts that there is still some humanity left in this jungle of feral greed.
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The Illusive Dream

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
November 05, 2018

PART 1

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI don’t know if it was “the cleansing water” as I called it last week but all of a sudden the newspapers were filled with reflections on education and the role it should play in resuscitating our society. It was almost as though these profound meditations came down from heaven, demanding that we fulfill an age-old dream of togetherness.

The first iteration came from Iman Yasin Abu Bakr when he eulogized Ricardo “the Gladiator” Welsh. He observed: “Many children were full of rage and parents lapsed on the job of keeping them in school. He [Abu Bakr] stressed the importance of this saying education was the only chance a people had to elevate themselves” (Newsday, October 28).
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HDC projects hit by approval woes, defects Mistakes cost $2.4 billion

By Renuka Singh
November 05, 2018 – guardian.co.tt

Greenvale ParkConstruction variations or changes to the agreed scope of works at Housing Development Corporation (HDC) projects cost taxpayers some $2.4 billion between 2005 and 2017. These include two projects that had to be abandoned because of structural and engineering obstacles that were not determined before construction began.

The news comes even as the ruling People’s National Movement and Opposition United National Congress continue to spar over which party made the errors while in government which led to the recent flooding disaster at the Greenvale Park, La Horquetta development.
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Water of National Cleansing

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 29, 2018

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeNow that the waters have subsided after the worst flooding in fifty years, we should engage in a new national discourse about who we are and whether we can keep on doing the same ole same ole and expect different results. We should decide whether we continue along our national highway using the same tired rhetoric of a happy, go-lucky people who never think or plan for tomorrow.

President Paula-Mae Weeks opened up the national conversation best when she said: “Whether causes by an Act of God, omissions or commissions of institutions or individuals or any combination thereof, this is not the time to ascribe blame. Now is the time for all to come together as a nation to render whatever assistance we can to those in such desperate need” (Express, October 22).
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Flushing the prisons’ excrement

By Raffique Shah
October 24, 2018

Raffique ShahOne newspaper report put the tally of prisons officers murdered in the past 25 years at 22. Another stated that 16 were killed in 15 years. However we look at it, one can understand the outrage of those who chose to be at the vortex of the crime whirlwind that wreaks destruction across this country at being targeted by criminals, marked for death in a manner of speaking.

Make no mistake about it: it takes a measure of courage, one might even say madness or desperation, for a young man (or woman) to voluntarily offer to serve as a custodian in what are deemed prisons in Trinidad and Tobago. While, broadly speaking, jail is jail anywhere in the world, the stench that hits you when you enter the mostly stone-age structures that pass for prisons could churn the strongest stomachs.
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