Remove these shackles

By Raffique Shah
March 08, 2021

Raffique ShahIf a brush with death is said to prompt man to reflect more deeply on life, then the Covid-19 pandemic that swooped down on mankind last year, cutting a path of death and destruction such as we had never seen in our lifetime, has also triggered deep thinking on the social contracts that exist among governments and the governed, on how societies are structured to sustain inequality, and on altering such arrangements, replacing them with more equitable alternatives.
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A passage to India

Newsday Editorial
March 05, 2021 – newsday.co.tt

COVID-19 VaccineIN ALL the recent instances of wrangling over vaccines from India, a key issue has been left unaddressed.

The heated reactions to both Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh’s mischaracterisation of the custody chain of vaccines donated by Barbados and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s letter to the Indian Prime Minister have deflected attention from a more profound diplomatic quandary which this country faces – as well as Caricom as a whole.
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Black People & the Social Contract

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
March 01, 2021

“No society can smash the social contract and be exempt from the consequences, and the consequences are chaos for everybody in the society.”

—James Baldwin, Conversations

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeThere are two troubling aspects of slavery and colonialism that remain within our consciousness even though we claim that slavery and colonialism are conditions of the past. The first is the self-hate that these socio-economic formations have created in Black people and a resulting tendency to do everything to prevent fellow Blacks from moving forward. Frantz Fanon discussed this condition in Black Skin, White Masks.
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We will survive

By Raffique Shah
March 01, 2021

Raffique ShahI cannot claim to have conducted any scientific survey by interviewing samples of the population the way political pollsters do, but I feel certain if I did, I would find that as many as seven out of every ten adults believe that ‘Trinidad and Tobago gone through’, in the broadest sense of that colloquial term.

Put in standard English, that implies that the economy has collapsed, institutions have imploded, law and order do not exist, poverty is of near-epidemic proportions, and every metric one can imagine shows a failed state on the brink of implosion.
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Who really are the monsters?

By Dr Selwyn Cudjoe
February 23, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeSome people described the killing of Andrea Bharatt as “monstrous”, “brutal”, “horrible”, and “barbarous”. Those responsible for her death were called “monsters” or “Lucifers in the flesh”.

An autopsy showed the horrendous manner in which Andrea was killed. Rich and poor, Africans and Indians, urban and rural folks, were all repulsed by the barbarity of her killers.
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‘Granny’ Luces: Making of an Icon

By Raffique Shah
february 22, 2021

Raffique Shah“There’s an old lady here…she says she wants to register to run the marathon…I don’t know what to do…can you come and sort this out?”

It was sometime in March 1984, and we were organising the second Mirror Marathon later (The Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon). We had successfully staged the inaugural race in April 1983, and were excited about the second edition. The response from would-be marathoners was enthusiastic. We expected to have more than 500 entrants, up from the 300 who had run last year’s race.
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Monsters & Monstrosities

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 15, 2021

“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”

—Toni Morrison, Beloved

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeFaris Al-Rawi was in a fighting mood last Monday. He was not afraid to outline the depths to which we, as a people, had descended. Calling on the Opposition to support the Evidence Amendment Bill to deal with the “monsters” who had committed a heinous act against Andrea Bharatt, he declared: “Today, we have an opportunity… to stop monsters.”

Ascending to rhetorical heights, he chastised citizens who were trying to salvage a sliver of their humanity by speaking out against an inhuman strain that had arisen in our society:
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Do not pollute protests with politics

By Raffique Shah
February 15, 2021

Raffique ShahI was wondering how many more candlelight vigils that seemed to be a genuine groundswell of public opinion on violent crimes against women would be staged in the name of abduction and murder victim Andrea Bharatt before two-by-two politicians sought to hijack what they would see as a mass movement they could ride for narrow self-interests, from photo-opportunities and media coverage to the prospect of political power.
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Candles, tears and selected outrage

By Aileen Alexis
February 11, 2021

lettersThe kidnapping and murder of a young court clerk, Andrea Bharratt has evoked strong emotions from a wide cross-section of the Trinibagonian population. Protests, vigils and calls for legislation regarding the use of non-lethal weapons such as pepper spray and tasers, and the resumption of hangings have all become some of the manifestations of these emotions.
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Backward Ever

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 09, 2021

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI am still trying to understand why Blue Waters needed to import 39 non-nationals to work on its bottling plant when there is such high unemployment among our youths and specialized workers from Petrotrin and other related enterprises.

When Kamla Persad-Bissessar questioned Stuart Young about this matter, the latter mansplained: “This was a request by a manufacturer to bring in specialized workers to upgrade their plant. This is not unusual or unique. The persons entering would have presented their negative PCR test, they will be paying for their quarantine at a State-supervised quarantine facility” (Express, January 30, 2021).
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