All posts by News

As the world turns

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 10, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn June 25, 2016, I wrote in this space: “Nine days ago when I arrived in London I had hoped the UK (United Kingdom) would remain within the European Union… There was some nostalgia there but my wish wasn’t to be…

“Xenophobia won out in the end although there were other concerns. There was the split between the metropolitan heartland and country; the disconnect between the elites and the masses; those who saw themselves as global citizens and those who prized the bulldog, isolationist identity and more conservative England.”
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I feel defeated

By Raffique Shah
July 10, 2024

Raffique ShahIt bothers me that I woke up from a sleep that was not exactly restful, scanned the early-morning television programmes, switched to international news, saw Britain’s new Prime Minister make his way into 10 Downing Street and I didn’t even know his name. I didn’t know how his Labour Party came to win the election, and what worries me most is that I don’t care. In fact, for much of this year, governments have changed in a manner that should have meant something to the people, if not directly to us in little Trinidad and Tobago, but that too didn’t mean a thing to me.
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Snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
July 02, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeMonths ago I wrote of the United National Congress’ ability to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. I saw this tendency played out in 1976 when the United Labour Front (ULF) was projected to win the election until its inglorious march from Arima to Port of Spain on the Saturday prior to the poll. I stood at the corner of Caura Royal Road and the Eastern Main Road in El Dorado when the march passed through on its way to Port of Spain. “What they didn’t say about Black People is what they didn’t know.” Such a misstep led to its defeat.
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Ivan, not so terrible

By Raffique Shah
July 02, 2024

Raffique ShahEarlier this month, I became nostalgic over Labour Day celebrations in Fyzabad. The date and venue are etched together in spirit and in history; hence the reason why the 30-or-so times I attended, marched and even spoke on the platform, it was only at Fyzabad. That position was held by the radical unions.

Many of the North-based unions that openly supported the parties in power avoided Fyzabad for several years after the town had stamped its name with authority as the only venue that made sense. They would conveniently return to their headquarters when its significance was acknowledged by all, especially schoolchildren who were now learning that aspect of the country’s history.
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Rescuing a hero from oblivion

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 26, 2024

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI first encountered Philip Henry Douglin when I wrote Beyond Boundaries: The Intellectual Tradition of Trinidad and Tobago in the Nineteenth Century (2003). Since then I have been gathering information on Douglin at research centres such as the Watson Collection at Oxford University, the British Archives at Kew in London, and the T&T Archives in Port of Spain. Yet I knew I had to go to Barbados before I completed my biography on him.
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Labour Day nostalgia

By Raffique Shah
June 26, 2024

Raffique ShahI must confess that I feel nostalgic every year when Labour Day comes around. I wasn’t there in 1972 when June 19 was first declared a national holiday. The government of Dr Eric Williams had conveniently avoided recognition of the significance of June 19 to the history of labour and the country as a whole.

Most people who know anything about the significance of that date will know it was when Tubal Uriah Butler, who is seen as the father of radical labour, triggered a national strike by asking a large crowd of workers assembled in Fyzabad for a meeting if he should subject himself to being arrested by Police Corporal Charlie King, a powerfully stupid man who brandished a pair of handcuffs and the arrest warrant.
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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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