All posts by News

Criminalizing Civil Infractions

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 27, 2021

“All advanced legal systems condemn as criminal the sorts of conduct described in the Anglo-American law as treason, murder, aggravated assault, thievery, robbery, burglary, and rape.”

Encyclopedia Britannica

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeI always wonder why an inefficient government demands that its citizens be efficient when it represents the epitome of inefficiency. Recently, the government put out its regulations regarding its intention to collect “Property Tax” which requires “that every person in possession of residential land, commercial land, agricultural land or a combination of any of the above (mixed use) in Trinidad and Tobago furnish a return containing the particulars…on or before 30th November 2021.” Failure to comply with the requirement constitutes “a criminal offence which is punishable by a fine of five thousand dollars ($5,000).”
Continue reading Criminalizing Civil Infractions

Giant leap by a Black man

By Raffique Shah
September 27, 2021

Raffique ShahLast Sunday, dealing with the potential I saw in many of the young players who competed in the recently-concluded CPL T-20 cricket tournament, I introduced the issue of race in sports as highlighted by several Black American athletes who used the stage of the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 to confront racism head-on. I cited the iconic photograph of sprinters and 200-metres medallists Tommie Smith, who won the event in a new world record of 19.83 seconds, Australian Peter Norman who was second in 20.00, and John Carlos, who was third, also in 20.00. The fourth finisher was Trinidad & Tobago’s Edwin Roberts, who clocked 20.30.
Continue reading Giant leap by a Black man

Decentering Dr Williams: debasing the PNM

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 20, 2021

PART III

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOn January 29, 2011, I delivered a lecture on the pitfalls of multiculturalism, at a Multiculturalism Conference at Gaston Court, Chaguanas. It was sponsored by GOPIO (T&T), the leading purveyor of Indian culture, when then-PM Kamla Persad-Bissessar introduced her cultural policy to engender greater equity within the society.
Continue reading Decentering Dr Williams: debasing the PNM

Healing through sports

By Raffique Shah
September 20, 2021

Raffique ShahI was hooked to the Caribbean Premier League cricket tournament over the past two weeks, from the opening match between the Trinbago Knight Riders and the Guyana Amazon Warriors to the thriller-of-a-final in Warner Park between the host’s St Kitts-Nevis Patriots and the St Lucia Kings, that went down to a last ball decider. As is normal for me when I feast on sports, I look beyond the participants and their performances. In CPL cricket, I find not just entertainment and scintillating skills, but more importantly, from my perspective, a panorama of Caribbean life that can teach Caribbean societies lessons in race relations and class compression.
Continue reading Healing through sports

Nicki Minaj drops the ball on Covid-19

By Birdie McClean
September 17, 2021

lettersNicki Minaj put out a tweet on Tuesday that caused a firestorm of reaction and put Trinidad smack down center of the global news. This is what she tweeted. “My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied” 5:44 PM. Sep 13, 2021.
Continue reading Nicki Minaj drops the ball on Covid-19

Decentering Dr. Williams— Denigrating the PNM

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 14, 2021

PART II

The UNC represents the true spirit of Trinidad and Tobago,… all the poor, humble working people, farmers, small business owners, ordinary men and women, from north to south, east, west, central, the urban, the suburban, the rural, the swampland, the coastal, and floodplains, the hills and the lagoons.

—Kirk Meighoo, The Checklist (2021)

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeIf V. S. Naipaul was Kirk Meighoo’s intellectual guru initially, he later turned to Lloyd Best for intellectual guidance and direction. Since a “half-made society” (a term that Naipaul used disparagingly) is a literary conceit it could not bear the sociological weight that Meighoo thrust upon it. Meighoo argued that Politics in a Half-Made Society (hereafter Politics) was “a slight reworking” of his doctoral dissertation. This led Anton L. Allahar, professor emeritus at the University of Western Ontario, to write: “I have never seen a doctoral dissertation in the social sciences that was devoid of a theoretical perspective and a clear statement of methodology.” (Caribbean Studies, 2005).
Continue reading Decentering Dr. Williams— Denigrating the PNM

Education for those who want it

By Raffique Shah
September 13, 2021

Raffique ShahFor the second time in as many months I ask a question that is pertinent to this country’s future path, one that we need to answer because it is critical to everything else we do as we forge a road to recovery in the aftermath of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and the near-collapse of the national economy. It is this: are we satisfied with our education system which, give or take a tweak here, a turn there, has remained a hugely expensive relic of colonialism that refuses to die 60 years after independence.
Continue reading Education for those who want it

T&T’s Political Culture Affects COVID-19 Response

By Dr Tye Salandy
September 08, 2021

Dr Tye SalandyI certainly empathize with the government as it is navigating difficult decisions in the management of the economy and society during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, the issues facing the society are mostly not due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but deeper social issues that have never been properly addressed by any of the governments in power. These unaddressed issues of inequalities, flawed models of development and governance have undermined our ability to be resilient, to cooperate in nationally beneficial ways, and to contribute to the decisions that are taken at a national level.
Continue reading T&T’s Political Culture Affects COVID-19 Response

Decentering Dr. Williams; Denigrating the PNM

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
September 05, 2021

PART I

“Ethnic mobilization [in Trinidad and Tobago] is the result of national political impotence, not its cause. Such parties, without any firm, rooted principles, provide no basis for political solidarity….These loose ethnic solidarities arise from the safe cliques by which citizens organize themselves in this half-made society.”

—Kirk Meighoo, “Ethnic Mobilisation vs. Ethnic Politics,”

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeDr. Kirk Meighoo is one of our better scholars. I have followed his academic progress since he was a student at the University of the West Indies. In his well-researched book Politics in a Half-Made Society (2003), he argued that societies such as T&T “have not yet established enduring, meaningful standards of their own. They are societies still in formation and unmade, without a firm foundation (intellectual, cultural, political, military, and/or economic), and in which solidity is elusive.” Although I disagree with his central thesis (taken from the work of Vidia Naipaul whom he calls one of T&T’s “great philosophers”) I still think his book is a worthwhile read.
Continue reading Decentering Dr. Williams; Denigrating the PNM

Catapult, club and a bullpistle

By Raffique Shah
September o4, 2021

Raffique ShahNo state of emergency, lift the curfew and let’s get back to normal. We are fed up with Covid-19, 20 or whatever edition or variant is stalking us. No more. Time to show this beast just what Trinis are capable of. We will beat him to death with ‘wining’ and ‘jamming’, drinking puncheon rum. Release the Trini beast, Mr Prime Minister, and we shall show the world how to fight Covid, David, any id.
Continue reading Catapult, club and a bullpistle