Archive for the 'Recession' Category

Mobilizing Our Social & Cultural Capital

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
October 22, 2019

All you guys have done is reference to us getting jobs. I do not want a job. I want change, I want a future….You are ignoring our future….What are you doing to give us a voice?

—Stefan Lander, student, St. Mary’s College

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeTo hear Colm Imbert, Minister of Finance, tell it, the 2020 budget has nothing to do with the upcoming local elections or the 2020 general elections. It emanated from the government’s genuine interest in the welfare of our people.

The words had barely come out of Imbert’s mouth when Rohan Sinanan, PNM’s campaign manager, declared: “I am very pleased; I think my job as campaign manager was made significantly easier with a wonderful budget” (Express, October 10).
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Greed is killing us not so softly

By Raffique Shah
October 16, 2019

Raffique ShahSome day last week, after I had eaten a very modest lunch, I was snacking on a few locally-manufactured crackers when my wife asked, “You still hungry, nah?” She has noted with unnecessary concern that I eat smaller portions, which I attribute to ageing and my now mostly sedentary lifestyle, the latter imposed on me by my infirmity. I don’t need calories that I won’t burn as I did during my very active pre-Parkinson’s life. That reality notwithstanding, the urge to snack on junk remains undiminished, much to my dismay.
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Budget biggest ‘bag’ thieves lay their hands on

By Raffique Shah
October 07, 2019

Raffique ShahIt is a newspaper commentator’s dilemma—having to write on the Finance Minister’s annual budget presentation, as readers expect him to, both before and after the Appropriation Bill is laid in Parliament. This becomes even more challenging when the package covers the year leading to a general election when the Government, and here I mean any government, engages in distributing largesse like the proverbial “parsad” at “pujas”, throwing goodies at the electorate with the expectation that they will yield votes.
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Oil in turmoil

By Raffique Shah
August 29, 2019

Raffique ShahI had planned to write a column sometime before the 2019-2020 Budget presentation on the successor-companies to State-owned oil giant Petrotrin, seeking to have the Minister of Energy and/or Corporation Sole (the Minister of Finance) inform the public of their progress or regress or stagnation. I thought that in the spirit of transparency, especially after citizens were stunned when we were told in 2017 or thereabout that the one-time pillar of the national economy was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and mired in multi-billion-dollar debts, we the public should know early o’clock if the new enterprises were faring any better.
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Turmoil in the global village

By Raffique Shah
August 14, 2019

Raffique ShahIt’s so easy for us to be so overwhelmed by our own mess—and there’s more than enough sewage there to drown us all—that we are unmindful of what’s happening in the wider world, developments that could impact our small island state negatively.

When the fallout from certain actions by powerful leaders hit us in the face with a bang, we will come awake startled, crying out: Oh Jeezanages! I was watching Marlene McDonald and her gang…ah didn’t see that bolt from Donald Trump (or Xi Jinping or Boris Johnson or Vladimir Putin) coming this way!
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Staying Woke!

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
August 14, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeLast week I urged the government to suspend or postpone the construction of the Toco-Manzanilla Highway. I drew on Lord Maynard Keynes to emphasize that an economist must possess several gifts (mathematics, history, philosophy) and “must study the present in light of the past for the purposes of the future.” This implies that development consists of more than building roads, particularly if citizens are unable to walk or ride on them in relative safety.
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Identifying and fighting economic apartheid

By Raffique Shah
June 14, 2019

Raffique ShahTrinidad and Tobago should be grateful for having among its citizens patriots who are unafraid to speak out on issues that affect us all, and more importantly, who bear allegiance to the country, not to any political party. Of course, such persons have the right to support a party of their choice at any point in time. But they also jealously maintain their independence by criticising the policies and actions of the party they voted for when they are convinced it has made decisions that are inimical to the best interests of the nation.
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No to devaluation

By Raffique Shah
April 15, 2019

Raffique ShahThe continuous cacophony over the state of the national economy is confusing me, as I imagine it confounding the vast majority of the population, including many of those who promote themselves, or who are presented by the media as experts to pontificate on the topic.

If I confused readers with my opening paragraph, rest assured that was not deliberate. It’s just that every Monday morning some Government minister announces that the ailing economy, having been rescued from the intensive care unit from near-death inflicted by his predecessors, suffering foreign-currency-asphyxia, is now stable-to-robust enough to have gone on a training run in preparation for the Miracle Economies Olympiad.
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The Dog and the Bone

By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
April 22, 2019

Dr. Selwyn R. CudjoeOver the past year, Ralph Maraj, a fellow columnist, has been a tick in PNM’s behind. He isn’t always wrong in his commentaries—even a broken clock is correct at least twice a day—but his obsessive fascination with PNM’s failures leads one to question his objectivity and the distorting lens of his overwrought rhetoric.

Last Sunday he listed everything PNM has done wrong during its tenure and why he is heartened by UNC’s plans as it prepares to govern from 2020.
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Think small, earn big

By Raffique Shah
January 03, 2019

Raffique ShahI could have begun the New Year by griping about all the negatives of the old, cussing from politicians to crooks for the many woes we citizens face daily, ranging from a record high number of homicides to a seemingly stagnated economy, arguing that the current government is the worst we have had since the indigenous peoples ran things however many centuries ago, blah, blah, blah.
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