By Raffique Shah
September 29, 2020
When I look back at it, my life that is, the many sharp, unpredictable turns I made that often intersected with the history of my country, I cannot help but feel fated to its destiny, inextricably linked to its history.
I ruminated on these occurrences over the past few days as the nation marked Republic Day, the 44th edition of what was a giant constitutional leap back in 1976. Interestingly, then, as this year, it was marked without the pomp and ceremony usually associated with such events. As I recall it, there was the swearing in of newly-elected members of the House of Representatives as well as senators, and maybe an address by Sir Ellis Clarke (I cannot remember), the first President of the Republic.
Continue reading An accidental MP
By Darren Bahaw
July 09, 2020 – newsday.co.tt
A second disturbing video has surfaced on social media of events which took place after police shot and killed three men on June 27, in Second Caledonia, Morvant.
It has sparked new criticism in comments online from people who have watched the 39-second clip.
The video, which appeared to have been recorded by a home security camera, from in front, shows the actions of police from a different angle, seconds after the shooting incident.
Continue reading New video emerges in Morvant police killing
By A. Hotep
July 05, 2020
Some people in this country are intent on shifting the dialogue away from the questionable and seemingly extrajudicial killing of three men by the police in Morvant, which was captured on CCTV footage, to centering discussions on the conduct of black youths in deprived communities. The obfuscation of the issue, evident in the commentaries by leaders, and echoed by radio and online commentators, perpetuates the view that when black people in poor communities are killed and otherwise abused, it is they who are at fault. Another twist to the narrative by the police and by the government is the claim that protests against the killings are part of an organised plot to destabilise the country. This perspective serves the agenda of those who have orchestrated and/or sanctioned the use of strong-arm tactics to stifle the protests. Meanwhile, the real issues of community neglect, crime (including white colour crime) and the heavy-handed approach of the police in these mostly black communities are pushed aside.
Continue reading Brute Force, Blame and Bigotry: Police Killings in Morvant
By Dr Tye Salandy
July 02, 2020
Approximately 50 years ago, mainly young people — disillusioned by the continued colonial nature of the country, the deep racism, classism and limited opportunities — made brave efforts to improve things. Instead of the then government, led by Dr Eric Williams, listening and properly engaging with these persons, the leaders of the movement were arrested and jailed, people were beaten and brutalized, and persons were hunted, shot and even killed. “Law and order” were not about the best interest of the citizens but about preserving the status quo. Fifty years later we are faced with unrests that parallel the Hosay Riots, the Camboulay Riots, the 1919 Labour riots, the 1930s Labour uprisings, and the 1970s Black Power movement. It is this eruption of discontent from those who are experiencing the depths of marginalization and brutality that has historically brought about the greatest improvements in conditions in unjust social structures. All of them were met with brutal violence by authorities, yet when history looks back, all these events were important parts of the evolution of our society. By all indications, the present government has not learned these lessons and may repeat the grave errors of the past.
Continue reading Protests and State Violence: Leaders Must Stop Dodging Responsibility
By Raffique Shah
July 01, 2020
It’s difficult to get a good grasp of what’s happening on the ground regarding the general election, which will be held in the next three months. It seems that Covid-19, the virus that has impacted the world like nothing else in history, and fundamentally changed the way we live to the extent that we have coined virtually a new lexicon to comprehend its effects, said virus has relegated the election to a side-show, almost a non-event.
Continue reading Election an illusion of power
By Dr Selwyn R. Cudjoe
June 29, 2020
About one hundred yards north of Whitehall, there is a short street, Maxwell Philip Street, that is located between Prada and Scott streets, in St. Clair, Port of Spain. It is no more than 500 yards long. Although it is located in an affluent part of the city, it commemorates the life of a very important member of our community.
Philip, one of the most respected and accomplished Afro-Trinbagonians of the nineteenth century, might be little known to our contemporaries. However, given the impact that Black Lives Matter (BLM) is having on the present era and the interest it has generated all over the world, it might be wise to become acquainted with Philip, his importance in our history, and the enduring connection of the BLM to Afro-Trinbagonians.
Continue reading Black American Lives Have Always Mattered…
By Raffique Shah
March 02, 2020
Fifty years after the Black Power Revolution shook Trinidad and Tobago’s foundation, many people, mostly older folks, are trying to quantify what benefits, if any, were derived from those tumultuous events. In contrast, younger people have no idea that anything significant happened in 1970, nor are they interested in our history. Hell, they have little or no interest in history as a subject, far less in local history.
Continue reading An incomplete revolution
By Ryan Hamilton-Davis
February 20, 2018 – newsday.co.tt
“Christmas” is dead, and Port of Spain residents are not happy about it.
Police allegedly shot a man with that alias during the hours of last night, and in response, residents have taken to the streets in fiery protest, burning debris and blocking major roads which lead to the capital.
Continue reading “Christmas” killed, residents protest
By Raffique Shah
June 26, 2016
Within recent years, annual Labour Day celebrations trigger accusations that the trade unions that mark the occasion with marches and speeches at Fyzabad pay homage only to Tubal Uriah Butler, never Adrian Cola Rienzi.
Such sentiments imply that Rienzi, whose original name was Krishna Deonarine, is ignored by labour because of his race. They suggest that his contribution to trade unions in the country through registration and leadership of both the oil workers’ OWTU and the sugar workers’ ATSEFWTU in 1937 was as critical to the recognition and development of labour as Butler’s charismatic appeal to the masses.
Continue reading Butler and Rienzi
By Raffique Shah
June 11, 2016
In death, as in life, he straddled the world like a colossus. All the major international news networks suspended regular programming to pay homage to Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer ever, the supreme sporting figure of the 20th Century, the defiant one who sacrificed a successful career on the altar of principle.
Just four years older than me, Ali symbolised the rebelliousness of so many of my generation, it was almost as if we knew him, grew up with him, that when he spoke out, confronted what we had dubbed “the establishment” in those heady days, his was our voice.
Continue reading Peerless and fearless: simply The Greatest